Why the Columbine and Las Vegas Massacres?

After the 1999 school massacre in Columbine, Colorado – an exurbia community – by two disaffected teenage boys (who also killed themselves), I came to the conclusion that the killers’ “motive” was not at all a purposeful urge, goal, revenge or obsession, but instead a complete self-abandonment into nihilism – a giving up – and the horrible eruption of that destructive nihilism was a symptom of those boys’ lack of culture – an abysmal lack of culture. I see the same about Stephen Paddock, the shooter in Las Vegas; his fury to kill emerged out of a profound lack of culture.

It seems to me that these rapid-fire suicide-killers had been born into and raised (probably somewhat thoughtlessly) in a cultural void. Their world was a generic beyond-suburbia commuter outpost of sprawl, malls, video games and Internet pablum and porn, instead of real books of literature, real art instead of plastic flamingo-level decorations, and real music instead of throwaway canned between-commercials pop. They had never absorbed real culture, which is the emotional and intellectual glue that binds an individual to the wider human communities both in the present and through the long arc of time.

Those boys (young and old) had lives of material ease, but they had absolutely no spirit because the nurturing and feeding of the spirit – the essential purpose of culture – was absent from their lives. I believe the spiritual-cultural hollowness of their cores was a reflection of the spiritual-cultural desert that was their environment.

By their late teens the two Columbine killers had had enough of it, and could see nothing in their possible 60 to 70 years of future living except more of the same. That “more of the same” is the listless life Stephen Paddock lived until he too had had enough, at age 64. As they looked into their futures the Columbine teens could have thought that maybe they could become insurance agents or realtors, or some other “normal” occupation that would see them harnessed to the spinning wheels of pointless money-making. And they would have their free time to be just as hollow as their comfort-providing work would be: more video games or video poker?, hanging out at the same beer joints with the same kind of empty-headed crowd?, watching another game on TV?, getting married and keeping up the same kind of families they had grown up in?

What would be the point? It was like looking down an arrow-straight empty four-lane freeway across a dry-lake salt-flat that stretched out to their 80th year and led to nothing but a dead end. Why spend the better part of a century bored, waiting to get to nowhere after having spent the whole trip doing nothing because nobody cared anyway, and end up just as useless as they were now, then die unnoticed and thereafter remain forgotten? Why not cut out all the slow stuff, the boring, tiresome waiting and pointless work, and just get one incredible orgasmically exciting machine-gun humping high, and then check out in a blink before the let-down set in?

I think it is the deep, personal absorption of and sensitivity to culture, and even tradition, that fills a psyche with the substance needed for living life joyfully; and the substance which occupies what would otherwise be a spiritual-cultural void that can only produce interminable lassitude or explosions of destructive nihilism erupting out of deeply submerged despair.

I think the appreciative absorption of culture, along with the received gifts of affectionate nurturing, kind friendship and confident love, are the necessary courses in a complete education of the human heart. I see major tragedies like the Columbine and Las Vegas massacres, as well as so many little-noticed murders of the same sort, to be the result of our society’s many failures at providing all our people with that necessary education of the heart.

I was prompted to write these comments after reading the following article, pointed out to me by Anthony Tarrant.

I went to School with the Vegas Shooter
Greg Palast
13 October 2017

See Anthony’s comments at his blog page:

Why Stephen Paddock Snapped In Vegas
15 October 2017


The photo above is of John F. Kennedy’s grave as it appeared in April 1964. My photos of this grave are the only ones I have with any relation to guns and gun violence.


Now published at Dissident Voice:

Why the Columbine and Las Vegas Massacres?
18 October 2017


Personality Types Chart

Carl Gustave Jung worked out a theory of personality types (in the 1920s), where he identified four psychological functions, each with two possible forms. The functions are:

#1, inward or outward personal focus,
#2, how the self evaluates the outer world,
#3, what basis the self uses to make decisions,
#4, how the self deals with multiple possibilities.

The paired forms of each function are:

#1, introvert/extrovert,
#2, intuitive/sensorial,
#3, thinking/feeling,
#4, judging/perceptive (open-to-possibilities).

The eight elements from which sixteen personality types can be defined are:

Introvert (I):
An inward personal focus.

Extrovert (E):
An outward personal focus.

Intuitive (N):
Evaluate the external world by focusing on ideas.

Sensorial (S):
Evaluate the external world by focusing on things.

Thinking (T):
Basing decisions on thought (analysis).

