Regarding the April 3 AP article “Death penalty sought in Colorado shooting case“: In the wake of each mass shooting, the question on everyone’s mind is always “why?”
I do not presume to answer the question fully, but the comments by the best friend of one of the victims in the July 20 Colorado theater shooting (after prosecutors decided last week to seek the death penalty if James Holmes is convicted) is insightful: “I had a huge adrenaline rush. I love the choice. I love it, I love it. … I hope I’m in the room when he dies.”
One could argue that Holmes also had a “huge adrenaline rush” as he gunned down his alleged victims. Perhaps he also wanted to be “in the room” when a lot of people die.
Many Americans expressed similar joy when Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
This suggests that the root of American gun violence is not found in statistics about gun ownership rates or illusionary “lax” gun laws, but something in the psyche of the majority of Americans. From mass murder, to wars of conquest in the Middle East, to the war on drugs at home — Americans see violence as a legitimate (and effective) problem-solving tool.
This conclusion, in turn, opens up questions: Why is this so? Can it be changed? What can be done to change it?
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.