Wednesday, May 18, 2022 |
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Another day of sorrow; time to act
The poet Auden wrote “For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?”
Thomas Wolfe is even less hopeful when he wrote “Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?”
We all seek some form of identity generally within a frame work of acceptable interactive social relationships, however those who react as the shooter yesterday have a compelling need to be recognized. Too often, as in this occasion, if that need is unmet they react in an overt, significant manner.
Misfit, misunderstood, miscreant mystery none of these label explain tragedies as this one. Self centered, self absorbed, self prompted, angry, alienated, emotionally labile and unstable does.
They do show some signs that are of predictive of explosive, destructive behavior. They are those who reflect, among many behavioral cues, “You have no idea how I feel” or show an unusual reactive anger to what others feel. Isolated, marginalized now in their own separate world-self directed- feeling superior, and imbued by a consuming focused hatred of that which has confronted their needs, belief, sins, failures, error or defeat they react with one self confirming act.
This type of reaction will be replicated with minor variation until we recognize and take steps to assist the me and only me “self entitled, callous, shallow affect, and emotionally reactive “Now “ individual.
They are not those who have experienced a period of youthful disenchantment while evaluating the continual input stream of life options.
They are those who have developed a level of narcissism or faulty self serving interpretations that shut out the usual customary, external corrections a normal environment provides .This number is increasing .
We have called a small percentage of our population sociopathic or psychopathic and generally felt helpless to design or implement a successful strategy to treat them. The many I speak of are not just of that psychiatric definition. They compose a much larger group. We have a cold, shallow restless non empathetic demanding personality developing that is unlike by number and intensity yet seen.
Gun control may lower the number killed but this ugly end of the continuum of behavior is widening and worsening. Acts of this nature will without active factual intervening programs put in place, get more frequent. We can significantly lower the number of events of this nature, but lip service alone won’t help.
Ronald John, Sandy, Utah
the author sounds like he is describing the #45 president!
Thank you Ronald! This is a well written and reflective letter that everyone should read more than once! You did leave out the influence of Hollywood and video games that give rewards for the number of people you can kill in less time, but these horrible role models for our youth only exacerbate the Social misfit and psychotic individuals that exist perhaps for other family breakdown consequences
“Gun control may lower the number killed . . .”? Ronald, your otherwise cogent letter gave short shrift to the ONLY way we will be able to gain some control over this epidemic of mass slaughter — starting with (1) an immediate ban on assault weapons and (2) the making of owning assault weapons, like the AR-15, illegal for private citizens. The Republican Party’s solution of “thoughts and prayers” has yet to stop a bullet.
The population that you speak of is highly enticed by the promise of notoriety, and these types of behaviors have blossomed as we in society have highlighted them and centralized them in public conversation.
Tragically, because of the ways that people talk after school violence events, extremely few remember the victims or the real life issues that those victims faced, much less their views or the things that were of concern to them.
Instead, the victims’ identities, lives and struggles get co-opted by others, however those others wish, for their own ends and according to their own agenda. The victims are thus silenced and turned into media and political fodder.
Instead of knowing the victims, most remember the event, or more importantly, the commentary about the event, and perhaps the school name, but mainly, they remember the perpetrator and the act of violence. This transforms the perpetrator into a central societal figure, who everyone is talking about, as the victims become marginalized and incidental.
The perpetrator gets to move the nation and to impact policy by his or her actions. That turns a weak figure into a super power figure.
In the quest for sensational contents, and in order to seize sociopolitical opportunities, prominent leaders, media and other social voices have created and reinforced the monster role of the school murderer. They, and we who consume those events or use them as support for our sociopolitical agenda, have strengthened and reinforced the school murderer monster role repeatedly, and given that monster power over others in a multitude of ways.
In doing so, we all have made school violence an easy path for a disturbed person to making him/herself prominent and memorable, and to have the power to turn those around him or her into mere media fuel. This grants the school murderer power to eclipse and erase the voices, views and memories of others, who he or she might despise, in addition to taking their lives.
If we wish to diminish the power of the school murderer, we need to stop hanging our collective hats on him/her. We need to silence the perpetrator, grant him/her no power or prominence, and focus solely on the persons of the victims.
Erase the prominence and erase the power. Erase the power and erase the behavior.
“Social misfit and psychotic individuals,” huh? Ruthann Jones has it exactly right: the letter writer sounds like he is describing President Trump.
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