Apr. 17th, 2009

dslartoo: (Deus Ex)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ceruleanst and a few others I don't recall for passing this along. Ten years after the Columbine High school shootings by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, it turns out pretty much the entire story the media fed us at the time was, well, not so much the truth.

The public was led to believe that Harris and Klebold were loners, on antidepressants, that they targeted jocks, blacks and Christians, were influenced by violent videogames, and most of all that they were bullied into retaliation -- that their killing spree was the "last straw" response to their being relentlessly tormented.

The new picture? Quite a bit different. Both the kids had bullying tendencies themselves. They weren't part of the Trench Coat Mafia and they weren't on antidepressant meds. They didn't target anyone in particular -- instead they targeted EVERYONE. Harris, we now find, was a cold-blooded psychopath who was described as "smart" and "charming". Deceptively polite, he hid his psychopathic tendencies and God complex behind a pleasing exterior that seemed to fool everyone. Klebold, it now seems, was little more than Harris's flunky. He had his own serious mental problems -- anxious and withdrawn, he was also almost suicidally depressed and paranoid -- but he felt lovelorn, drawing hearts in his journals while Harris was drawing swastikas.

Both of these kids had severe psychological problems that should have been recognized and treated before they boiled over. But they weren't bullied into this and didn't snap overnight. They planned and calculated for more than a year, coldly deciding how best to kill as many people as they could. Their rage wasn't focused on "their tormentors", it was a carpet-bombing approach aimed at EVERYONE -- they had hoped to kill thousands.

What's really frightening, notes Dave Cullen (the author of Columbine, a new book about the attack): Eric Harris was financing what could well have been the biggest domestic terrorist attack on U.S. soil on wages from a part-time job at a pizza parlor. Had he been given a few more years and time to build up funds, he could have become another Timothy McVeigh and killed the thousands he wanted instead of just the 13 who died that day.

So. I hope people will recognize this now for what it was: the lashing out of two kids who had deep psychological problems but weren't freaks or geeks who were bullied into what they did. They weren't motivated by hatred of religion and they weren't pushed into it by playing violent videogames or listening to rock and roll. I wrote once, years ago, that I could sympathize with Harris and Klebold's blind wish to strike back against their tormentors -- I was the victim of lots of horrid bullying in middle school, till I took up martial arts and put a stop to that -- but now I'm ashamed that I fell for the image the media gave us just like everyone else.

Food for thought.

-- END OF LINE --

[[The Oracle would like to know if you've known anyone who was a real victim of bullying.]]

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Phil C.

April 2011

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