I like WA's brevity -
Originally Posted by WildAlaska
defective human units
Let's face it - for the most part, if you read about the people involved, they are or have become "losers". And I don't mean that unkindly. Some of these folks may have been fine in prior years, even successful. But well before they "snap" they have gone through months or years of decline.
A child dies from a lingering illness and he's bankrupt and has to start all over. A relationship goes sour. An ugly divorce. Their own declining health or that of a close family member. Excessive stress at home and/or on the job become too much.
From what I've seen of most adults who do these things, they are having trouble with employment, often living with a relative (mother/father, brother/sister), have limited social contacts and may be under treatment for some form of mental illness. They feel like they've reached the "bottom" and will never get out.
I'll also buy into the moral/ethical decline theory too. People who have good moral values and are taught good work ethic as a child tend to have fewer problems. Or they tend to work through the problems they face and get back on their feet.
As to influences from media, games, etc. Think back to the late 1930's and the emotion in the voice of the reporter talking about the Hindenburg
disaster. People around the country were "horrified" and some cried while reading of the crash. Today, a 767 crashes and the only tears shed are by those who knew someone aboard. Why?
Before widespread radio and TV, people's lives centered around their neighborhoods and towns. Radio allowed many to feel connected to the country. But a "live" disaster like the Hindenburg was too much for most people. It was a tragedy if two people died in their town when an automobile overturned. But thirty-six
people burned to death? They had no emotional defenses to that idea.
However, as a baby boomer, I've witnessed hundreds of murders and murder scenes. Likely so have you. On TV. We have been exposed all our lives to TV dramas that involve murder. From Gunsmoke to The Naked City. From Perry Mason to Matlock. From MacMillian & Wife to Murder She Wrote. Murder - the ultimate crime. It shocks us all (but now, only when it happens on our block).
We've come to accept homicide as inevitable. Someone, somewhere will kill someone else. It's part of society. Yet, two generations ago many people felt safe enough to go to sleep
with their doors unlocked. Or at least leave them unlocked during the day.
The TV news mantra if it bleeds, it leads
is partly responsible. It's like pandering to the human curiosity evident in a car crash. In fact, if you led the news with photos or video of a horrific car crash and the mangled cars, people would still tune in. The problem, of course, is that if everyone walks away, it's just an 10 second clip on the news. Never mind that the viewers are still interested, there's no death or blood to report. We've had decades to build up some defenses to the idea of senseless violence.
Solutions? I have none, other than instilling in youngsters the traditional values of integrity, morality, a good work ethic and a sound education.
 Social contacts often act as sounding-boards for ideas and the feedback can tell us when our thinking is unreasonable. Lack of contact with others can allow one to fall into paranoid or delusional thinking.
 Shrinks now call even mild depress a "mental illness" along with nail-biting and nose-picking. But this reference is for those who are actively seeing a professional and/or taking drugs to cope.
 It may be that "hitting bottom" includes self-induced shame for taking drugs to cope or for being unemployed. At the bottom, they start blaming others and believing in conspiracies aimed at keeping the person down.