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The Broken View of Child Shooters

A child walks into a school and begins shooting people and the first official response to this, in terms of discourse, is gun control.

No one seems to want to understand why the kid decided to shoot other kids, what drove them to it, and how we fix that issue. That person get's stamped as a crazy person and then gun control is flagged around for the next two weeks. Reactionary kids hold marches and parades, bright-eyed and fierce, full of their own impassioned beliefs and convictions as most kids are.

I'm no psychologist, but when you sit on it for a few, why is the "gun" focused on so much in these scenarios? I think it's the least important feature. The real problem is why did the kid decide to shoot other kids? What drove him to it. Mental illness? That's often cited as an excuse and I'm sure the pharmaceuticals would agree, but plenty of other kids suffer from the same thing, but they don't go around shooting or stabbing or killing people singly or in mass. I think we assume the person must be crazy because they did a crazy thing, but crazy things are often quite rational things lacking context.

One of my thoughts was that while I don't condone the actions or reactions of the shooter, I don't believe the shooter is always a monster or scumbag, but could have been, himself, the victim of months or years of abuse that for whatever reason went unchallenged to the point where they were pushed over the edge. After the shooting you will get the tears and the sympathy for the victims and the general hatred of the shooter, but I don't think this is honest or fair because we simply don't know the situation. In fact, the shooter could have been the victim of bullies who maybe didn't use excessive physical force, but could have caused a great deal of emotional and psychological carnage in the cruel and sometimes vicious way kids can. The very same kids who are crying and are shell-shocked could have been a part of that abuse. Have you ever had to deal with an a-hole who refused to stop being one until you punched him in the face, and then he's shocked and crying and calling for help because you hurt him? After months or years of their crap, you retaliate and now you are in trouble because you responded with visible, physical force to abuse that has been scarring you for such a long time?

This abuse is magnified when the adults and/or the people of last resort that such a child is supposed to turn to are either unsympathetic or unresponsive. Plenty of kids react violently under situations less intense than this. Plenty of adults do, as well. But what bridges the gap between these actions and a kid shooting up his school? Out of all the kids who suffer similar conditions or even worse conditions, why do these very, very few decide to grab a gun and shoot people? Why don't we talk about the ones who commit suicide instead, or resort to something as hideous?

It's my belief that the politics of gun control has seized upon and made a giant straw man of child shooters. I am no conservative and I am no liberal and I'm disgusted by people who approach situations from either of those angles. I simply think of the situation and say...why aren't we talking about the social and psychological conditions that would obviously be the reason for these shootings. How is removing the guns the best thing to focus on in school shootings rather than solving the sociological sewage that underwrites it? What's the real weapon here? What's really hurting these kids, our people, our country? Do guns whisper murder into the ears of kids at night? Are they, despite all appearances, as sentient as they are diabolical?

This is not a pro-gun argument. It's really about the kid that was affected. The gun argument effectively ignores the kids. Uses them and the tragedy and, if you must insist on it, both sides of the political aisle use this tragedy to their own ends while both claim to protecting some facet of sacrosanct public safety, security, and/or rights. I know this is the cheesiest line from over a decade ago, but in this case where everyone claims to be thinking about the kids...think about the kids.


I think you've made a few excellent points! Teachers sometimes join in with "teasing", or are abusive themselves. And the Zero Tolerance stance is a contributing factor. I saw a YouTube video that showed one girl sitting on another one, punching her in the face while students gathered around. Just before staff finally arrived, the girl on the ground pushed on the face of her assailant. Result? Both girls were suspended for fighting. Zero Tolerance encourages children to be victims, helpless, and just hope the adults intervene. What's needed is a civilized way to empower students.
the short answer to you post, not the problem obviously, is tell the to the parents of the dead.
Yes there is sense in what you say. There are some seriously hurt and abused young people out there but in a world that's awash with drugs and alcohol, to mention but two, how ? I mean, what is the answer ?
There's no quick fix here.
A ban on guns ? In a country that's awash with those too? Yeah right.
I think I've had problems over years and really, when put it into perspective, some might say I've live a charmed life compared to some. But I know how it feels to hate the world. Seriously.
Some how those guys just seem to slip through the net and it really is a tragedy.

