Callers Weigh In on the Causes of Mass Shootings

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RUSH: Let me go to the phones because I know a lot of you want to weigh in on this.  We’ll start in Rancho Santa Fe, California.  This is Peter.  Great to have you, sir.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hello, Rush.  I think President Trump should call for a 9/11-style commission to study mass shootings in America, and in particular why so many of these perpetrators are in their twenties and thirties.  The mainstream media and the Democrat presidential candidates, as you know, are focusing their analysis of the events on what I would call the two bogeymen: The NRA and the Second Amendment.  But I’m over 65.  The NRA and the Second Amendment existed when I was in my twenties and thirties, yet there were no mass shootings.  Why?  Well, a 9/11-style commission will be able to study the influence of all of the following — and I’ll say it parenthetically — that (crosstalk) years.

RUSH:  Wait a minute.  Not to play… Well, yeah.  Do you believe everything the 9/11 commission reported about 9/11?

CALLER:  No.  But it gets… What it will allow the president to do is deflect the criticism that’s coming in at him, and let’s let a group of nonpoliticians look at the breakdown of the family structure and look at the rise in secularism —

RUSH:  Where are you gonna find ’em?

CALLER:  — look at violence in the movies.

RUSH:  Where you gonna find ’em?  Once you appoint ’em, they become political.

CALLER:  I don’t disagree with that, but at least we can have the dialogue.  Violence in video games.  You talked about it this morning.  The role of social media in these killers’ behavior.

RUSH:  Yeah, but I haven’t even got warmed up on that.

CALLER:  Oh, I know you haven’t.

RUSH:  This is gonna extend all the way to the presidential race.  I think it’s already underway.

CALLER:  I agree.

RUSH:  I understand. So what I hear you saying is you want the criticism somehow sent somewhere else rather than Trump. See, this is — and I understand this.  We’re all sick of this!  We’re stick and tired of every time this happens, people that we believe in being blamed for it or ourselves.  We’re sick of it.  None of us pulled the trigger, none of us want these things to happen, and yet we turn on the media and that’s what we hear — and we’re fed up with it.  I understand you want to deflect the criticism.  That’s not gonna happen.  There has to be a different way of dealing with the criticism ’cause it’s never gonna end, and the politicization of it is never gonna end.

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RUSH:  Here’s Antoinette, Greensboro, North Carolina.  Back at it we are on the Rush Limbaugh program.  Hiya, Antoinette.  Great to have you here.

CALLER:  Mega dittos, Rush, from a happy-to-be-female conservative.

RUSH:  Thank you.

CALLER: (giggles) Happy to talk to you.  I actually have two points, if you don’t mind.  Several years back my son — who has always been sort of odd man out, didn’t feel like he fit in — just sort of started staying away from the people at his school and stuff and just hanging out in his room and starting to play games on the internet. He kept his room dark so he could see the games well. Then he started getting into role-playing, which are games that have characters and you take on that character and the characteristics.  And they have this thing, too — if parents aren’t aware — of first-person shooter games.

RUSH:  Right.  How old is your son we’re talking about?

CALLER:  Well, at that time he was 18 through 22.

RUSH:  Okay.

CALLER:  He started playing all these games online. First-person shooter games are a genre where they take on weapons of all sorts — guns, primarily — and they combat each other online.  There’s bunches and bunches of characters.  Online. You don’t know these people, but you’re there to shoot them.  A lot of people think these little anime video games, because they’re cartoon looking…? They’re not. They’re very explicitly sexual and dark videos, a lot of fighting, a lot of sexual content, if any parent would spend the time to just look through some of these things or do some of the investigating.  So my son started just staying in his room —

RUSH:  Wait a minute.  But your son didn’t become a mass shooter?

CALLER:  No, my son didn’t become a mass shooter.  But I’m gonna tell you why.  At one point he had gotten to where I found out — because one of his friends did tell me — he was contemplating suicide.  He just felt so alone, as you said. Isolated.  But then he started making so-called friends on the internet and doing all these character roles and everything, and I finally said, “Okay, look.  You cannot stay in this dark room all day long after school and play video games with people you don’t know and not come out.”

