In 2018, there were 307 mass shootings in the United States, so many that most people cannot remember them. Twelve of those mass shootings occurred after one in a Pittsburgh synagogue on October 27, 2018. In less than 3 weeks thereafter, 12 mass shootings left 79 shot of whom 23 were killed. On November 7 at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, 13 were killed.
Most recently, between July 28 and August 4, three mass shootings in the United States left 34 people dead and dozens more wounded in Dayton, Ohio, El Paso, Texas and in Gilroy, California.
For the past two years, two professors of criminal justice have been studying the life histories of mass shooters in the United States for a project funded by the National Institute of Justice. Jillian Peterson is a psychologist and professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University. James Densley is a sociologist and professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University.
They built a database dating back to 1966 of every mass shooter who shot and killed four or more people in a public place, and every shooting incident at schools, workplaces, and places of worship since 1999. They interviewed incarcerated perpetrators and their families, shooting survivors and first responders.
They have read media and social media, manifestos, suicide notes, trial transcripts and medical records. Their data revealed four commonalities among the perpetrators of nearly all of the mass shootings that they studied.
First, the vast majority of mass shooters in their study experienced early childhood trauma and exposure to violence at a young age.
Second, practically every mass shooter that they studied had reached an identifiable crisis point in the weeks or months leading up to the shooting. They often had become angry and despondent because of a specific grievance.
Third, most of the shooters had studied the actions of other shooters and sought validation for their motives.
Fourth, the shooters all had the means to carry out their plans. Once someone decides life is no longer worth living and that murdering others would be a proper revenge, only means and opportunity stand in the way of another mass shooting.
To prevent future shootings they recommend that potential shooting sites be made less accessible with visible security measures; that we change how we consume, produce, and distribute violent content on media and social media; and that proactive violence prevention begin with schools, colleges, churches and employers initiating conversations about mental health and establishing systems for identifying individuals in crisis, reporting concerns and intervention.
However, these mass shootings were not merely human criminal events. Many people ask, “Why did these mass killings happen?” They were sins, inspired and directed by Satan, evil personified. Law enforcement authorities revealed that the Parkland, Florida, killer confessed that “demon voices” told him “what he needed to do to launch the deadly assault.”
Evil is not created by God, it is the absence of the good that he has created, inspired by a real evil personality, Satan, with whom the human race has been in conflict since the Garden of Eden when he tempted Adam and Eve into the Original Sin.
Jesus came to destroy the works of Satan (see 1 John 3:8), so we should not be fixated on the media reports of evils. They should inspire our hearts to open in prayer and fasting for the victims and their families and for the end of all killings of the innocents.
“Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God’s plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another.” (CCC 387).
On July 7, 2016, in Dallas, Texas, Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed and fired upon a group of police officers. He killed five officers and injured nine others. Ten days later, Jesus said,
When will you accept My devotion of Jesus, King of All Nations? Are not these atrocities enough to move you to faith and action?
Once more I offer to you this precious gift and remedy from Heaven. Will you at last accept it and practice it? Will you at last enthrone My image and proclaim anew My Sovereign Rights and Supreme, Inviolate Authority over mankind?
Hear Me at last or the state of the world will continue to decline yet further until one day the Great Chastisement will fall upon you and you shall cry, “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Journal 734).
We are called to have hope in the promise of Jesus King of All Nations for a great renewal of the Church, of mankind and of all creation. Jesus King of All Nations said,
Therefore let it also be known that a great renewal of My Holy Church, of mankind and indeed of all creation will follow the cleansing action of My Justice. How greatly I Love My people! It is for your good O mankind that I allow My Justice to be poured out in order to awaken your conscience and correct your sinful behavior. Yet you see how dearly I Love you in that I continually warn you and even seek to comfort you in the pain of the cleansing which is almost upon you.
Return to Me My people. I Love you Infinitely and Eternally for such is My very Nature as God; the One-True God, the Sovereign King of all that is.
Pray and trust in Me My Faithful ones. I will not abandon you in the dark and cloudy day which rapidly approaches. Stay close to My Immaculate Mother; cling to her Holy Rosary, invoke her Immaculate Heart.
Take up My devotion of Jesus King of All Nations for in its practice you shall find for yourselves a haven of Grace, Mercy and Protection. Enthrone this My image everywhere for I shall be powerfully present there and the Power of My Sovereign Kingship shall surely shield you from My Just Judgement.
Be strong and do not lose hope. I AM with you to save you. (Journal 414-419).