Why do Americans want to kill themselves and each other?


Well, so apparently this phenomenon of young men taking guns or cars or some form of weaponry and going on a rampage, intentionally slaughtering as many people as they can for no [immediately apparent] reason and then killing themselves, is not simply some anomaly–it seems to be an almost habitual occurrence, a gruesome symptom of post-modern existence. I base this conclusion on my checking of the headlines now and then, and although I am not going to compile a list of these events, it seems like it happens pretty damn often to me. Often enough so that it should be something that should be worrying us more than Al-Qaeda does. Why do these young men feel the need to destroy others before destroying themselves? It is a sickening display of monstrous intention. These acts are generally premeditated, and their targets are innocent, everyday people, only connected to the murderer by proximity.

The media and horrified parents immediately point their fingers at easy targets such as video games, music, and movies. And while it is possible that the seed of the idea of running rampant with ammo and slaughtering random people could be gleaned from such glamorized violence as depicted in popular forms of media, it is certainly a big step to make from shooting people in a video game to actually gathering arms and ammo and loading them and walking out and shooting real people. It is a step into a complex disturbance much deeper and darker than most people would care to even acknowledge exists anywhere. But, obviously, it exists. And it is affecting minds that seemingly are totally fine, they are totally “normal,” maybe a little quiet or weird. . .and then, suddenly, something happened. What happened?

Anything that could be said about what goes on in the minds of such people is all pure speculation, of course, unless I went out and interviewed a bunch of them, which would be hard given that a lot of them kill themselves in the process. So I won’t try to fathom what might have broken the camel’s back in their minds. But I do think it would be helpful to speculate on why fairly average people would want to kill each other and themselves for no apparent reason.

One thing that always frustrates me with the media and with the way people approach crimes and the criminals who commit them is that rather than trying to understand what might motivate such a crime, the criminals are written off as monsters and their heinous acts are written off as unintelligible acts of primal bestiality. But unfortunately, most people in this world, being intelligent creatures, do the things they do for some kind of reason, whether consciously intentional or not.

To me, when someone commits the crime of killing innocents in a horrific, and also extremely public, manner, it is an extreme call for help. It is a call for help so late in the game that nothing can be done except shoot them or watch them shoot themselves. And that’s just what is so horrible about it to me. These people are not monsters. They have intentionally made themselves appear as monsters in their last act of trying to connect to the outside world, and this must be because they really believe that’s what they are. But they probably know, somewhere within, that they are not such monsters, and so they feel the need to convince the world of such. That is what is horrible to me. Because there is no turning back at that point. That is a sign of such complete and utter hopeless despair.
And so I try to think about what could have made someone think that they are that horrible. Who could really think they were so horrible that they had to show all the world how horrible they were by killing other people? What would lead to such a feeling of oneself? And I think there must be some kind of feeling of impotence, obviously of rage. It has built up so much it explodes. Their only attempt to make themselves known, to be heard, to be powerful, is to kill. That is extreme and terrible and sad. And what that means to me is that something is terribly wrong with our society right now.

Crimes such as these are symptoms of something much deeper that is eating away at the core of our society. People will always kill each other, such is the sadness of humanity. But for people to kill each other in such a manner as this, that is not normal nor does it have a precedent in history as far as I know, although I don’t claim to know such histories. It seems to me to be a symptom of our society as it is right now. And something is wrong, terribly wrong. Why should people feel so outside, so monstrous, that they commit deliberately monstrous acts? When people kills themselves and other people for religious fanaticism, or under the banner of patriotism, or some such thing, at least their acts are intelligible, even if just as horrific. But why would someone just kill, just . . .to kill? And what kind of society would breed the environment of such killers?

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

48 thoughts on “Why do Americans want to kill themselves and each other?”

  1. Good Question? I have often wondered about what makes people kill. I’m to a point that I am worried about my children every second of every day!! You don’t know who to trust anymore……..It is soo sad…..I remember the good old days when you could leave your keys in your car in the driveway, leave your house unlocked, and play outside everynight and not come home till dark. Those days are long gone now!!!

  2. I don't remember those days at all, or if they ever existed, but of course, I'm still relatively young based on modern day averages of life span.
    Maybe the problem is that we have more possessions. . .we are more distinct from each other based upon what products we own. . .and now we feel the fear of having something to protect. Maybe the problem is the possessions, not us. When I feel fear, it is because I feel I have something to lose. My life. . .what is my life that I could claim possession of this? What is it that I really cannot lose except my self-possession and integrity?

  3. Its not because they feal there a monster, but mearly because as an american we are put into a position of hopeless manipulation. You watch everyone else in society screw up, and you have to pay for it. Mearly by being a succcessful citizen you have to pay for the white trash welfare recipients,The black gansters who tax are system because thats how it works and you cant change that no matter what you do. Its easy to get frustrated when your city is saturated in ignorant dumbasses who all think they know whats best for those that have no weight in governmental affairs. Achieving what hitler never did, a mass genocide, not based off religion or race, but rather intelligence and societal class would really help americans out. Its funny how individuals with intelligence are social outcasts today. Im reticuled everyday in a physics class for over analyzing things… a physics class!! Our last chance at making a difference in society is to eraticate all those that make us suffer. For we suffer everyday, what gives them the right? the right to reticule those with twice there intelligence because they think there conciented selfs are all knowing?