So I finally kind of put my foot down and made a plan for him to come out and to be with people at our church — which we actually had a really, really cool youth director.  But if you think about it, it’s not only video games. What is out there for young people to view that’s healthy, fun, make them laugh?  You got 13 Reasons Why, which is suicidal. You’ve got Euphoria, which is a new HBO sexual teen… (laughs) I mean totally —

RUSH:  Well, let’s not race through these things here.  Euphoria is an HBO show about sex and drugs for 13- to 15-year-olds, and it’s portrayed as a great life!  That’s why it’s called Euphoria.  13 Reasons Why is a Netflix show that’s gonna be entering season 3 soon.  In 13 Reasons Why, the lead character committed suicide — and the 13 reasons why are essentially 13 people in high school who mistreated her.  And the series is about her relationships with each of these people and how she set them up to all be blamed when she took her life.

And it was a top five Netflix show.  It rivals Stranger Things.  Now, Stranger Things is its own young persons’ show about… I tried to watch season 1, and I guess I was blessed by the fact that I don’t have kids and I didn’t get it.  I got tired of it after two episodes.  I just don’t… I don’t have a lot of fun watching 9- and 10-year-olds running around, learning about life. Don’t take that the wrong way. On a TV show.  On a TV show.  I just… So I don’t… My point is, I don’t know what Stranger Things is all about, other than it’s a “mixed-mash” horror show, too.  Right?

It’s a monster in it somewhere.  But 13 Reasons Why, there were all kinds of parent petitions and requests of Netflix, “Hey, change this! Do something.  This is romanticizing suicide.  This is justifying it.  This is the wrong message that needs to be sent.”  Now, I remember back in the eighties and nineties Algore’s wife, Tipper — and who did she partner with?  What Republican’s wife did she partner with?

But they testified before a congressional committee on the dangers of video games and rock music lyrics and dangerous television shows, and they were laughed at and mocked out of the place. People were making fun of them. “You think rock music lyrics are inspiring this kind of bad behavior and these TV shows?” They were told to get real. (interruption) Susan Baker.  That’s right.  James A. Baker’s wife.  Mrs. James Baker and Tipper Gore.  They were trying to make the case that this stuff is poisonous, that it cannot help but have a destructive impact on people.

But the entertainment industry came alive and basically portrayed both of them as a couple of fuddy-duddy old-fashioned Victorians who wanted to impose their morality on everyone — which is what always happens, by the way.  Whenever anybody objects to the sewer that pop culture has become, they’re always charged with being these out-o-touch, old-fashioned sticks in the mud that want to deny people a good time — and then they’re called Reagan-supporting conservatives.

So then people get the idea that what conservatism really is, is a dull and boring life where you may never get into any trouble, but you don’t have any fun, and you never have any sex.  And you never have any aborti… Uh, babies, and you never have any abortions, and all of that.  And it’s why there is less and less objection to this now, because the people who have objected in the past have been pilloried.

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RUSH:  We’re gonna stick with the phones here to Lisa in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Great to have you, Lisa.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hi, Rush.  It’s a pleasure to speak with you.  Mega dittos from Fort Wayne.  Rush, I just wanted to speak to your point about social media and the influence it’s having on our society and culture.  I think there’s a layer even deeper to that.  Foundationally, I think it’s the removal of God in our society and culture, which has created this notion that there’s no value in life. The sanctity of life is completely gone.  So along with the no sanctity of life, you have a group of people growing up with a lack of identity. They don’t know where to look for their identity, and so they turn to social media.

And then with social media, you have the bullying. You have people that are glorifying the lives they want everybody to think they have.  And it’s a building block thing that’s happening. All leading to the rise and increase of suicides that has taken place in our country. All leading to the rise of these mass shootings and killings that are going on.  The foundational problem is we have removed God from our culture, from our society.  We’ve made it wrong to have faith.  We’ve made it wrong to believe that there’s a higher power above ourselves.

RUSH:  Well, not entirely.  There are a lot of people who believe in “a higher power” but who do not believe in God.

CALLER:  That’s true.

RUSH:  This is —

CALLER: (crosstalk)

RUSH: No, no.  It’s one of the tricks that the left has artfully played on people — and I’m not talking about Gaia or trees or climate change.  Look, I think your point is right on the money.  I think the absence of God — which, what does it mean?  If there’s no God in somebody’s life, there’s no meaning to any of this. There’s no purpose to it. There’s no limit.

CALLER:  Exactly.

RUSH: There’s no limit on behavior.

CALLER: Exactly.  Not for their own life and not for the life of anyone else.  There’s just no regard for life.

