On August 27, Salon magazine published an interview with the author of a recent study on mass shootings to claim that the drive for “American exceptionalism” creates “a gap” between that which people desire and that which they achieve, thereby resulting in a dissonance that leads to violence.
According to Salon, the author of the study is University of Alabama associate professor Adam Lankford. He suggests that violence–particularly “public mass shootings”–are part of “the dark side of American exceptionalism.” That people who want so much but achieve so little are candidates for violent actions.
He said, “I’ve been looking at the idea that, according to string theory, there’s a social pressure to achieve the American dream, but a lack of means to do so.” He said he is not arguing that poverty causes mass shootings, rather, he is saying the inward drive to be more than you are often creates “a large gap between what people are aspiring to and what they can realistically achieve,” which results in a frustration that gives way to violence in some.
Lankford cited these things as contributing factors to his findings that the United States led the world with “90” mass shootings during the period 1966 to 2012. Ninety mass shootings over a period of 46 years works out to about 1.95 mass shootings a year.
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