    Society sets the date in concrete
    the judgment day
    and then act completely innocent when an event takes place
    And blames it on everything else, because they can

  4. You are making me suffer from your horrendous spelling. Thus, you should be eradicated.

    Your own bullshit turns back upon itself. You say that it is easy to get frustrated when “your” city is saturated with “ignorant dumbasses who all think they know whats best.” You think you know what’s best?

    Try taking a good look at yourself before blaming others for your issues, son.

  5. Nice taking a shot at my spelling, when the focus is obviously elsewhere. Did i ever say i knew what was best? We can do alot better, and its frustrating being a spectator to it all. Can you honhestly say that you are satisfied with modern society? I like how you assumed i havent looked at myself, yanno if i huffed some starter fluid for a couple of weeks maye just maybe, my “issues” would go away, and id feel like everyother dumbass who resides in america. Im frustrated with the system, i will change it, you are going to fight on the looseing side, if your choice is to attack those with a differing opinion. Dont pull rank by addressing me as “son”.

  6. I took a shot at your spelling to clarify some of the logic which you used in your statement about “eradication” (which is simply that since you don’t like someone, they should be exterminated). I assume you say that you know what’s best when you are quite seriously discussing killing people simply because you view them as “dumbasses.” I called you “son,” because I am assuming that you must be quite young, high school or junior high perhaps, to harbor such obviously enraged views–but I may be wrong.
    So you’re frustrated with “the system.” Great. So how exactly do you propose changing it? By taking a gun and shooting random “dumbasses”? That’s the behavior of a rat stuck in a cage with too many other rats. Which means the “system” has won.
    You mentioned Hitler and then proceeded to say that there should be a program of genocide based on values of “intelligence and societal class.” You really expect me to take anything you say seriously when you say immature hate filled shit like that? That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. So when I tell you to take a good look at yourself, I mean that quite honestly. Take a look at yourself, your life, and your feelings, and think about what you can do to change yourself to make your life more positive, so that you don’t feel like a social outcast in your physics class. That’s the only way you’re ever going to change “the system.” Change yourself first. Then we can talk about how to change the world. Otherwise, this talk about killing people is just the same bullshit that’s been going on since day one of human existence.

  7. how do you better yourself if you don’t no how? how do you change a system if no body listens no more or cares to change it? there is no 1 person in the world that everyone can look up 2 to retrive this kind of information an i think thats 1 thing that would help society. a way of living that everyone agrees with but will it ever come. not enough people even care about this topic which is sad because as stupid as it may sound to some it cud be an issue wich could possibly in years to come mean the end of our race. its like no 1 has the ability to pull together and share or respect another persons view anymore. to put it blank if you do not agree or understand wot im trying 2 say u wud rather take the piss about my views or pick up on stupid things like my spellin rather than try an understand where im really coming from. i dont feel like a rat trapped in a system but more like a minator who thought he new his way rnd his maze but got lost.

  8. i don’t really care about your spelling, dude. it’s a minor distraction, but i recognize that whether one can spell or not is not a matter of intelligence, so i ain’t judging.

    here’s my view on society and it’s need to change, which you are correct in perceiving: unfortunately, people–being people–never change their lifestyles until they HAVE to, until circumstances are bad enough such that they are forced to re-evaluate their actions and habits. And yes, maybe it will be too late by that point for it to make much of a difference. BUT: you can’t force people to change. The ONLY one you can change is YOU, as I had said before, and that is where I believe we should all be focusing our energy on. Don’t worry about the rest of the world, because if humanity is going to kill itself, then so be it, the rest of the earth and cockroaches will continue to live on. But in the meantime, you can find out how to live a better life for yourself and those you care about. And if everyone started looking at themselves a little harder–the whole world would change.

    Obviously, all of that is a little be philosophical and vague, and you are looking for something more concrete, that you can apply RIGHT NOW to your immediate everyday life. Here’s some suggestions, just based on my own personal discovery of what helps me find stability and centering in the midst of seeming chaos: listen to mind-expanding music, as in music that doesn’t just make you feel good, but that is challenging for you; play an instrument and get good enough on it that you can jam with other people; exercise to the point where it feels good as oppposed feeling like shit; read books that you are truly interested in, that you don’t have to force yourself to read; write down your feelings and thoughts, even if you aren’t sure what they are or how to articulate them (and fuck spelling and grammar); meditate and try to think of absolutely nothing and just breathe.

    In other words, every single day of your life, take at least 15 minutes to concentrate on something that gives you meaning and allows you to vent. And then everything else might begin to work itself out. What is first and foremost important is that you find a way to express yourself. To be creative. To get input from other creative people.

    You’ve already taken the first step, obviously, because you are thinking about these issues and are aware that there is a problem. That’s a lot farther than most people are. Most people just shut the doors of their perception and numb themselves into everyday complacency and self-comforting blindness.

    Those are just some ideas, I’m not trying to tell you what to do or what to think. That’s just what’s worked for me in helping to get me out of depressive mentalities and keep me sane and moving forward. Of course, ultimately, the only one who can help you is yourself, and that’s what I’m trying to get at.

  9. The reason why people go out on rampages? There is never an easy answer to that question. Furthermore, this is not unique to Americans and anyone who thinks otherwise has a serious bias that, by itself, is indicative of hate and prejudice. A broader view reveals this to be a worldwide problem where nobody is entirely safe from such an onslaught.