Feeling (F):
Basing decisions on feeling (emotion).

Judging (J):
Seeking to close possibilities and capture the moment.

Perceptive (P):
Seeking to open the possibilities of the moment.

Using the letter symbols for each of the eight elements, one can list the sixteen types, (grouped by temperament) as follows:

(NF temperament): ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP, INFP.

(NT temperament): ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP, INTP.

(SJ temperament): ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ, ISFJ.

(SP temperament): ESTP, ESFP, ISTP, ISFP.

The sixteen types were used (in the 1950s) by Isabel Myers and Katheryn Briggs, who formulated the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a test for identifying an individual’s default pattern of action. By the 1980s, David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates had grouped the sixteen types into four temperaments (as above), and expounded on this in their book: Please Understand Me, Character & Temperament Types. Keirsey and Bates used the following temperament labels:

NF temperament: Apollonian
(seekers of fulfillment through metaphysical insights),

NT temperament: Promethean
(fulfilled by seeking power over nature through knowledge),

SJ temperament: Epimethean
(seeking fulfillment through duty, service and social structure),

SP temperament: Dionysian
(seeking fulfillment by the direct sensation of life through action).

My parenthetical characterizations (above) of K&B’s four temperaments are necessarily incomplete; read their book for their detailed intentions.

My chart shows that:

People have either a sensorial (S; hands-on) or intuitive (N; mind-based) manner of interacting with the world external to the self.

SPs and SJs have a sensorial (S) self-world interaction.

NTs and NFs have an intuitive (N) self-world interaction.

SPs aim to open the possibilities of the moment by focusing on things (sensation of the world); where the T-type variety use thought to decide how to act, and the F-type variety use emotion to decide how to act.

SJs aim to close possibilities and capture the moment by focusing on things (the nuts-and-bolts of “reality”); where the T-type variety use thought to decide how to act, and the F-type variety use emotion to decide how to act.

NTs are naturally instinctive analysts; the P-type variety use thoughtful analysis to expand the possibilities of the moment (options), while the J-type variety use thoughtful analysis to close off possibilities and capture the moment (finality).

NFs are naturally instinctive empaths; the P-type variety use intuitive emotion to expand the possibilities of the moment (options), while the J-type variety use intuitive emotion to close off possibilities and capture the moment (finality).

A set of secondary features, shown in the chart, are these:

SPs will extrovert (interact with others by talking about and showing) things and concrete details.

SJs will introvert (base their behavior on a hidden internalized mulling over of) things and concrete details.

P-type NTs will extrovert (interact with others by talking about and showing) their ideas.

J-type NTs will introvert (base their behavior on a hidden internalized mulling over of) their ideas.

P-type NFs will extrovert (interact with others by talking about and showing) their feelings.

J-type NFs will introvert (base their behavior on a hidden internalized mulling over of) their feelings.

The chart is my attempt to abstract all the above into one graphical image.

C. G. Jung did not linger too long with his personality type theory (the basis of all subsequent formalizations) because he knew that real people can mature with experience, and round out their personalities beyond the default patterns they were born with. Introverts (I) can learn how to make public addresses, Extroverts (E) can learn how to keep silent and listen to others, Sensorials (S) can learn how to be patient and listen to the elaboration of ideas and theories, Intuitives (N) can learn how to evaluate data and calculate specifics, Thinkers (T) can learn how to accept emotions, Emoters (F) can learn how to be logical, Judgmentals (J) can learn to be flexible, and Perceptives (P) can learn to arrive at useful conclusions. Jung believed that most people should be able to round out their psychological functioning by the age of 37.

So, the personality type model above is best taken as a rough guide of the general patterns of habitual individual behavior, rather than some robotic psychological horoscope.


The Ignorance-Prejudice Cycle

Ignorance is the source of fear,
which leads to prejudice, greed and superstition.

Many people are emotionally attached to
their prejudices, grasping and superstitions,
considering them the essence of
their personalities, identities, cultures and traditions.
So, they defend them against all attacks by
contradicting facts and evident moral responsibilities,
often even preferring death to enlightenment.

This is the vicious ignorance-prejudice cycle:

-> Ignorance defensively resorting to prejudice for protection,
instead of bravely exposing itself to change by seeking knowledge;

and in turn

-> Prejudice maintaining stupidity by defending ignorance
in order to preserve the self-image of fearful people
of weak mind and character,
who wish to appear powerful, moral and successful.