Are we safe anywhere? The latest school shooting in Parkland, Fla., north of Miami, made me realize once again now vulnerable we all are to the possibility of people who live in other realities ending ours. Where the unreal, the manias, the delusional, and the illogical penetrate the all-too-real barriers we erect around ourselves, we can die. The absurd violence that keeps occurring in this country because of its lack of gun control marks the triumph of the virtual over the real, aided by technology that has escaped the bounds of the human and a breakdown of our education and information culture.

At the core of gun violence is the intersection of paranoid alternative realities that let us live in a world of our choosing, and technology that expands human capabilities so much that we can no longer control either its production or its effects. Shooters construct a cocoon in which they are the aggrieved heroes and then use automatic rifles to destroy the reality in which the rest of us live. They exclude themselves, often physically, but certainly mentally and socially, while they plot their revenge against a world they think excludes them.

At the core of gun violence is the intersection of paranoid alternative realities that let us live in a world of our choosing, and technology that expands human capabilities so much that we can no longer control either its production or its effects.