Respect to you for speaking about this.
I hadn't seen J.A.O.T.'s post. Just realised we posted at the same time.

Some of the teachers I had in my final years of schooling were real sadists and to feel so isolated and rejected at such an age is devastating.
To be honest,
In the modern me me me world, nobody has the time to deal with such issues I think.
Congrats on being the first person here (at least that I've seen) to share my opinion on this and write a blog post, kamino.

The problem will manifest itself with another hydra head, and several more after that, if you just ban the guns. Firearms that could pragmatically be used to injure / murder dozens of people in a very brief span of time have been around, and have been widely available, since at least the ~1950's if memory serves me right. Theoretically we would've been seeing back then the same thing we're seeing now, but we don't, because the problem isn't guns needing an exorcism. It's psychological and cultural.
A good, brave post that touches on some uncomfortable truths.

Of course it is a tragedy that large numbers of kids are frequently getting shot. It's unconscionable. It shouldn't be happening. But as you say no-one seems to want to discuss the mechanics of how it comes to pass. Whether it's banning guns or insufficient religious teaching in schools, people want memorable one word answers that you can silk-screen onto a t-shirt or append to a hashtag, but that appetite is pretty nefarious in my view because it discourages looking at the deeper issues. It says "I stand with these people and that's that." Well, that's not that. And we know that's not the end of the matter because these events continue to happen. Both those factors and more may well nudge things one way or another but they are too symptomatic to be all that useful. Why are these shooters feeling the urge to shoot bullets into their fellows? Has anyone ever asked, I wonder, why the average shooter seems to be male. What analysis is there to compare any disproportion in school shooters and male suicide figures? What mechanic in society is failing to diffuse them before they go off? What are the demographics in these areas like? Are they rich areas? Poor? Is there much inequality? An awful lot of this stuff feeds into crime.
Didn't the Santa Fe TX shooter first target a girl who had rejected him? (article)

Sadie Rodriguez said her daughter Shana Fisher had endured "four months of problems from this boy".
"He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no," she told the Los Angeles Times.

Did you read the about the Texas guy who recently shot and killed his ex-wife's new boyfriend, their three children, and himself? (May)

Did you know that the estranged wife of the Texas church shooter (most deaths for a mass shooting in Texas -- do we now keep track of that record by state?) often attended that church.
dither;bt12899 said:
I hadn't seen J.A.O.T.'s post. Just realised we posted at the same time.

Some of the teachers I had in my final years of schooling were real sadists and to feel so isolated and rejected at such an age is devastating.

I had a teacher for English and Reading for three very long years as a child. She kept me after school the first day to tell me that in every family there's a problem child, and since I was the youngest, and my siblings had all been "good", the problem child in my family had to be me. And she treated me as a problem.

So I know how difficult it can be to have a problem teacher! How they get the jobs, and keep the jobs, is something I don't understand. But they exist. And the children have little recourse! If they have good, caring parents, there might be something that can be done, but too often even caring parents don't have time, these days, to take action.

I have no idea what the solution is, just agree there's a problem.
thousands kill themselves quietly and sum just want the world to burn when they go for it...some after relaize they never had what it takes to kill themselves
I often feel sympathy for the shooters too. We need more we'll trained counselors in schools, not more security guards.
It certainly is a tough one tinacrab.
We're all stressed, or should I say " distressed " ? to varying degrees and we all react in different ways.
I've worked in adult and juvenile corrections. Some people are broken. Some get broken at an early age. How to prevent that is the $1,000,000 question.
A couple of things are certain. Fixing the broken can be a Herculean task. And not all the broken souls are obvious.

The United States has a societal problem. My heart is too heavy to even discuss all the proposed "fixes". One thing is for sure: We need less yelling, finger-pointing, anger, politics and one-upmanship. We need to focus on our children.

I left adult corrections to go work in juvenile hall. I left juvenile hall after seeing too many "graduate" to adult corrections. It leaves scars on your heart.
I suppose it's never too late. I'm just so very tired.

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