Shooting these people is the right thing to do

In the wake of the Orlando night club shooting and the shooting of singer Christina Grimmie I can only conclude, the shooting was the right thing to do.

You see we make choices every day. It doesn’t matter what the choice is we still made it. And at that time it was exactly the right thing to do, given all of our previous experiences, knowledge and potential outcomes. What is interesting is that we, as a country, react to decisions that have been made in a way that creates a moment when the “right” decision, the one determined by society often gets overridden.

Let’s take two scenarios, eating a doughnut and rape. These seem like drastically different concepts on the outside, but deep down they root in behavior and the somewhat inability to control a behavior.

Doughnuts are delicious. They are so good you are probably picturing one right now. You may even have a Pavlovian response, mouth starts watering, to just reading about one. At some point you have made the choice that you need to eat better. So here is your opportunity. Do you choose the Apple or the Doughnut? Obviously, you choose the Apple today or right now, because it is the right thing to do. It aligns with what society has told you what is healthy. Tomorrow, do you choose the Apple? Maybe you do. But data suggests when you have a bad day, hear some bad news or that cute person down the hall offers you a doughnut you default to an older behavior. So what do you do when this happens? You get the Doughnut.

You may disagree with the scenario, but trust me you have done something similar and you know you have. This doesn’t mean you are a bad person. In fact, you did the “right” thing. You made a choice! You chose to be happy over healthy. There is nothing wrong with that. Well except when you choose this brief moment of happiness over healthy over and over again, which is probably why you were trying to eat the Apple in the first place.

So how is rape and a doughnut the same? I have never raped someone nor do I plan on it. But we have to start understanding decision making in moments of arousal. Like the Doughnut you really wanted to eat the apple. You had been doing it for weeks. But today something changed, it “wasn’t who you are.” You were put in a scenario not normal to your everyday routine. You rationalized your decision process to make eating the Doughnut ok.

There are many circumstances where rape follows similar pathways in decision making. I am not justifying the actions of rapist or suggestion that it is a good thing, but what I am saying is at that exact moment, the rapist made a choice. The choice, to them, was the right thing to do. Anger, Love, Fear, Sex have huge effects on decisions we make. These states of arousal lead many people to make decisions that afterward others would say, “that wasn’t who you are.”

So if eating a doughnut was the right thing to do and rape was technically the right thing to do, then so must these shootings. Even if premeditated and planned, at the moment of execution the activity was still the right thing to do. The person made a choice, no different than the doughnut. They took all of their previous experiences, knowledge and potential outcomes and still arrived at the conclusion that what they were doing was right.

Being an outsider and looking at a scenario we cannot understand or justify someone’s actions, especially when they kill someone. “How could someone do that?” This phrase is common and is all over Twitter, Facebook and every other social channel. At this very moment you and I cannot even fathom a way to understand how an individual could make a choice to ends someone’s life. I, for the life of me, can’t find a way to make that decision the right decision, but for that person and in that moment we have to understand, for them it was the right decision.

If we start looking at these scenarios from a decision making process, I think it might help us make better decisions. The Milgram experiment is prime example of someone trying to understand the decision making processes. We need more studies like this. We need to understand how shooting someone or a group of people has become the right decision. We need to start to understand what influences trigger states of arousal and then educate people how to recognize when they are in these states and teach behaviors to change decisions back to what a person would normally do, when not in these situations.

I want to repeat that in no way do I believe raping or shooting people is acceptable, but I do know that I love doughnuts. I do recognize that even I have and will make decisions when in a state of arousal that I would never have made when not in those conditions. My heart breaks for rape and shooting victims, but it equally breaks for the perpetrators of these crimes, because I can’t figure out what happened for them to say “Shooting these people is the right thing to do.”