While America is still trying to make sense of the Aurora, CO shootings, what many people do not know is that there is a local connection to it. Akron native Calli Richards, a four-year veteran of the Navy, was injured protecting her mother from gunfire. A nation mourns yet again for another gun related tragedy, and today, James Holmes was charged for murder and 114 counts of aggravated assault. As a nation, we look at what caused the perpetrator to act, what was going through his head, and how he came to be that way leading to this incident. Some of us point to mental health, as obviously he was not in the best one. Some of us point to guns, and while stricter laws would have prevented this tragedy, obviously no one wants to discuss it openly and proactively. But, with every tragedy like this, one of the things we forget to look at is our very culture. Usually, when people point at culture, they immediately point to entertainment, and while television, films, and music do influence society, often they simply reflect it back. The culture to look at is our own, as we ask the question, what makes someone snap?
In the 1960 film Psycho, every character in the film appears to be near the breaking point in the beginning. Starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, and John McIntire, Simon Oakland, and Frank Albertson, we see characters tested as soon as the title credits end. After a romantic night with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis( Gavin), Marion Crane(Leigh) finds out that he needs some money so they can break out of their lives and be together. Marion considers this strongly as she heads to work. When asked to deposit money for a cilent at the firm where she works as a secretary, she decides to steal the 40,000 dollars and flee to Sam’s house in California. On the way, she stops to sleep, but is caught sleeping on the highway by a patrol officer, who is suspicious of her agitated behavior. He follows her to a car dealership, where she switches cars. As soon as she gets in the car, a heavy rainstorm keeps her from getting to California, so she pulls over to the Bates Motel to rest and to avoid the patrolman following her. Once there, she meets the owner, Norman Bates(Perkins), who tells her he rarely gets patrons being so far away from the highway and that he lives with his mother in the house above the motel. He then invites her to dinner. While she gets ready, she overhears him arguing with his mother about his interest in Marion, and as he is apologetic during dinner, Marion mentions institutionalizing her. After dinner, she decides to return to Phoenix and repay the money, and tears up the notes before taking a shower. The rest is cinematic history, see it to find out how everything resolves itself.
What makes someone snap? Many reasons, mostly due to psychology and circumstance. But, what makes the snapped person run to a gun to solve their problems? That we will have to ponder.