What Causes Mass Shootings? | The Daily Show

Mass shootings. Over the past few years, they have become
as regular in America as Star Wars movies, and just like Star Wars movies, people have starting paying
less and less attention. But this weekend,
something happened. NEWSMAN:
The nation mourns the victims of two shooting massacres
just 13 hours apart. The massacres in El Paso,
Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, happened in startling proximity for a country already
too familiar with gun violence. 29 people were killed
in the two shooting rampages just 13 hours apart. Yes. In the span of two days–
13 hours, in fact– 84 people were shot, and currently,
31 people have been killed in two deadly mass shootings. And, like,
even though most of America has gotten used to dealing
with mass shootings, having them happen back-to-back has forced people
to take notice. In fact,
this weekend’s tragedies garnered so much attention that
President Trump couldn’t respond with his usual “sad” tweet. Instead, he had to come out
and give a formal address to the nation this morning where
he condemned white supremacy and domestic terrorism. Unfortunately,
he also offered condolences to the people of Toledo,
which is not one of the cities that had a mass shooting. So that was basically
the mass shooting equivalent of saying
the wrong person’s name in bad. But these two tragedies
didn’t happen in a vacuum. They’re part of a rise in
mass shootings in recent years. And now news anchors,
pundits, politicians alike, they’re all trying to figure out
the root cause of what has become
a national epidemic. And they’ve been pinning
the blame on a lot of different things, starting with the Internet. TV REPORTER: And on the
controversial website 8chan, extremists seem
to have found a home. At least three mass shootings
this year alone have been announced
on the site. The dark corners
of the Internet where these people breed hate
and-and division… The perils of the Internet
and social media cannot be ignored
and they will not be ignored. We must recognize that
the Internet has provided a dangerous avenue
to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts. Yes, many people,
including the president, are saying that
the Internet is to blame for radicalizing
these domestic terrorists, because giving them a community
and a platform is helping them
share their ideas. It’s the same way the Internet
has given a platform to people who eat
laundry detergent, right. Yeah, back in the day, you could
only share your feelings with the people
at poison control. Now you have a community. So now some people are saying we need to tighten regulation
of the Internet. And I’ll be honest with you,
I’m all for it, yeah, especially after I got
catfished last week. I thought I was talking
to a lonely middle-aged man who needed
my social security number, turns out it was some beautiful
woman who wanted to date me. What the hell? (laughter) I get what these people
are saying, though, the Internet is a powerful tool
that can be used to radicalize wannabe
mass shooters, you know. Maybe that’s why we don’t have a mass shooting epidemic
in Africa. Our Internet is shit
and the power keeps cutting. Yeah. Right now, there’s some
guy in Nigeria who’s like, (with Nigerian accent):
“I want to be radicalized “but this Wi-Fi is so slow. “You are so lucky
this video is buffering, eh? “You are so lucky. “I’ll just have to stick
to sending e-mails. Dear sir,
I have lots of money…” (laughter) (normal voice:
Now, while some people argue that this epidemic is being
caused by the Internet, another argument is that
it’s something more precise. Because everyone uses
the Internet in America, but most of these shooters
are young white men. And what do young white men
all have in common? Video games. The idea these video games
dehumanize individuals to, uh, have a game of shooting
individuals and others, I’ve always felt
that is a problem for, uh, future generations
and others. TV REPORTER: First shooter games
would desensitize folks -to the violence.
-TV REPORTER 2: When you see it through a screen and you don’t
relate to it in person, uh, it-it makes it seem
like it’s more accessible. What’s changed in this country? We’ve always had guns,
we’ve always had evil, but what’s changed where we see
this rash of shooting? And I, I see a,
a video game industry that teaches young people
to kill. Okay.
On the surface, that sounds like
a pretty good argument. America has always had guns, America has always had evil, but mass shootings
have only taken off over the past, what, 20 years? And what has been new
in the past 20 years? Violent video games. Although, by that logic, anything that’s been invented
in the last 20 years could have contributed
to mass shootings, like Crocs were invented
over the last 20 years. (laughter) And I know
they inspire anger in me. Here’s another thing,
here’s another thing, though, if video games are responsible
for shootings, how do you explain countries
like South Korea or Japan? They play the same games at
a higher rate than the U.S. but neither of these countries
have a mass shooting epidemic. The worst thing Japan
is dealing with right now is a karaoke epidemic. The only thing getting murdered
there is Mariah Carey songs. So some people blame
the Internet, and others say it’s video games. But for many,
if the president wants to find the real cause
of what’s happening, he should go and look
in the bathroom mirror. TV REPORTER: The 21-year-old
white male said the attack was in response to the Hispanic
invasion of Texas, adding that his ideology
pre-dates President Trump, and that blaming the president would be the equivalency
of fake news. This is language
the president has used since his campaign began. A lot of people are taking issue with the explosive rhetoric
he has used, rhetoric that mirrors the screed written
by the El Paso murderer. TV REPORTER: Just three months
ago, this scene at a rally in Panama City Beach, Florida. President Trump
at first laughing when a supporter in the crowd
suggested shooting immigrants. But how do you stop
these people? You can’t.
There’s… (laughs) That’s only in the Panhandle
you can get away with that statement. Yeah, it might have been a joke
at that rally, but clearly
there are people out there who could take the president’s
words seriously. Now, I know it’s crazy to take
Trump’s words seriously but some people do. In fact, as we’ve learned, the mass shooter in El Paso
left behind a manifesto that included the same phrases
Trump uses every day: fake news,
immigrant invasions. Like, the only reason you know
that it wasn’t written by Trump is because
the grammar was correct. And here’s the thing,
here’s the thing, although there is a chance Donald Trump has emboldened
racist mass shooters, we also cannot say
that he’s the overall cause, because there were
racist mass shooters before Donald Trump. It’s the same way you can’t
blame stuffed-crust pizzas for the obesity epidemic
in America. You can admit that adding
a pizza to the edge of a pizza is not gonna help people
lose weight, but it’s not the cause. So some people blame
the Internet, some say it’s video games, others blame President Trump. But the thing
we’re hearing the most after these mass shootings, is that the real cause
is all in the head. Mental health
is a large contributor to any type of violence
or shooting violence. -There are so many different
factors, you don’t know. -Yeah. I mean, maybe a child’s
born with, you know, some mental illness. This was a sick person. The person in Dayton
was a sick person. No politician
is to blame for that. You cannot be
a white supremacist and be normal in the head. These are sick people. Now, again, this argument
sounds completely logical. If someone kills a group
of random strangers, they must be mentally ill, but that’s not necessarily true. In fact,
a majority of mass shooters have no history
of mental illness, which is a scary thought,
because it means most mass shooters are killing
because they want to, not because something
“went wrong” in their brain. So… what causes
mass shootings? Is it the Internet?
Is it video games? Is it Trump?
Is it mental illness? You know, what’s sad
and frustrating about America is that after
every mass shooting, lawmakers want to identify
the one thing that causes all mass shootings, and if they can’t agree
on what that thing is, nothing gets done. But the truth is, when it comes
to any individual shooting, the cause could be any one
of those factors, if not more. But there’s one thing that every
mass shooting has in common: whatever motivated it has to be combined with a gun.

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