    Basically, this is a difficult question to answer because we cannot seek a general answer as each incidence is based on problems on an individual basis; why one person decides to go out and commit acts of violence may be different from why another would do the same thing. Some do it because they feel they have absolutely no control over their lives and this is the one way that they can exhibit control. Others may do it because they feel superior to others and have such resentment to other people that they feel they must act for their own benefit at the expense of others. There’s many more reasons that people have acted violently, including some that are just in complete defiance of logic.

    The greater harm that follows are knee-jerk reactions to these events from people who mean good, the media, and the government. Instead of honestly evaluating the situation and coming to a logical conclusion on verifiable evidence, everybody ASSUMES why it happened, which results in a conclusion that generally ignores personal responsibility of the individual that instigated the attack in the first place and tries to apply a one-size-fits-all solution that simply does not fit since the real problem is so dynamic in the first place.

    In some cases, particularly in the case of the media and politicians, the sensationalism and knee-jerking is not done entirely for the benefit of the people but for the mere advancement of those working in the media and, especially, to advance the careers and agendas of incompetent politicians.

    Sensationalist reporting, as dangerously irresponsible that it is, sells more newspapers and gets higher ratings; more entertainment than information, and entirely for profit. Knee-jerk reactions are meant to show that the politicians are doing something about the problem, even if the solution is more of a feel-good quick-fix that really doesn’t prove effective in the long run. It looks good, which ensures votes that keep these politicians in office.

    The solution ends up placing the blame on entertainment products, such as video games or motion pictures, or on weapons. But these “solutions” only deal with the symptom and never addresses the real problem, and the real problem is almost always unique to every person who wants to commit an act of violence. But, searching for individual causes is difficult while opting for a general solution is easy. Too bad solving the world’s problems is NEVER easy.

    It has been my observation that when you concentrate on the symptom, the disease proceeds unabated. – Reinhart

  10. Nice insights, Reinhart. I feel like you stated the case much more eloquently than I. You are correct in pointing out that these are all cases of individuals, whom all have their own personal and particular life-histories leading them up to the point of destruction. However, I would like to state that although rampages are world-wide, it seems to me that this epidemic of schoolkids taking guns and walking into their schools or wherever and going on rampages is a uniquely American thing. At least, I haven’t heard of this happening on a regular basis in any other nation. And that, it seems to me, is a particularly American pathology.
    And while it is true that these are all individual cases, I do think that there is a common theme here. I think that we have to look at these symptoms as a signifier of some deeper, underlying problem in the fabric of society itself, to which these individuals are responding to, each for their own “reasons”. And I actually don’t think the problem is really all that hard to identify. Being a teenager is hard enough–add to that the fact that our society treats our own children like they are mere consumers and feeds them Taco Bell, TV, Xbox, and Hollywood, and tells them they should be immaculate and airbrushed and desirable, which of course they are not, and then compound that with the bureaucratic mess that is the public school system, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.
    And I want to stress here that I am by no means condoning the desperate actions of some deeply confused, angry, and outcast teenagers. They do, as you say, have to take personal responsibility for their actions. But here’s where I differ with most outlooks on issues of crime and violence: I feel like at some point, we ALL have to take a level of responsibility for these crimes. And what I mean by that is that rather than throwing up our hands (which you are obviously NOT doing–I’m speaking generally here) and just labeling these children as “monsters” and locking them up and throwing away the key, we need to acknowledge that there is a deeper problem, and seek to address this deeper problem, rather than simply, as you say, concentrating on the symptoms. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our communities and for our children and for our collective future. And this all ties in with caring for the environment, fighting against blind moneyed interests, and forming deeper connections with the people we live with.
    Reinhart, by the way, I’m sorry if all the above sounded like I was taking issue with your statement–I didn’t mean to sound so argumentative. I agree with what you are saying–I just wanted to bring up some other points that you made me think of. Thanks for you input!

  11. First, no apologies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with healthy debate so long as it’s constructive. Your points have gotten me thinking as well. Your point, more or less, considers that for individual responsibility, there is almost always a motivator, or a trigger if you will. It is certainly possible for a disturbed person to be inspired by what he sees in entertainment and motivated to follow through with violence. But, that would be a sign of an underlying problem that would allow the individual to succumb to the suggestion in the first place. And even then, this idea can be too glib considering the inherent complexities of each individual situation.

    On the subject of reporting, the one thing that concerns me most on the reporting of such incidences are that they are the ones that grab the headlines, yet, the odds of such an incidence happening are actually relatively low. It’s kind of like what happens with an airliner crash: it is reported thoroughly and, sometimes, sensationalized to the hilt, despite the fact that air travel remains the safest form of travel. It’s just that when it does happen, it’s most shocking because the consequences of the breakdown are quite devastating and even more disturbing to see what was behind the breakdown in the first place. American news outlets are notorious for sensationalizing whereas overseas organizations, such as the BBC, have a better-earned reputation for more objective news-gathering. But, this shouldn’t be construed as a dismissal of school shootings as they do happen. And, I am in agreement that one of the biggest causes is what happens to make a child feel so trapped that they end up lashing out (although, this isn’t always the reason why an attack occurs, as exemplified by an FBI psychoanalysis report on Eric Harris, the mastermind of the Columbine Massacre, where the evidence [his journals, online blogs, and legal history] had indicated him to be a bona-fide psychopath).

