Las Vegas Shooter: How Far Will We Go to Get Attention?

Las Vegas Shooter: How Far Will We Go to Get Attention?

“Look at Me!”

When did we morph into a culture in which seeking attention is a way of life? And death?
It’s easy to divide the world into good people (people like us) and bad people (people who aren’t like us) and place the Las Vegas’ shooter in the group that’s not ‘like us.’ We want to believe we have nothing in common. But we do.
We have all felt hopeless and desperate at times. That’s a pretty human experience. But what we ‘do’ we those feelings is the question. Mostly we follow cultural cues.

Do we seek greater understanding of the knowledge provided by thousands of years of philosophy and religion and even psychology?
Probably not. We have been groomed to believe that the way to erase bad feelings is to get attention from others—with the right car, the right house, the right phone, the right clothes. Maybe it’s always been true that people unable to find meaning in life–have sought inner happiness through lives committed to claiming attention. Could be that what’s new is our devotion to media. (Isn’t the element of life which most occupies us—what we are devoted to?)
Calling attention to oneself is no longer considered rude boastfulness. It’s the norm. Media markets provide all sorts of ways to promote ourselves and even to reach the pinnacle of the American Dream—fame.
Thus, we can’t be surprised that tragically unhappy people resort to desperate methods of getting attention. Doesn’t matter that the Las Vegas shooter was killed. He had weeks, months, maybe even years to visual what it would be like when he was famous. Careful planning would mean a setting a record and reinforce his sense of being superior.
Doesn’t take an education to know that the man was miserable. What does a person do who has given up on finding joy in life? More importantly, how does he feel about people who seem to have at least achieved some sort of happiness?
Jackrabbit Joy: A baby called ‘Ears”
I was about nine the summer my father gave me Ears. He was the cutest baby jackrabbit I’d ever seen and the only one I’d ever held in my arms. Mule ears on a precious ball of fluff. My father had rescued him while mowing the back lawn and gave him to the animal fanatic in the family, me.
That afternoon I made a huge deal out of my new friend. I paraded all the neighborhood kids to the backyard to admire Ears nibbling lettuce and carrot slivers in the cage my father had set on top the brick barbeque. I knew rabbits grew up fast and I’d have to let him go before very long, but I was so, so happy that afternoon.
One of the boys from next door, Joey, a year younger than me, especially fell for Ears and I let him hold him and tickle his tummy. I could tell Joey was a little envious and wished he’d had a jackrabbit or, more likely, he wished he had a father who’d rescue a baby rabbit and fix up a cage for his child.
The next morning Ears was dead. A sweet blob of brown fur, studded with black dots and blood. Joey had returned after dark with a flashlight and his brother’s shotgun. Joey was not a happy child.

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I'm a psychologist who goes to way too many movies, for the same reason I chose this profession. I love stories. I use movies and novels working with people in my office and during speaking engagements. "You should write some of this down," I kept being told. So, this is it, folks.

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