“Don’t blame the gun lobby, blame the gun man,” “liberals blame Republicans, the NRA, and White Supremacy,” “don’t blame mental illness,” “media, you are to blame,” “blame gun violence on a sick world,” “don’t blame the Second Amendment,” “gun control blame game,” “professor suggests Trump deserves blame,” “Conway blames Obama for failing to regulate,” and the list goes on...
In the wake of mass shootings, language of “blame” can be found everywhere. Pundits, bloggers, and politicians, whatever their disagreements, all rush to answer the same question: Who’s to blame for this? Is toxic masculinity to blame? Lax gun laws? Poorly enforced laws? Innate human evil? The gun lobby? A culture that glorifies violence?
This seemingly straightforward question hides a lot of confusion. What are we really asking when we ask who’s to blame?