Blaming victims for the creation of a victim
31 March 2018
Ever since a former student went into his Florida high school and killed 17 people earlier this year, the United States has been scrambling for answers—the world has been scrambling for answers.
For some, this came in the form of increased gun control. President Trump noted gory video games and media as possible causes of violence. Meanwhile, others cited increased security and a better police response as ways this tragedy could’ve been stopped and how future shootings could be prevented.
No matter what solution you think is most valid, however, it should be noted that we all care. To say that gun proponents just want to protect their guns is plainly wrong. To say that gun control advocates just want to push their agenda is wrong too. We all care about the issue, but we have different ideas regarding the best way to solve it that results in the least amount of new issues being presented.
What I think most will agree on is that mental health played a significant factor in this shooting and previous ones. Anyone who would even think about shooting their former classmates—murdering fellow human beings—clearly doesn’t have their mental state in proper working order.
We can all agree that the Parkland shooter had severe psychological issues, but our ideas on what caused that damage are anything but ubiquitous.
When it comes to school shooters, many are led to believe that it was bullying which brought these young men to harbour such violent rage against their school and fellow students.
Indeed, it’s a sound conclusion to draw from situations like these, where retaliation and vengeance are the most likely motivators of a teenager who seeks to kill other teenagers whom they know. Combine that with the issue of mental health, and bullying becomes a reasonable assumption for why school shooters are created.
Anyone who has been bullied knows what it’s like to wish only the worst upon your bully. If self-hate doesn’t breed, it’s hatred of everyone else.
From that, we begin to look down upon the survivors of a school shooting, seeing them as partly to blame for the forming of a damaged psyche.
But that’s wrong—really wrong.
It is terrible on a moral level to blame the relatively light actions of a few children for the deaths of numerous at the hands of a criminal individual. More importantly, however, we should know that the end of bullying will not be the end of school shootings or the unstable men who conduct them.
One of the biggest myths surrounding the Columbine High School massacre is that its perpetrators were innocent teens turned violent by the hardships they faced at home and in school, bullied by the usual cliques that characterise student life, including jocks, hot girls, rich kids, etc.
This is a lie and one that has persisted throughout all school shootings.
In his diary, one of the Columbine shooters wrote, ‘If you recall your history the Nazis came up with a “final solution” to the Jewish problem… kill them all. well incase you havent figured it out yet, I say, “K I L L M A N K I N D” no one should survive…HATE! I’m full of hate and I Love it. I HATE PEOPLE and they better f*cking fear me if they know whats good for em. yes I hate and I guess I want others to know it, yes I’m racist and I don’t mind.’
These are the scribblings of a madman. I’m not anything close to a psychologist or expert in mental health, but if you do some reading on the two killers, it’s clear that they were not victims of their society but products of their own nihilism and hatred of humanity. They saw themselves as harbingers of justice to the injustice that was mankind’s existence.
These are not beliefs that are brought about due to bullying. One of the shooters, in particular, was a textbook psychopath, with a kind demeanour that hid a cold, calculating figure with the potential for mass homicide.
If you want to hear more about the motivations which drive school shooters, I highly recommend this excerpt from Dr. Jordan Peterson’s latest book, where he describes the nihilistic mindset many of these types of people find themselves in.
At this time, we’re not absolutely sure what specifically—if anything—drove the Parkland shooter to commit his act of evil. But even if the shooter were to say that it was social isolation, teasing, and bullying, those are not at all justifications for what he did, and the students should not be held accountable for what occurred.
As written by one survivor in the New York Times, ‘This deeply dangerous sentiment, expressed under the #WalkUpNotOut hashtag, implies that acts of school violence can be prevented if students befriend disturbed and potentially dangerous classmates…It is not the obligation of children to befriend classmates who have demonstrated aggressive, unpredictable or violent tendencies.’
The idea that a school shooter is born from the environment they attack is false. We need to dispense with the notion that a little bit of compassion and love from their classmates would’ve turned these murderous individuals into everyday human beings.
In most of these cases, it is the aggression that causes social isolation rather than the social isolation that causes the aggression.
School shootings won’t end with bullying, because school shooters are the amalgamation of numerous beliefs and traits which characterise evil.