RUSH:  Well, there certainly is less regard for it, and with the extreme cases of it, yeah. No regard for it whatsoever.  But you see Now, we can’t escape politics here, because there is a particular political ideology which requires that there is no God.  The ideology replaces the god — and the ideology can be whatever that movement, liberalism, wants it to be.  It can be government.  It can be a particular movement.  But mostly it is whatever the left wants to happen is the god.

And if the left is then seen as totally tolerant — that you can do whatever you want in the name of freedom — you’re gonna end up having a life of no meaning whatsoever.  It’s really tough to explain to people who have never been raised with the concept of God in their lives what they’re missing.  It’s a very challenging conversation.  You look at people who have been raised with God in their lives, raised with a religious value system. They may not know the Bible. They may not be conversant in various aspects of theology.

But the one thing that they understand is that there is something beyond this that’s attainable.  Now, the nonbelievers say this is one of the biggest tricks that’s ever been played on people. To tell ’em that there’s a heaven, tell ’em that there’s a God. and then it tell ’em that you have to behave in a certain way to attain that.  Well, no, behavior has nothing to do with it.  Belief does.  This is the first big myth that people sell. To destroy religion, they have tried to say, “What you have to do to get to heaven’s impossible!

“You have to live a perfect life, and I can’t do that.” That’s a myth.  That’s not what it says.  To get to heaven, you believe in Jesus — seriously, seriously believe and accept Jesus Christ — ’cause nobody can live a sin-free life.  It’s not possible! By virtue of our creation, it isn’t possible.  So that cannot be the test.  But the left has come along and convinced nonbelievers and the ignorant that it is!  Now, the left thinks that religion, organized religion, is one of the biggest tricks ever played on humanity.

They think it’s a brilliant trick because it was used to keep societies and groups of people in check.  They think that whoever the original authors of the ancient religions were — the three religions, the religions of Abraham: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. There are differences, obviously. But the belief that there is eternal life is what causes people either consciously or subconsciously to conform to a mode of behavior that is considered normal and within normal boundaries. The left believes whoever concocted this is brilliant, because they created a myth that has forced mass behavior on people for millennia.

And they think it’s all a lie, because they can’t prove it.  I mean, they can look all over the world. They can look at anything, and they can tell themselves, “Hey, it’s just a coincidence all this happens!”  Other people look at it and say (chuckles), “This cannot be a coincidence.  This cannot be happenstance.  This simply cannot be the result of some giant explosion that randomly resulted in all this.  This is a grand design!”  So if you have this partisan split over things like this, this where Lisa’s exactly right.

If you happen to think that there’s nothing larger than yourself, if there’s nothing more important in your life than you, if you haven’t ever been exposed to do idea that there is a greater meaning… If people don’t have meaning in their lives, all you have to do to get meaning in your life is to try to understand that there’s more to your life than what you do each and every day.  But this requires immersion into some religions or belief systems that a lot of people simply have not been exposed to.

Precisely because, as Lisa says, God has been taken out of culture. God’s been taken out of a lot of the fabric of American life. And the left doesn’t like God because God is the ultimate authority, and there is no ultimate authority but them.  Why do you think that in communism, there’s no God?  There cannot possibly be God.  Communism… What are the ChiComs doing right now?  They’re tracking down every religious group and bringing ’em into camps.  The ChiComs actually have concentration camps.

Oh, speaking of that, what effect do you think it’s gonna have on people when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of these little urchins run around telling these young people the United States has German-like concentration camps on the border?  What is that gonna do to an already unstable, malleable mind?  Well, the ChiComs are actually doing it! Try being a Muslim in China.  Try being a Jew in China.  Try being any religion.  They hunt you down, and you are sent off to a reeducation camp, and many people never leave them.

There is only one god in communism, and it’s the state, and anything else — anything that tells people that there’s something greater than the state — is the ultimate threat.  And it has to be eliminated, has to be wiped out, and it has to be disproved.  So young kids in communism are constantly in school, shown “proof” that there is no God. “Well, why don’t they start mass shootin’ everybody, Rush?”  Well, because no. They have their own belief system.  They’ve been told that the state is God.  They’ve got their fear.

Everything in life is attainable but from the state.  So they have to behave, they have to conform, they have to do whatever.  They’re turned into automatons, while they have nothing.  It’s really hideous.  And what they have in common is that they are all scared to death of people having freedom and liberty.  And you go to our First Amendment and our Bill of Rights, and you find out why we’re different, why we’re exceptional.

Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association.  Those are all things that constitute a great opposition force to totalitarians.

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RUSH: Here is John in Waco, Texas. It’s great to have you on the program, John. Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. A couple of things. I deal a lot with people who are harm to self or harm to others. There are two stats that really jump out at me. Number one, 4% of mass shooters have a documentable mental health issue, which means, yeah, we can focus on mental health all day long, but that’s not —

RUSH: Wait, wait, wait. Is that right? ‘Cause that means 96 of mass shooters don’t.

CALLER: They don’t have a documentable one. So if the emphasis that I’m hearing is that we need to do more about mental health —

RUSH: Oh. Yeah.

CALLER: — we’re missing the boat. Twenty-two percent of Millennials — and here’s where I think the problem is — feel isolated and that they have no friends. And those are two of the primary indicators of potential violence in mass shootings.

RUSH: Bingo. My point in the first hour. That’s precisely what I think all of these shooters have in common is this feeling of isolation.

CALLER: And social media, it’s not just the content, it’s the fact that that’s all they’re doing, and they don’t have any personal friends, they don’t have any personal contacts, and people aren’t communicating to the right authorities that this kid’s in trouble. And that’s the solution, is letting people know what to look for, what signs and then communicate that something’s going on to somebody to get help.

RUSH: Okay. Well, how would that manifest itself? So you’re in school, this kid supposedly has a hit list, he’s isolated, he’s despondent but obviously tries to cover that up with an attitude of cockiness and, you know, false placed confidence. What do you do? Where do you take the kid for help? Who’s qualified?

CALLER: Okay. Just a case that just surfaced in Lubbock, Texas, mass shooter, potential, had all the ammo, had everything, his grandmother noticed that something was just not right and she reported it to the authorities, and he’s in custody now, and there is no mass shooting. And that’s exactly what has to happen.

RUSH: Well, the same thing happened at Marjorie Douglas Stoneman high school. That guy was reported two or three times and nobody did anything about him.

CALLER: Yeah. You gotta do something.

RUSH: The point’s being made that way, too, in that situation.

CALLER: Absolutely.

RUSH: All right. So your real point is that social media is all they do, that’s the extent of their —

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: — social interaction. And of course what happens there is not healthy in any number of ways, and so they’re alone, and they’re feeling isolated, unaccepted, whatever isolated means to them.

CALLER: Yes. And about a quarter of them will say, “I don’t have any friends at all.” And now we’re moving into two of the factors that up the ante for potential violence.

RUSH: Okay. I understand all that, but, but it’s important to note that of all the people, all the Millennials, for example, that would qualify under the characteristics you have described, the percentage of them that go pick up a gun and mass kill people is so still infinitesimally small as a measure of the whole database that it’s tough to make a correlation. Otherwise they would all be doing this, and they’re not.

So there still is something more. I’m not disagreeing with what you’re saying, but there’s still something — Could it be that there are just people who are evil? No more complicated than that. Could that maybe be?

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RUSH: Erin in Detroit.  Great to have you, Erin.  Welcome.

CALLER:  Rush, I’m so happy to talk to you.  I am a Millennial.  Longtime listener.  I am in the video game industry, and I wanted to talk about people’s qualms with video games and talking about how they influence people to kill.  And I’d have to agree with that.  I’d have to say that video games do not influence people to kill, no more than guns influence people to kill, or that money influences people to commit crimes.

RUSH:  You know, since you’re in the video game industry, I need to share something with you.

CALLER: Yeah?

RUSH: I guess this is in the early nineties. There was… I had a friend. I’m a gonna name any names.  Doesn’t matter.  At the time, this friend wrote for the Wall Street Journal, and said, “You’re missing one of the biggest potential disrupters in America.” I said, “What is it?”  The video game industry!  Video games!” At the time, it was just Pong and stuff.

CALLER:  Yeah.

RUSH:  “Video games are destroying kids.  They’re doing nothing but sitting at consoles and playing these games — and as these games get more violent, we’ve got a problem coming like you can’t believe.” I listened to him and I took it all in and I never forgot it.  But I tell you, for as many kids… This is my own take.  For as many people as are playing video games and as many people as are out there watching the Avenger movies, there aren’t that many of ’em shooting up the country.  It’s such a small number that I wonder.

CALLER: I know.

RUSH: It’s too convenient an excuse.