    The problems, as you say, can and likely do include bureaucratic and indifferent public school systems that almost entirely values status quo over individual development in education. Although, it is understandable that the public school system is grossly underfunded and expected to meet deadlines and quotas, it doesn’t change the fact that they are, more or less, broken as a viable system to help develop youth into balanced, productive members of society. IMO, the biggest cause is attempting to mechanize the education process and quantize its progress with the grading system, which is largely ineffective since human learning cannot be mechanized and graded in this fashion. (Of course, this is opinion.)

    Other problems can stem from relationships between the child and others, such as teachers and students. Bullying from other classmates as well as indifferent or abusive teachers also go a long way towards bringing down a student. Other troubles can include the use of heavy-handed negative discipline, such as corporal punishment, and unjustly indifferent approaches to discipline, which would be the case where both victim and instigator of a fight are punished, rather than truly investigating the incident and appropriately applying punishment only to the instigator.

    Or, another situation which brings about action before investigating the allegations in full to validate the charge, which was the case in a high school I attended where a classmate mistakenly hugged a female classmate, believing her to be his girlfriend in an act of innocent misunderstanding. This same female classmate ends up reporting this student to the school staff for sexual harassment and the male student in question ends up facing charges from the school without the staff investigating the incident more thoroughly, if at all (I think they just took the allegation from the female classmate verbatim and proceeded with disciplinary action). The result was a broken child who, facing serious disciplinary action for his honest mistake, acted in impulse to attempt escape from the school and, unfortunately and tragically, climbed over a fence and ran across a highway where he was struck by an oncoming vehicle.

    Then, there are problems that can occur with how the child was reared at his home, which can be the case in a dysfunctional, abusive, or controlling family. A family that is unable to balance discipline and freedom usually ends up yielding children who have problems.

    And, sometimes, the child can come from a perfect household and schooling but still end up being a “rotten apple” for lack of a better term.

    The problem is hugely dynamic. But, I’ll state something that is strictly opinion, the problem with attitudes in the general populous largely has to do with lack of balance in the person’s life. Too many people deal with absolutes in their lives rather than seeking harmony between extremes. There are some things in life to where there can only be one answer, such as being totally wrong to take something you have not rightfully earned or understanding that the first ten amendments in the bill of rights are absolutes not subject to negotiation, but there are also many things in life where people fail to recognize the need for balance; something that only brings about chaos when you attempt to attain an extreme, such as valuing only diversity or valuing only unity when life functions best with a balance of both. Again, this comment is strictly opinion and welcome to debate. – Reinhart

  12. More thoughts, somewhat tangential to what you just wrote, Reinhart . . .
    I want to further clarify my stance on what I see as an underlying problem–or “triggers” if you will–that results in acts of violence. Again, while I agree that every individual case of violence is unique and each has its own set of varied dynamics–ultimately dependent on that individual and their history and circumstance–I want to pull the camera out a little bit farther into the big picture. I don’t see this exercise at all as glib; on the contrary, I see it as a necessary attempt to venture beyond appearance and circumstance and into the heart of human nature itself. I want to give the example here of an occupied warzone, such as the settlements in Israel, or in Iraq, or in any ghetto in the United States: whenever there is a situation where there is an outside pressure from a source of power in the lives of those who are generally powerless (i.e. without money or influence), then there will be violence. Violence, because when you feel powerless and impotent, a gun can simply and quickly give you a temporal sense of empowerment. Violence, because when you can’t see anyway out of your situation, you seethe with anger. Violence, because you want the world to see.
    Again, I am not condoning the use of violence. I am attempting to understand it. And this analysis does not include psychopaths, of course. And so in bringing this kind of analysis to a situation where some teenage kid takes a gun and shoots his peers and then himself (such blind rage, such hopeless despair), my only way of understanding this act is as a last act of desperation in attempting to feel like someone who is powerful.
    And so the question that I am trying to ask is: why do they feel so powerless? Why do they feel so embittered, so angry? Why are they as hopeless and jaded and self-deluded as a suicide bomber in the Middle East?
    Yes, they need more balance. Yes, they need more guidance. Yes, they need more love. And it’s too easy simply to point our fingers at media or even antiquated and underfunded school systems. We need to look yet deeper. At ourselves. At our very humanity and the social systems that support our current modes of existence. I think the real challenge here is not to see these acts of violence as a symptom, but to see them as calls for help. As human beings to human beings. We have to acknowledge that “something is wrong here.”
    As you stated in your last comment, the media sensationalizes disaster and tragedy in order to make a quick buck. And this very sensationalism, perhaps, is part of the problem. That violence is portrayed both in the media and in politics to indeed have stark power.
    And our children will only inevitably reflect this.

