Everybody's always gotta blame someone or something for everything. They can't just say, such and such happened, and we're sorry that it did, and we'll pray for those it happened to, but we've just got to move on. They have to say this caused it and so did this and those things are bad bad bad and we have to get rid of them. Finding scapegoats is easy, and oh so self-righteous and sanctimonious in its outcome. But it has never worked and it never will. Neither will ignoring other parts of these incidents that you know are true. It seems I've been getting in discussions alot lately on things like this so I decided to put some thoughts up here. Oh, well. I guess I'm just tired of being labeled as a potential killer and "at-risk" kid, because a couple of real psychos did something stupid and happen to like some of the same things I and my friends do.
- "Someone I was talking to said that the scorn was probably mostly in the minds of the killers in Colorado and not really as bad as it was made out to be, and that the interviews he heard from the average classmate said more like, "They weren't a gang, I knew most of them and they were pretty ordinary kids." Well, in school (esp. Jr. High), alot of my classmates would have said the same thing about me, especially to an adult, but that doesn't mean that I didn't get hell from them most of the time. Just because a kid doesn't say, "yeah, they were freaks we made fun of them constantly," doesn't mean that it didn't happen.
- There were times when I seriously considered killing myself to get away from them, and sometimes I still can't figure out what stopped me. I could easily have pulled the same thing as the guys in Colorado, but I didn't. There were guns in my house, not locked up, and I knew where the ammo was and had been taught at an early age how to shoot (and am a pretty good shot if I do say so), but I never considered that, maybe it's a girl thing, but as much of a tomboy as I've always been, I like to think that it's more the fact that I was taught that that is not what guns are for, and that violence is not the answer. My parents did a damn good job. I fear I'm just labeling another scapegoat, but it seems to me that the only way to halfway prevent things like this is to have parents who teach their children well. If a parent instills a good sense of right and wrong, and an understanding of what is and what is not acceptable in society, along with responsibility for one's actions and a few other things, the child will carry these things with them for the rest of their life. Given these basics, they may in later life form opinions contrary to those of their parents in many areas, but they are still not likely to turn into killers. There is one case where this is not so. If a teen is mentally ill, then no amount of good teaching and intentions from their parents when they were young will make a difference. I think that this is the category that the guys from Littleton, Colorado fall into. In these cases, it is pointless to blame the parents, they did their best. If your computer's missing some keys, no matter how long you type, some things just aren't gonna come out right. That's why I said it's the only way to half-way prevent things like this.
- A friend of mine on a discussion board said "I think that one of the major problems promoting an increase in such behavior, including black trenchcoats, pierced noses, multiple tattoos, and all the really bizarre stuff going on is that we are, as a society, tolerating it, even praising it as "diversity," being non-judgmental, trying to build up the self-esteem of the psychos." No. These people are not psychos. I have many friends, both IRL and online who dress Goth, have piercing, multiple tattoos, and etc, and none of them are psychos or even close. These are not the warning signs that everyone should be looking for. Most Goth, etc people that I know are some of the most intelligent, well read, creative, non- and anti-violent, kind, friendly people I know. My fiance was always the type who had to work to fit in in high school and he has commented on the fact that he isn't quite sure how to react to my friends at college, not because of how they look or because they treat him badly but just the opposite, because they accepted him loudly and totally the first time they met him, no questions asked, no walls because of differences of religion, dress, speech or anything else. Guess what, they're the "psychos." 4 or 5 have their tongues pierced, two have their eyebrows pierced, one guy has (I think) 7 piercings (four below the neck that I'm not even going to get into), a couple have their hair dyed funny shades of blue or orange, several are tattooed and I'm not the only one that has a tendency to dress in black (including trenchcoats). Yet my fiance didn't know how to deal with them because they were the ONLY people he's ever run into who were unconditionally NICE.
- If you do not classify any of the above as diversity and say that it shouldn't be allowed, what's safe? It's not a far cry from disallowing all kinds of other "unwanted" aspects of society, and just when I thought we were getting a little better about stuff like this. It's not too far from snuffing out homosexuality, alternate or non -religion and a whole slew of other things because they are choices that a person makes, and the majority happens to be on the other side. And by the way since some of those are the things that aren't accepted too well now anyway I'd like to point out that among my friends at school (both high school and college) there are Wiccans, atheists, Daoists, etc and gay straight and bi people among other things that would make people usually single them out. We don't. I think that counts as another point for the "psychos."
- Music does not make kids go out and kill people. The Internet does not incite such behavior and movies and TV shows are not the source of the problem we seem to be having with young people and violence. If they were wouldn't there be an increase in youth violence at the same time as such "violent imagery" in the media has increased, and as Web use, cable TV use, movie attendance, and the listening to rap and other such "violence inciting" forms of music have all increased. Of course there would, but this hasn't happened. Teen crime isn't rising: it's falling. In fact, it's way down, at its lowest levels since the Great Depression. Federal agencies and academics that study this sort of thing have found little or no connection between murders and the media, digital, or otherwise. It seems that we always have to have a scapegoat, and recently the media has been it. All the commotion and trying to ban certain things is no different than the burning of books because you don't like an idea portrayed within it. TV, music, and the Internet do not corrupt our society. They reflect it. Want to find the most violent show on TV? Look up the time for the local or national news in your area. What makes these worse, is that everything portrayed there is true. Any 10-year-old with sense can tell you that all the other shows on TV are make-believe, but the news is real. And why is the news so violent? Because our society is that violent. If our society were not that way, and if that wasn't what the people wanted to hear about, all of that simply would not be on the news. For the same reasons, it wouldn't be on the rest of TV or anything else either. If (and that's a big if) any from of media has anything to do with these tragedies, it is journalism. That's simply because kids who are already mentally ill and or thinking of doing such things see the giant media craze that comes with each and every one of these tragedies and says, "there's a way to go out with a bang and have people talking about me for years." That's not to say that there should be a giant cover-up every time something like this happens, just that it needs to be toned down a lot.
- (Last one, I promise) The true psychos aren't all going to band together into an identical group of quasi-clones that have the exact same characteristics, especially silly things like the way they dress or do their hair. It's been said before that one of the scariest parts of madness is its (sometimes) ability to blend in so well with the sane. This is just shown by the fact that classmates of the guys in Colorado thought that they were "pretty ordinary kids." There are warning signs though, and it's not the things mentioned above. It's also not a tendency toward violent movies and video games, unless they're equating the violence with people in real life, like "hey did you see that shot, that's what I want to do to so and so." It's things like kids threatening to kill other kids and I don't mean when they yell it when they get in a fight, kids do that all the time and don't mean it. What I'm talking about is when a kid calmly states it as fact in regular conversation, and does so more than once over a relatively long period of time. Then you get worried. Also, when a kid makes a website about it, or a movie (especially one for class, Hello!!!) or something else that takes some good time and effort. You start to wonder how people don't notice these things and have to think that they just don't care, and then you realize that that's half the problem.