A common thread for mass public attackers is not religion, or the type of gun used, but anti-social behavior.
That’s the observation made by the Washington Post’s Alex Yablon:
I’ve become accustomed to the standard public discussion that follows mass shootings: What could have possibly motivated such senseless acts of violence? School shootings in particular tend to generate plenty of political debate, either about the shooters’ beliefs (occult activity, in Christopher Harper Mercer’s case; violent video games and music, in Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s; misogyny, masculinity and entitlement in a host of others) or the role of firearms in their lives.
My experience suggests that the outsize attention paid to the shooter’s particular beliefs obscures the real connections between mass shooters. What binds them together and elevates their likelihood of killing in this particular fashion is not any particular belief set but a history of antisocial, sometimes violent conduct.
This is an important point at a time when Democrats and the establishment media inaccurately describe AR-15s as the weapon of choice for mass public attackers, or highlight the religion of the attacker (at least, when doing so allows them to denigrate Judeo-Christian traditions).
His observation about the past antisocial behavior of mass killers matches that of Duke University psychiatrist Jeffrey Swanson, who said, following the June 12, 2016, attack on the Orlando Pulse nightclub, “Most people who commit serious crimes, that’s not where they began. They didn’t just start committing gun homicides.”