  13. In Australia where i live,we have very strict gun control unlike the USA.But firearms are available legally and illegally,if you know where to get one.We have had some some extremely voilent acts of mass murder,where someone has taken a firearm and gone out and randomly slaughtered people,namely the Hoddle street massacre in Melbourne and the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania.The perpertrator of these killings did not take their own lives afterwards.The victims were unknown to their killers.I have read that these induviduals were loners,unsociable,had a facination with military weapons and were bullied earlier in life.I think there is a connection between the killings that take place here and in the USA,that being the killer has been bullied either at school,at work,or both.I have also read that there have been cases where a disgruntled worker,has been fired and gone back to the work place later in a rage and killed ex work mates.Why?Being bullied,belittled,victimised,made fun of,ect.These people usually don’t fight back,thus the anger just builds and builds,until one can take no more.Bullying severly affects a persons performance at school and work,to a degree where that person is punished by the boss or teacher for produceing a low output,be it grades or production in the workplace.The polititians pretend to address bullying by introducing stricter punishment for the perpetrators of the bullying,by introducing counciling for victims ect,but these are really designed to keep the beuracrats in a job,by endlessly introducing useless solutions.The victims are to scared to speak out in fear of reprisal.They are made to feel even worse because of the endless trips to the doctor,to the Pchsyciatrist,to try and fix the problem.Some people come out of the experience better off,but a lot don’t.The bully seems to get away with it time and time again,I know,i have seen it,I have been a victim of it.Thank God i don’t own a firearm,because there have been times in the past where i may have been tempted to use it.

  14. you know sometimes I use to be so sad that I wanted to go hang my self over the over pass over the interstate so people in the morning could drive by me and be the first thing they see hanging in the morning. overtime my hatred would get worse I would question every relationship I have with everyone and its come to me that I would like the whole world to feel my pain if I could destroy the whole world I feel I would fuck selecting random people lets just kill everyone so everyone can feel the pain….you may say what have you done to deserve this but personally why should I care no one cares about my feelings so I rather spread my hatred then get rid of it…yes I hate my self I wake up every morning wondering what I did to ruin my life and I have to say drugs and the fact at the time I was very self concious about what others think corrupted me….when I realized that it didnt matter it hurt me so much that I had basically ruined my life because of weed I know its my fault but I cant fix it I dont want to hurt anyone but then sometimes I just feel like everyone should feel the pain and I know that is a really selfish thing to say …but sometimes I just wonder whats the point were all going to die eventually anyways

  15. To be bullied, or to be molested, or to be abused as a child or as a teenager or even as an adult is indeed a serious trauma that is so hard for an individual to cope with that many times it results simply in the continuation of the violence, the perpetuation of the same thing that was done unto you, because you just could not deal with it, so you have to share with with someone else, so you can understand it within yourself.

    At some point, the endless feedback loop of violence must end with one individual making the conscious decision NOT to hurt someone else in the way that they were hurt. It must end with someone awakening to the pain within themselves and realizing that they must take all of the world onto their shoulders and bear it to the ends of the earth. It must end with people finding love and beauty at the end of the tunnel of despair and suffering. Otherwise, it’s just more of the same. More of the nightly news repeats death, murder, blame, hatred, violence, bombings, suicide, war, war, war.

    When a stranger hurts you, the first thing that you feel is that you deserved it. You deserved it because you could not stop it from happening. Because they sensed something in you that they felt needed to be hurt, to be broken, some lost innocence and beauty that they no longer have and so must take from you. And you feel like you deserved it because you once had it and they didn’t, and now you no longer do, either. Now you are like them, diseased.
    The next thing you feel is anger towards yourself, and self-loathing. Self-loathing because you are now infected with the ugliness and brokenness.
    Then you feel despair. Despair because what can be done to make yourself whole again? You are lost, and there is no one who can help you, no one who can understand this feeling. They might be able to say, “you didn’t deserve it. It’s not your fault,” but somehow that doesn’t feel true. You still feel you deserved it. You were a part of it. You were there. You exist.
    Then you feel anger towards the world, anger towards you family, anger towards any person that is near you but can’t understand you, anger towards anything and everything simply for being a part of this, a part of this disease ridden ugly world.

    It is at this point that the cycle must be broken. It is here that you must seek understanding and reconciliation within yourself. It is here that you must stop and recognize that there is a sickness in this world of those who abuse power over those who are unable to fight back. A sickness of insecurity and instability and the pathetic need to take the happiness from those who have it. You need to take that happiness back. You need to take that power back. You need to find that beauty that is lying there inside of yourself and bring it back to life.

    Otherwise, you will just end up another power tripping motherfucker lording it over some helpless, innocent child, who then must go through everything that you have gone through. Why must any other human being in this world right now be put through what you went through?

    All it takes is one person awakening to themselves and their beauty and power to stop this cycle. That means one less person in this world who will perpetuate a needless chain of ugliness, fear, and violence. This is the choice that a man and a woman must make as an adult. Whether they will make a difference and open the horizons of a new world in their own lives, or just do the same thing that was done to them, and feed off of the powerlessness of others.

