People are asking why the shooter in Virginia Beach used a gun to settle his workplace score. The answer is probably pretty simple.
When a man has a gun, he literally holds the power of life and death in his hand. That kind of power is extraordinarily seductive.
With a gun in his hand, a man can look around a room, a building, or a public area and specifically identify who will instantaneously die and whom he will allow to live. It's a power that traditionally has only been held by doctors, priests, police and soldiers.
This is largely a male problem because men commit 85.3 percent of all homicides and 97 percent of all homicides where the shooter and victim don't know each other. In the case of school and workplace shootings, the shooters are also more than 97 percent male.
This goes way beyond the joke of the Small Penis Gun Club or its Facebook site. Men, it turns out, are actually hardwired by evolution and biology to react to having power over others with a boost in testosterone and an increase in aggression.
A 2006 study published in Psychological Science by Klinesmith, Kasser and McAndrew found that men who simply handled a gun were significantly more likely to give other men a higher dose of hot sauce (a commonly used research measure of aggression) right after handling the gun than were men who handled a child's toy.
For men who feel that they've lost control of their lives, or who feel dismissed or disrespected by others, this is pure catnip.
Firing a gun, in addition to raising testosterone levels like simply handling one does, actually produces a feeling similar to intoxication. As UCLA Law professor Adam Winkler points out, shooting guns triggers higher levels of adrenaline and endorphins, producing a high like riding a roller coaster.
In this regard, guns can be thought of as a drug — an intoxicating, mind-altering, power-conferring drug that leads to aggression and, in the United States, to around 40,000 deaths a year.
If a driver must carry liability insurance because his car could kill somebody, why not a gun owner? Why is it that if the Newtown or Parkland kids had been killed by a drunk or even malicious driver, their survivors would have gotten a million bucks each from Geico, but the families of kids killed with guns don't?
Required liability insurance, by the way, is the most Republican/conservative of all gun control measures; it's a "free market solution."
Just as no insurance company will cheaply write insurance for a driver with a few DWIs, so, too, would they restrict people with domestic violence charges, etc. No government involvement necessary for this one, other than the simple requirement to have the policy so long as one owns a gun.
I'm sure the insurance industry would LOVE to write mandatory policies on every gun in America. We're talking about a market of roughly 9 million new guns a year. Roughly half the households in the USA will admit to owning a gun, a wild guess tells me another 25% won't admit it. There are more guns in the USA than there are people, by a healthy margin. And the other thing we know is that none of those guns will ever kill people. How do we know? Because all the murders are concentrated in 25 large cities, leaving the entire rest of the country essentially murder-free.