I think that to a certain contingency of our population, victims of mass shootings (and violent crime in general) aren’t really people.
They aren’t people, because they aren’t someone the contingency personally knows. In the contingency’s mind, the people who died are still “theory”.
Sociopaths don’t see other people as people. Their brains don’t function in a way that allows them to understand this. But the general population can have a similar version of this brain malfunction as well. It occurs as part of the tribalism mindset, where someone who doesn’t look like me isn’t a human like me. Or it can occur when one is stuck in mythic consciousness, where one can treat another as inhuman as long as those in charge condone it. And that’s how we get stuck arguing about “theories” like, “Does everyone deserve healthcare? Or a living wage? Or due process? Or the right to attend a concert without being assaulted and killed?”
This is a brain function problem and a consciousness problem. And it is an individual problem leading up to a collective problem.
But, the only remedy is at the individual level. We have to choose, as people, to get our houses in order AND to be open to looking at the world through a broader lens.
A friend of mine always says, “You can’t scream for peace, you can’t shout for peace, you have to BE peace.” And a second friend always follows with “It’s just a decision.”
We are entering a time where that decision is upon us. We have to make it individually, no matter how uncomfortable or lonely it is. And, we cannot make the decision for anyone else.
It’s the only way this stops and something new begins.