  16. Lots of good stuff here. Maybe I can’t debate on the same level as a couple of you, but I do have some thoughts which come from my own experience in life, which is the only place from which I can speak.
    The first word that came to my mind as I read through every word was ATTENTION. Lots of us don’t get it and desperately want it. Sometimes abuse conjures up images of child-beatings and molestation, but I believe abuse can be simple neglect as well. And maybe it’s not the neglect of a parent who had kids too young and finds them to be a nuissance and leaves them locked in a closet with no food, but neglect from your average, “normal” middle-class parents who are busy keeping up with the car of the year and paying the mortgage on their suburbian home. Drug addiction, alcohol abuse, sex addiction, gambling… over-spending… you name it – addictions take the attention and energy of the one in their grasp and suck the life out of everyone else around too. The “successful” businessman who loves his sales job because he can justify his drinking habit… the sober mother at home, trying to take care of her three kids alone while she’s grieving over his affairs and lack of affection… the kids get nothing. The kids are left to fend for themselves like tiny adults because Daddy isn’t home and Mommy isn’t emotionally available. The parents love them – of course they do – and they go to church and have birthday parties and buy them puppies at Christmas. But they may as well be ghosts in the home, despite their intentions to the contrary.
    I need ATTENTION. I want someone to look into my eyes and listen to me, damn it! To recognize that I exist and that I have value.
    And if I raise my hand in anger (me – Miss Goody-Two-Shoes bible-belt, never-broke-a-rule-in-her-whole-life middle-class college graduate) which I did, once, after endless provocation by another adult, it is to say YOU LISTEN TO ME!!!! I refuse to go on another minute being unheard! So yes, maybe some anger, and I agree with the cry for help theory, but “help” makes me think of weaklings… I only want you to hear me – that is all I need.

  17. Lisa Jo, I think that your elucidation of “attention” may be the most productive point to come from this discussion. Because as you’ve pointed out, inattention plagues families of all socio-economic stripes—but in some ways, what are considered “normal” (normal in a world gone psychotic) suburban middle class American families often constitute the most extreme cases of inattention. And the children of these families seem to be some of the most devastating sources of anger and retribution. And this is surprising to many people because of the seeming “normalcy” of their upbringing. But obviously, they are seething inside.

  18. i want to kill as many people as possible. do you know, i like this thing i am? do you know, i am enlightened? observe these “monsters”, they are wonderful. they are 138, evolved and eloquent in the only language your children will speak. it is all we will teach them. it is inexorable.

  19. What I think makes people feel enough rage to commit violence is a feeling of powerlessness. If people feel that they have no control over their destiny and environment, if they feel that they cannot act effectively, then they can reach a point where they believe that nothing short of violence can change their situation. Unfortunately, there is no logic or reason behind their actions. They let their emotions get the best of them and in their minds, feel there is no other way to express them. It really is tragic…

  20. You censored my comment huh?Pathetic!! YEAH SO MUCH FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH,You can’t handle the truth can you?Why?I’LL TELL you it’s because of idiots like you that things like Virginia happen,you don’t listen.

  21. Listen kid: I censored your comment because this is my blog; I’ll let this one go in just so I can respond. Billy, you can go start your own blog and rant and rave and say your hate filled immature shit all you want. But not here.
    You obviously are in some major need of support and understanding. But I am not a counselor and I am not a psychiatrist and my blog is not an outlet for you to spout mindless anger and hatred. If you have some insight or something constructive to say, then I’m interested. Otherwise, like I said, you are more than welcome to start your own blog (it’s FREE) and rant and rave all you like.

  22. Didn’t expect quite such a positive response from you, billy, given that in your last comment you were identifying with Cho Seung-Hui and saying that you also wanted to shoot people.
    If that is indeed how you were feeling—which is quite scary, honestly—then what I personally would be interested in is why do you feel in that way? Like what is it that would drive you to such anger and bitterness and self-hatred? And I’m talking about beyond just “I blame all the world” kind of thing. I mean as in what has occurred to you that really makes you feel that way? Because I just want to remind you here, we are all human, and when someone shoots other people, it is like they are possessed by a demon. It is a truly inhuman act, to consciously take a gun and murder other people. Simply because you are unhappy. That is monstrous.

    So I truly am curious as to what would really make you hurt so bad that you would want to be monstrous? That you would identify only with some inhumane act? Because as I’ve been saying all throughout this much commented upon post is that really an act of terrorism is just a cry for help. A desperate call for attention. Way too late. If you’re crying for help, then just be honest about it. With yourself. Otherwise you’re just hurting the whole world.

    Over and out.

  23. I think your question,who do americans want to kill each other and themselves,is to say a very very complicated one.Agree?I think the question,why do people want to kill others and themselves would be more to the point.Not only Americans,this is world wide problem.
    Look at why terrorists do it.They have reasons,although bizarre to me and you,reasons we will never understand.But they all have a common thread,that is hate and anger,right?
    I think that the Virginia massacre,was an act of terrorism.This guy wanted to terrorise,and he did it very effectively.
    He had severe mental problems.I too am mentally unstable.I may commit voilence which i may regret.
    I felt that i have been victimised in society.Picked on all my life,it will take a mammoth task to reverse that,but at times i have an anger which is extremely frightning.I guess i feel,nervous,uneasy,with my other side taking over.
    You mention that an act of terrorism is a cry for help.Unfortunately Cho Seung Hui cries were ignored,or at least thought of as a ”he’s an idiot,let’s screw him to for the bucks”attitude.
    I can’t describe or really how i feel to you,unless you have been there.We need more care for each other in this dog eat dog society,we really need to show some genuine compassion for each other,until that happens,the killings will keep on going.
    There will be slaughters that will make the Oklahoma and Virginia look like childs play in future,i guarantee it.

  24. And please don’t patronise me by referring to me a s ”kid”I am ex army,i don’t like it,and it is things as such that fuel my anger.I joined the sevice so we can live in a democracy,and exercise free speech,i thank you sir.

