Why Do We Pull the Gun, Not the Brake?

Edy Zoo
3 min readDec 21, 2023
Author Created on Dall-E

Prague’s student square, once echoing with the joyful din of youth, now bears the chilling scars of a massacre. A lone shooter, a student himself, transformed the vibrant hub into a battlefield, leaving behind a trail of shattered lives and unanswered questions.

Why do seemingly ordinary individuals like him commit such unimaginable acts? What dark wellspring of motivation fuels these mass shootings that plague our world?

The answer, like the human psyche itself, is multifaceted. No single trigger pulls the metaphorical gun, but rather a complex web of factors intertwined like the roots of a twisted tree. Mental health undoubtedly plays a crucial role. Diagnoses like depression, anxiety, and even psychosis can create a storm within, a vortex of despair and rage that can distort reality and turn thoughts into murderous intent.

But mental illness alone isn’t the villain in this tragedy. It’s the toxic cocktail it brews with other ingredients — alienation, isolation, and a suffocating sense of powerlessness — that genuinely tips the scales toward violence.

Think of a social media feed curated to amplify outrage, a constant barrage of negativity and division. Imagine living in a world where every disagreement feels like a personal attack, where the roar of ideological sirens drowns out nuance.

This is the breeding ground for resentment, a fertile soil where seeds of anger can sprout into poisonous vines that choke empathy and reason. Feeling ostracized, unheard, and trapped in a world that seems hostile and unforgiving, some individuals reach for the most desperate form of agency — the power to inflict pain, to make their mark on a world that seems to have forgotten them.

But it’s not just the digital echo chamber that fuels the fire. The real world, too, plays its part. Gun accessibility, for one, acts as a loaded trigger waiting for a finger to pull.

Easy access to high-powered weapons turns frustration into a deadly equation, where rage finds its easiest outlet in the cold steel of a firearm. Even the cultural glorification of violence, from video games to action movies, can subtly normalize aggression, desensitizing us to its consequences and making it seem like a viable solution to conflict.

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Edy Zoo

Edy Zoo is an author who writes about social subjects. He contributes to the ever-growing library of social critics.