Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Perpetrator as Victim, Too

This is a note from a young, thoughtful man who has a lot of significance to say. To understand the minds of our youth, it is important to listen to them. So read this:
I'm dead tired of them demonizing the shooters. People fail to see the shooter himself as a victim as well. A victim of exclusion, bullying, beatings, ridicule and being ignored. The most frustrating thing is that I can relate to these shooters. I feel like every time they criticise them they indirectly criticise me. Another very frustrating thing is that they dodge the issue of ignorance. If I go to someone for help, and they criticise, ignore or admonish me, will I bother? I got lucky there were no firearms readily available and just got forced to quit school. I wonder if only two students who had it coming ended up on the news, what would people say? Poor guys, boo-hoo, nice guys, what a shame. How about a couple witnesses saying that they pushed him too far, they had it coming. It's no different than silencing the protests to the war on Iraq. They only keep one side of the story. Then you hear the typical opinion of a prof. of psychology. My mom and dad still maintain that it was my fault that I "quit" school. I've still got that beef with them. They didn't help much. But Mr. [xxx] (principal of [xxxx]) is still in my black books. I still want him dead, I just don't want to do it myself. I need to speak out about the FACT that the SHOOTER was VICTIMISED without being told how insensitive and mean and evil I am. I want to save lives. I want bullies to get expelled on the first offence and sent to juvie for assault and harassment like any other criminal. Once you can't get away with something, people don't do it as much. Then comes the problems of popular kids sticking up for popular kids, getting bullies off the hook or other kids (maybe 12 of them) saying YOU'RE a bully and getting YOU expelled. How come a kid can break another kid's arm and watch him scream with a smile on his face, before some other kid gets a teacher. If you can resolve the REAL problem (bullies, ignorance etc.) you won't usually have to deal with the RESULT (the shootings) as often. I want to do something about this. Any ideas?

Written by Emerson MacIntosh.

How is it that a 24 year old understands this, but our politicians and pundits can't seem to wrap their heads around it?

It's extremely hard to grow up in this hyper-individualized super-paced and highly complex world. The widening poverty/wealth gap, isolation, bullying, pressure to conform, child abuse, pressure to succeed, and a culture of violence have their effects on the children who will one day be the adults running the world.

If we insist on fearing and pathologizing the emotions and behaviour that are an inevitable result of the society we live in, we only alienate these kids even more. Is it any wonder that depression, eating disorders, partner violence, binge drinking, and drug abuse are common among kids and young adults?

One example: anger. Our society doesn't demonstrate healthy ways of dealing with anger, a normal natural emotion. Kids learn either that anger is bad and shouldn't be felt, or they learn that anger is best expressed through violence (at least if they watch TV - and I'm not even talking about Rambo, watching a White House press conference is enough to give that message).

Also on the Virginia Tech massacre

1 comment:

TomCat said...

RJ, I do volunteer work with prisoners. Sadly it's all to common that abuse victims fail to develop the skills needed to nurture themselves and compulsively seek to overcome the powerlessness they feel by becoming abusers themselves. Excellent post.