CALLER:  It is an excuse.  I was telling Snerdley that it’s hard to hear people blame people like me for creating these works of art.  I am an artist, and just like people blame you… Like, I was very young when it happened. I’m only 28. People blamed you for the Monica Lewinsky dress.  It’s hard to have people blame us, say that blood is on our hands for just doing art.

RUSH:  Wait a minute.  That’s a new one.  They blamed me for the dress?

CALLER: (giggles)

RUSH:  I knew they blamed me for the Oklahoma City bombing.  They blamed me for the Monica Lewinsky dress?  That’s cool!  I didn’t know that.

CALLER: I remember hearing about that. I was really little, though, so I could be wrong.

RUSH: No, no. You’re not wrong. You’re a woman on this program. It’s impossible for you to be wrong.

CALLER: Okay. Well, thank you. I’m gonna tell people about that.

RUSH: Are you a designer of these games?

CALLER: I’m an artist. I’m not gonna go too into detail because I could lose my job —

RUSH: No, no.

CALLER: I’m the only conservative that works on games.

RUSH: Okay. You’re an artist. Would you be considered part of the design unit?

CALLER: Yes, sir.

RUSH: That’s awesome.

CALLER: Oh, thank you. Well, I also wanted to say this kid made a choice, it’s a horrible choice but when I was a kid I had a friend tell me that actions have consequences and consequences unfortunately sometimes have names and faces. And people aren’t even in the ground and we’re pointing fingers and we need to give these families time to bury their loved ones before we place blame, before we politicize it. And it’s a horrible situation, but video games, movies, guns, people kill people. People kill people.

RUSH: You know what? That is an interesting thing, interesting point, Erin. Not so much that we don’t give the families time, but try to imagine being a parent of one of these kids that does this, and what if — I’m just gonna make up some possible scenarios. What if you recognize this, but didn’t take it seriously enough, then it happens? What if —

CALLER: I’d feel horrible.

RUSH: Well, what if you didn’t see it at all? What if you are totally, as a parent, taken aback? I don’t know if that’s possible. I don’t know how indicative kids like this are at home. I don’t know how much fear they inspire in their parents. Regardless, the parents have just got to be devastated on any number of levels here and the last thing they’re thinking about is the political aspect of this.

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: They are embarrassed, they’re shaken, they’re destroyed over the fact, what their kid did and what happened to their kid has got to be incalculable.

CALLER: I mean, I know that we need to help the situation, but we need to give these people time to grieve on all sides. Pointing the finger is not helping.

RUSH: Erin, are you kidding, the media, people — (laughing) No, no. People are expected to grieve on camera now. The media will show up on your doorstep and want in your house while you grieve. And they’ll want to know if you or your son supported Trump while you’re grieving. Erin, thank you so much.

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RUSH: Here is Andrea in Saginaw, Michigan. Great to have you with us today. Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. First of all, I just want to say I hope you don’t stay depressed because we’re all here with you.

RUSH: Well, I don’t mean despondent depressed. I mean, look, this stuff does not make you happy. This stuff does not —

CALLER: No.

RUSH: It does not inspire yuks and grins. That’s all I mean.

CALLER: Yeah. No. I was actually sickened by a lot of the TV media about El Paso. They’re trying so hard to get the mayor to blame somebody for it.

RUSH: Dayton too. Absolutely.

CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. So funny I came on after Erin. But the Endgame movies, the big, bad evil guy who was actually the bad guy, his main reason for doing things was a lot of what you read in that manifesto was about basically killing half of the population.

RUSH: You know, I have never seen an Avengers movie.

CALLER: Well, that was —

RUSH: I read about ’em because the tech blogs are Millennial little guys that have never had to grow up. They still play with rockets and stuff.

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: And they just love the Avengers. The biggest thing in their life to date has been Avengers: Endgame when it came out. I’ve never seen one of ’em. I think I tried to watch one with Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, whatever it was. I couldn’t — not my cup of tea. But I know people are devoted to them. So you think this kid, the shooter might have been affected by that? Is that what you’re saying?

CALLER: I don’t know if he was affected, but he might have gotten the idea for his reasoning. I’m not gonna say the movie caused him to do it because I know better than that.

RUSH: Yeah.

CALLER: But literature’s been blamed for all of that for a long time.

RUSH: But does it give you any pause whatsoever when the things these people say sound just like a Democrat Party debate? It does me. I mean, they’re scaring people to death in the Democrat Party. The whole notion of dystopian apocalypse is straight ahead of us. It’s got to be affecting people to some degree.