  25. It’s not really that Cho’s cries were ignored. He just never cried out. He held it within. The only thing that he ever did to try to express some of his feelings were those plays he wrote for class, which are almost infantile and just basically angry death rants. And his teachers were definitely aware that something was wrong from those writings. But he never chose to voice what he really felt to anyone directly. He never talked to his family. He didn’t talk to his roommates or people on his floor. Instead, he held against them all his anger simply because he didn’t feel that he could give it expression.
    I know a friend who killed himself recently, and he never told anyone about how he felt. He always was quiet, and never revealed his feelings. It hurt that much more after he did it, because we would have been there for him if he had just asked for it.
    People are actually a lot more compassionate then you think.
    Have I been there? Have I been lonely, angry, hating the world? Of course. That’s kind of part of growing up. Losing your innocence, realizing that the world does not revolve around you. That you are just another number, another nobody, another nothing. That’s the facts of life. The world can be cruel, if you expect it to take care of you without sacrificing anything of yourself.
    And yes, there are a lot of problems with society. There are a lot of problems with corporations and greed and blind politics. Problems with weapons, problems with increasing divisions between poor and rich, problems with the environment, problems with ideologies, problems with fear, problems with homogenization and globalization, problems with this, problems with that. Everything seems to be going to shit.
    But I’ll tell you one thing: letting yourself give in to blame and craziness and messiah complexes and anger and hatred is just a cop out. It’s just continuing the endless stream of waste. The world can quite easily be changed, and all it takes is one person opening up to themselves. Opening up to their pain and suffering. Letting go of their blame and anger and moving on to finding a way to deal with it.
    Everything that you do to yourself you do to the world. And everything that you do to the world you do to yourself. Does that sound trite? Cuz it’s not. It’s a quite powerful realization. It’s demonstrated quite powerfully when some terrorist like Cho Seung-Hui or the latest bomber in Baghdad kills themselves in order to kill as many other people as possible. Suicide is metaphorically a bomb. You are exploding yourself to hurt others.
    And it is not such a far reach to recognize that when you hurt others, you hurt yourself.
    Most politicians and CEOs have not evolved yet to perceive this reality. But all that the rest of us in the meantime can do is begin applying this realization here and now, with ourselves and our communities. And to apply this principle, all you need to do is start by healing yourself, healing your relationships with your family, your relationships within your community. Because if everyone started to build positive, real relationships individually, the whole fucking world would change. That’s all it would take.
    Taking a gun and shooting people is a cop-out. Just like taking a noose and hanging yourself is a cop-out. Problems are not solved by killing. Problems are solved by sitting down and thinking and listening and communicating. By facing the problems and dealing with them, not by trying to make them go away.

  26. Until the day when men are treated as human beings. Until the day when little boys and men’s hurt are treated with respect and seriousness. Until the day when WOMEN are not seen as the only victims of sexual abuse and rape. Until the day when men are not degraded for their bodies, their minds, their biology, their sexuality or their masculinity. Until the day when none whaite males have the right to express themselves without white Americans blaming them or calling them whiners or race card players. Until the day when the media recognizes that groin hits and making men look stupid on tv/movies is not funny. Until the day when women have the capacity to actually care about men who are brilliant but do not have a lot of $$$ or a big car. until the day when men’s ambition and potential to do great things is respected more than what material possesions he has. Until the day when men with depression are not referred to as “weak” or “losers” or “creepy”. Until the day when society ends the manipulation and assualt on males with 24hr 7 days a week non-stop sexual imagery in the media and everywhere. Until the day when women end blaming men for all the Worlds problems. Until the day men have some one to talk to with their problems instead of being shunned and pushed away by men and WOMEN. Until the day when men do not have t oface a World where they are Forced to sign up for Military service and made to carry the problems of family and an entire society on their backs. Until the day when mothers stop abusing their sons and blaming them for their problems. until the day when it is okkay for men to cry and not be degraded for it. until the day when men have a chance to go thru life without constant rejection. Until the day when men have the right to have an opinion and not be labeled for it. Until the day when men have the Right to be seen as human beings will the horror end.

  27. As a response to “bubbler”, as a victim of child abuse and adult emotional abuse, I can see this. it is easy for you and your pals to sit and analyze us. But the things is, most men have no one. No one to open up to, no one to talk to. Do you think anyone gives a damn about what i have gone thru? Of course not, all i will get is the same ol bullshite of how “everybody has it the same” or some other reverse psychology that misses the point. The fact is that if people have truly been thru what i have been thru,. then you would not be asking questions, you would understand. But its the people who mock and insult people who have unfairly had hurt placed on to them. it is an anger at society and all people for doing nothing about abuse. And watching those who have reaped the rewards of a happy life snicker at those who did not have a choice in being a victim of abuse. It is unfairness on a level that is massive. The rage alone is enough to leave ruin the entire World. the same can be said for white american people who are so privledged they can’t even see how in so many ways they have it good over some one who was born with a darker skin. And then the maggots get up and call the victims of the greatest multi-generational abuse whiners and complainers. When in the case of black americans, who haven’t been out of slavery as long as they have been in it. So imagine what kind of rage that creates! And rage is mindless, it doesnt matter who’s on the receiving end of it. Thus “black on black crime” See what I mean, but who cares about that? Those are just a lot of no good losers who care nothing for the “american way” and working hard. Do nothings, worthelss, the list goes on and on. I personally think its bad for these men to snap and hurt innocent people. i think if one is to go out, then direct it towards those who have made your reality and make them pay. This may sound like a massive contradiction to what I said earlier but change can come in many forms. So do revolutions. End the horror by bringing the horror to those who made it. it is not right or just but neither was the abuse placed on those who suffered either. In the end there will be communication. And that is what is exactly NOT happening now. Just denial and finger pointing tat anyone or anything other than the problem. A society that doesnt value Father’s, Men and Boys. Clear and simple. Things are gonna get a lot worse, trust me! America’ denial syndrome will end.

