G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Just want to make a quick point on this shooting that occurred in Manhattan. Two are reportedly dead, including the gunman. Initial reports suggest that the man was recently fired from his job at a firm inside the Empire State Building. Further details are of course sketchy so my argument is speculative.
I’ve previously responded to articles written after James Holmes shot up the Colorado movie theater. A few commentators suggested that Holmes had some sort of white male entitlement complex. As a white male he felt he had a right to certain resources. He deserved certain life outcomes and any setback was met with outrage. Mixed with his psychological issues, a mass murderer was born.
But job related shootings seem more common over the past several decades than the random psychopathic rampage. Instead of “white male entitlement” being the cause of such shootings, there seems to be an “Occupy Wall Street” type mentality. People who get fired from their jobs must believe that they were wrongly fired. They believe that the job they were let go from was their property. As if you can own a position with a firm. We could even make the case that Holmes had an entitlement mentality not based on his race but based on the vaunted position held by students in our society. Massive pushes for “student rights” have drastically altered campuses across the nation.
There are a lot of moving parts here because I feel bad for anyone who gets fired (unless it’s an incident like Omar Thornton’s who got fired for stealing but then made up other excuses to justify his outrage). The Manhattan shooter likely had other outside pressures that he felt justified his going on a rampage. But the question will be, what ungirds a person’s belief that they have had something taken from them that was previously theirs? From whence that privilege comes? I’d argue that Marxian arguments that teach workers that they are locked in battle against their bosses creates a conflict which helps push marginally mentally healthy individuals to lash out in dramatic fashion.