Dec 2013, Oct 2014...
After a facebook post by one of my friends on the latest Columbine-like shooting I read some stranger's reply that went something like, "oh, and they'll probably blame it on how he was bullied..." That made me want to go Columbine...or at least reply "you don't know WTF you're talking about!"
I hate to cite USA Today for important facts but those were two troubled kids:
The killings ignited a national debate over bullying, but the record now shows Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold hadn't been bullied — in fact, they had bragged in diaries about picking on freshmen and "fags."
Doesn't mean they both weren't bullied at some time and evolved from there. Kids that were abused can go on to abuse their kids (or maybe now I'm the one touting some common myth I know nothing about). The most relevant "ingredient" to the Columbine massacre that the article doesn't even go into was the rare dyadic relationship that formed a deadly duo.
A look at this short video is enough to see that they weren't subdued victims who finally exploded. I'm not sufficiently interested in waging into the demented minds of killers to buy the book.
More at, Don’t Jump to Conclusions About the Killer, New York Times.
Then there's Jimmy James. Could he fit the bill? It's a strange case targeting random strangers with not much preceding. He was going through something which led to disinterest and failing out of school, and then (unless you're a fan of government conspiracies) went on his rampage. Whatever the case "his smile and silly jokes were gone."
Before Gunfire, Hints of ‘Bad News’, New York Times
Accused Colorado kiler no easy fit for mass murderer profile, New York Times
What I am interested in here is the minds of the bullied.
In my first research into the effects of bullying the general conclusion without explaining why is this:
“We were surprised at how profoundly bullying affects a person’s long-term functioning,” said lead author William E. Copeland, PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University. “This psychological damage doesn’t just go away because a person grew up and is no longer bullied. This is something that stays with them.”
What is being bullied? For one thing when it's finally over you don't think about it or the bullies too much. When it's going on you likely don't tell (or at least initiate telling unprodded, and most go unprodded). You don't get help because you didn't tell. Years later it's not something you tell your friends about because it seems so trivial, and your good friends may confirm this if they happen to detect signs of it in you by saying something like, "awe, did you get picked on when you were a kid?" smiling amiably.
Being bullied is this:
Even I had to laugh at the attention brought to this, a fairly mild incident with barely any physical contact, one time, to an adult (I found out later it happened previously as well). And then she got $700k for it!
But take that day in and day out starting at about age 11 and take that for years. And it's not just that little possie. The other kids around them are laughing. If there's a sympathetic look, it's missed. And there's more at recess or any place out of the classroom from others. Lord of the Flies.
So while many may know what it's like to be "picked on", or remember that time they were made fun of and had their feelings hurt, far fewer understand this. It's not a very violent thing. It may not even leave a physical mark unlike one good real fight, but it's not just what was endured for some thousand days and then some. It's trying to go unnoticed in the hallways. It's isolation. It's trying to figure out why it's happening to you. And most of all it's what was missed. It's missing all those fledgling relationships most go through at adolescence whether it be comradery with the same sex or flirting with the opposite before you even know what flirting is, where you learn what can't be taught by school and books even if it is in school. It's failing to realy become encultured.
Small, fat, gay, deformed,... different. All "reasons" to be targetted.