Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Virginia Tech Gunman was Bullied

I found this news article:
I'm not surprised. Most school shootings appear to be done by someone who was bullied or otherwise mistreated in school.
Here's a wiki about school shootings:
And here's one about a kid who shot his principal:
Here's one analyzing patterns in school shootings:

It seems pretty clear that a risk factor for school shootings is school trauma.
In my opinion, risk factors for violence can be divided into two groups - experiences and psychological traits.
Experiences include abuse, school trauma and other traumas.
Psychological trais include violent fantasies, collecting weapons, obsession with death, and being full of hatred and powerlessness.
People like this need help.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Trouble is, and speaking from nasty personal experience (plus knowing other past-victims) -- "help" is never what is really needed. The real "help" we needed wasn't to sit around talking about how angry we are, or learn how not to be angry when beat up, but rather for the abuse to stop in the first place. (How To Create A School Shooter is an excellent blog post on the topic.)

In my case, during the abusive period, I was privately (away from the bullies) extremely angry, constantly in violent fights at home or writing/drawing serious violence -- I was acting out what was being done to me! Once the attacks stopped, there was a kind of adjustment period where I was very withdrawn, putting (cartoonish, in my case) violence/anger in my creative work, often involving people around me even if I liked them. (From reading books on severe childhood trauma, that kind of reaction is totally normal and healthy.) After spending a couple of years essentially learning that my classmates/teachers weren't going to hit, grab, grope, taunt, or threaten me -- they were very friendly and accepting, in fact -- I relaxed and went back to being myself.

What really, really needs to be done is for bullying to not happen -- but when it does, for it to stop quickly (mine was only at the two-year junior high school) and to continue more like mine did. Trouble is, often the next school also contains sadistic/unempathetic adults that increase and join in the torment.

I think a lot of people are forgetting that the "killer" kids aren't the only victims that have a dangerous 'crash' later. A lot of them end up clinically depressed and self-harming (or anorexic) -- if things are still awful for them, eventually they make more active suicide attempts. I don't think it's a coincidence that depression (and, I read recently, anorexia?) is rampant among autistic teens/adults in particular.

So I guess you could say that I agree the victims need help -- but also that the first stage should be halting the attacks and preventing any future ones against anyone, followed by the kind of friendly environment I had the amazing luck to land in.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Ettina said...

Yeah, that's basically the only kind of help that has any hope of making a difference. Counseling and so forth can help too, but only if you stop the attacks.

8:48 AM  

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