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mgladwell74 karma

I think lots of journalists get those criticisms from specialists in the field they are writing about. I happen to be a big fan of track and field--and whenever someone writes about track who isn't an "expert" like me, I roll my eyes. But then I have to remember: they aren't writing for me. And writing for the general audience requires a very different approach than writing for a group of specialists. With this school shooting piece, I think that principle applies. I took one idea from a very vast sociological literature, and took a case study from the news, and tried to use one to make sense of the other. Could the result be published in the American Journal of Sociology? Of course not. But does it help the average reader understand a difficult and painful topic? I hope so. I'm happy if I have done that.

mgladwell33 karma

Pop culture is to blame, absolutely. But the issue is that pop culture today is not what it was thirty years ago. The internet has created a rabbit warren for the all sorts of twisted fantasies: the paradox of the internet is that the group who seem to use it the most (teenagers) are those least well-equipped to deal with its pathologies.

mgladwell32 karma

I think that gun control is crucial for lowering the overall homicide rate: there's no question in my mind that the easy availability of guns in the U.S. is a huge contributor to the fact that we have a homicide rate several times higher than other industrialized nations. But school schooters are a far more complicated issue: they are a subgenre of homicide that is about a specific fantasy that has taken hold of some teenaged boys. We could crack down on guns and still have a Columbine.

mgladwell23 karma

Very important question. First of all I was writing about a case in which the subject's ASD was at the center of his entire legal experience. It was his diagnosis with mild ASD that led to him being put on probation--instead of behind bars. So I had to deal with it. The second half of the piece, which I gather you've read, is explicitly about trying to explain how we should NOT confuse John LaDue's attitudes and condition for those of the classic school shooters, like Eric Harris. That's why I have the long discussion of "counterfeit deviance"--the notion that we need to be very careful in assessing the criminality of people with ASD when it comes to certain kinds of behaviors: someone like John LaDue might be very innocently drawn into a troubling pattern of behavior. I was trying to fight the tendency to stigmatize those with ASD. I hope that came across.

mgladwell21 karma

Yes, I got depressed. And I'm still depressed.