“When asked by CNN to respond to critics who argue that ‘thoughts and prayers’ are not enough to prevent mass shootings, Republican Rep. Keith Self, who represents Allen [Texas], said … that he wanted to know what the motive of the gunman was and whether he had mental health issues.” — NBC News
I actually know what the shooter’s motive was.
It was to kill people.
Using a gun.
“The shooting came barely a week after a man fatally shot five people in Cleveland, Texas, after a neighbor asked him to stop firing his weapon while a baby slept. It also follows other rampages in recent days, including the fatal shootings of six victims in a home in Oklahoma City on Monday, and gunfire that killed one and injured four in a medical facility in Atlanta on Wednesday.” — NBC News
CLEVELAND, TEXAS: The shooter’s motive was to kill people using a gun.
OKLAHOMA CITY: The shooter’s motive was to kill people using a gun.
ATLANTA: The shooter’s motive was to kill people using a gun.
I’m not a cop, a star witness, an FBI agent, or a forensic psychologist. I’m not a clairvoyant, I’m bad at math, and I lie to my doctor about doing regular breast exams. But even I—an ordinary American citizen with soft morals and the ability to take in basic information and discern simple patterns—know what the motive was behind every mass shooting. Every single one.
THE MONTEREY PARK SHOOTING, 2023
11 dead, 9 injured
“Investigators have not … given a possible motive for the mass shooting.” — ABC7 Eyewitness News
The motive was to kill people using a semi-automatic handgun.
THE ROBB ELEMENTARY
SCHOOL SHOOTING, 2022
19 dead, 2 injured
“There’s still a lot to learn about the gunman in Uvalde, his motives, and what might have been done to stop him.” — Texas Tribune
The motive was to primarily kill very, very young people using a semi-automatic rifle.
SUPERMARKET SHOOTING, 2022
10 dead, 3 injured
“‘Gendron’s motive for the mass shooting was to prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar attacks,’ the complaint states.” — NBC News
In other words, the motive was to primarily kill Black people using a semi-automatic rifle.
THE BOULDER KING
SOOPERS STORE SHOOTING, 2021
10 dead, 1 injured
“Neither the defendant nor law enforcement officials have publicly provided a motive for the shooting.” — The Denver Post
The motive was to kill people using semi-automatic pistols.
THE EL PASO WALMART SHOOTING, 2019
22 dead, 24 injured
“Crusius, 21, wanted to stop a ‘Hispanic invasion of Texas,’ according to an online document police believe he wrote. ‘The 2,300-word’ manifesto,’ as police called it, was attached to a post that read: ‘I’m probably going to die today.’” — CNN
In other words, the motive was to primarily kill Latino people using a semi-automatic rifle, and I guess also to kill himself.
THE VIRGINIA BEACH SHOOTING, 2019
12 dead, 4 injured
“‘One of the pieces of the investigation will include the motive for this horrific act,’ Cervera said on Sunday. ‘We don’t have anything glaring, there’s nothing that hits you between the eyes.’” — BuzzFeed News
An incredible choice of words here. Nevertheless, the motive was to kill people using a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun.
THE THOUSAND OAKS SHOOTING, 2018
12 dead, 18 injured
“‘We have no idea what the motive was at this point,’ Dean said Thursday afternoon.” — CNN
The motive was to kill people using a .45-caliber Glock 21 with an extended magazine.
SYNAGOGUE SHOOTING, 2018
11 dead, 6 injured
“The killings also immediately reignited the longstanding national debate about guns: President Donald Trump said the outcome might have been different if the synagogue ‘had some kind of protection’ from an armed guard.” — AP News
The motive was to kill Jewish people using an assault-style rifle and three handguns. And the outcome might have been very different if the country weren’t awash in guns already.
THE SANTA FE, TEXAS,
HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING, 2018
10 dead, 13 injured
“Police have not yet said what might have motivated the attack. … ‘He gave a statement admitting to shooting multiple people inside the Santa Fe High School with the intent on killing people,’ the police affidavit said.” — AP News
Seems like the police do know what might have motivated the attack. He wanted to primarily kill young people using a shotgun and a handgun.
HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING, 2018
17 dead, 17 injured
“Authorities offered no immediate details about a possible motive.” — AP News
The motive was to primarily kill young people using a semi-automatic rifle.
THE SUTHERLAND SPRINGS
CHURCH SHOOTING, 2017
26 dead, 22 injured
“The motive for the attack was unclear on Sunday, but the grisly nature of it could not have been clearer: Families gathered in pews, clutching Bibles and praying to the Lord, were murdered in cold blood on the spot.” — New York Times
The motive was to kill people using a semi-automatic rifle. “Almost all AR-15 variants legally sold in the United States fire only semiautomatically, and they were covered by the federal assault weapons ban that went into effect in 1994. Since the ban expired in 2004, the weapons have been legal to sell or possess in much of the United States, and sales of AR-15s have surged.”
THE LAS VEGAS SHOOTING, 2017
58 dead, 850+ injured
“FBI Finds No Motive in Las Vegas Shooting, Closes Investigation” — NPR
The motive was to kill as many people as humanly possible using semi-automatic rifles (some outfitted with bump stocks), a bolt-action rifle, and a revolver. “He had 47 firearms the day he opened fire on people.”
PULSE NIGHT CLUB SHOOTING, 2016
49 dead, 53 injured
“Disentangling Mateen’s motivations, at this point a major focus of the inquiry, is likely to be a complicated task.” — The Guardian
Is it complicated? The motive was to kill people using “an assault-type rifle called a Sig Sauer MCX … The MCX is described by its manufacturer as ‘the ultimate modern hunting rifle.’” The shooter also used a 9mm pistol.
THE SAN BERNARDINO SHOOTING, 2015
14 dead, 24 injured
“’We do not yet know the motive; we cannot rule anything out at this point,’ said David Bowdich, the assistant F.B.I. director in charge of the Los Angeles office.” — New York Times
The motive was to kill people using two .223-caliber assault rifles and two 9mm semi-automatic pistols.
THE WASHINGTON NAVY
YARD SHOOTING, 2013
12 dead, 3 injured
“Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said that Aaron Alexis, 34, began the shooting knowing he would be killed. A search of Alexis’s electronic devices, she said, indicated that he was ‘prepared to die during the attack and that he accepted death as the inevitable consequence of his actions.’” — Washington Post
The motive was to kill people using a semi-automatic pistol and shotgun, and I guess also to kill himself.
THE SANDY HOOK
26 dead, 2 injured
“Police declined to speculate on a motive Friday evening, citing the ongoing investigation.” — CNN
The motive was to primarily kill very, very young people using a semi-automatic rifle, a bolt-action rifle, and a pistol.
THE AURORA THEATER SHOOTING, 2012
12 dead, 70 injured
“House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) also said authorities needed to further investigate the shooter’s methods, motives, and associations. ‘I think the unanswered questions… is… what was the motive for this gunman?’ King said Friday afternoon on Fox News.” — Politico
The motive was to kill people using an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, and a .40-caliber Glock.
THE FORT HOOD SHOOTING, 2009
(not to be confused with the other Fort Hood Shooting in 2014)
13 dead, 32 injured
“Days after a mass shooting at the Fort Hood Army post in Killeen, Texas, details of the gunman’s life have captivated millions looking for motives behind Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s murderous rampage.” — ABC News
“Captivated millions”? What the hell, ABC? The motive was to kill people using a semi-automatic pistol.
THE BINGHAMTON SHOOTING, 2009
13 dead, 4 injured
“‘We have no idea what the motive is,’ Zikuski said.” — ABC News
The motive was to kill people.
People of every religion, every race, every gender, and every possible age.
People at work, people watching a movie, people praying, people shopping for a birthday cake, and kids shopping for shoes.
Kids at school, more kids at school, teenagers, and more teenagers at school.
The motive in a mass shooting is always to kill people. To kill them using a gun.
Or guns, plural.
So many guns.
It’s the guns.
It’s the motherfucking guns.