You knew they would be white, of course, and young. They would probably be unmarried or estranged from their wives or girlfriends. They would have no children, perhaps have vexed relationships with their own fathers, and, indeed, few if any male close male friends. They would likely be gamers and participants in bizarre online alternative communities to which they turn in the hope of finding the acceptance unavailable to them in the real world and shared norms — of opinion, of language, of tastes and interests and humor. There’s a decent chance they would be users of cannabis, the psychosis-inducing properties of which our elites (with a handful of honorable exceptions) will be too blinkered to discuss until we are unable to do anything about it. This is because many or all of these things are true of virtually every other person who has shot four or more people in the spontaneous eruptions of spontaneous violence that have been occurring in this country in the last two decades…

The single most horrifying thread that runs through all of these stories for me is just how disconnected from reality the murderers are, even, indeed perhaps especially, while they are engaged in their crimes. The Columbine shooters modified levels of Doom to mimic the hallways of their high school; young men still play so-called “Columbine” mods and share videos of their First Amendment-protected faux-massacres on YouTube. Technology has evolved. Today shooters live-stream their killing sprees while they are cheered on by “fans” who beg them to beat the previous “high score.” The desired escape from the emptiness and banality of their existence is never actually achieved. Reality for them remains augmented.