  28. First of all, “blind mellow jello”, my intent in posting this and raising the issue was simply to foster discussion and awareness of problems in our society. My intent was not to psycho-analyze emotionally disturbed individuals who commit acts of violence, but rather to broaden the discussion to the realm of societal ills. So I thank you for your commentary and for bringing up a lot of interesting points. You are obviously very angry, but you are also aware that the problems which are affecting you and many others go much deeper and extend much more broadly than just what has happened to you individually. I also think that you are aware that vengeance and blame are not avenues of positive social change, even though you are attempting to justify it.
    There is nothing wrong with being angry. I think all of us need to be a lot angrier about what’s going on right now, because then we’d do something about it. But don’t let that anger blind you to your sisters and brothers that are ready to fight alongside you; don’t push them away, telling them that they “don’t understand.” I WANT to understand. I want other people to understand. That’s why I posted this, and that’s why write.
    Before we can talk about revolutions, or social change, or redesigning systems, we need to be able to talk to each other NOW. Then we can talk about the future.

  29. If it was for you only….You guys have the urge to kill and/or exterminate everybody else who doesn’t have your views on reality. That’s something that Europe’s gotten rid of a couple of centuries ago(before th media ) Anyway, it’s alwys been the dilemma of a thug with a gun? You cope with it and the rest of the world copes and suffers…..

  30. Maybe I’ve missed the point of this discussion, but I know that American people doesn’t want the etiquette of the world’s bad guys and yet this is what they are, competing for with The other violent nation on the world scale.

  31. Just to underline the Academic discussion: Have you bombed and killed thousands of civilians recently? If the number that you’ve got matches the one on Your board, just shout BINGO!
    Soo easy…..don’t mind a couple of fucks that have to be satisfied with locals…

  32. Bora, the problem with your analysis is that you are critiquing individual Americans as if we implement and direct political and military government strategies. The Bush Administration and neo-cons do not represent the people of America, although they certainly have influenced many through manipulative media and deceit.
    So please make a distinction when you criticize American politics not to simply write off all Americans as well. We are not all violent, power hungry, militant people.

  33. I don’t know if this will be read but I think that many of the above reasons for why someone would commit such an act are valid but since they would vary with each person that commited them I’m not sure a solution is possible. I think the main, underlying problem is the ability people have to rationalize almost any act. The ability people have to decieve themselves and to let themselves be decieved are the root cause of almost any wrongdoing commited by a sane person. Think about the last time you willfully did something wrong or failed to do something you should have. What happened right before you made that decision? You probably told yourself a lie. Whole societies can lie like this. It has been my experience that most people are intellectually lazy. They are told that success and money are the same thing and they don’t question it. They are told massive lies by their tv every day. I think many of the people that do this type of thing are extremely gullible. They believe the lies that society tells them which makes them feel inferior and they also believe their own lies that make the acts they commit seem reasonable to them.

  34. [quote] “I too am mentally unstable.I may commit voilence which i may regret.
    I felt that i have been victimised in society.Picked on all my life,it will take a mammoth task to reverse that,but at times i have an anger which is extremely frightening.” [quote]

    I dido… this comment by “Billy”. As I too was kicked in the balls as a boy in both public and private (Christian) schools, from 1st to 6th grade!
    I have run into legal trouble, after attacking a officer while drunk. You could say I have been alone, allot, I mean really lonely. Cry myself to sleep lonely, as a kid till I was 13 or so, and I have joined the Air Force to get away from myself. I needed to FIND myself first. I got Kicked out of the military, after two years, and was suicidal allot of the time after.

    I have Been seeing a psychologist, and after years of thinking there is something wrong with me, I resized how hard I make life on myself.
    The key is to Forgive YOURSELF, and FORGIVE yourself often enough that you LIKE YOUR Emotions. I needed to feel I can Communicate with the OUTSIDE world (whatever that is?) I’m easy now with myself. I look at conflict in a new way. Conflict is opportunity, it is the opportunity to LIKE who I AM no matter who disapproves, yells at, stares at, or swears at me.

    THIS took me all my life, and I am 36. I have been in jail 3 times, served in the work house 2 times, and have a felony (which was lowered to a misdemeanor) I attacked that cop with a knife, soon after I got out of the AF, and was drunk. I treid to get him to shot me, I am alive only because he was a state trooper and I scared the HELL out of him, and I’m white. (if I was black… well read between the lines)

    Sorry but I know how these folks feel, they are as you mentioned, loners for no other reason than their inability to focus on their goodness, and the outside world being forgiving.

    But as I said, Even when no one is compassionate, the mentally ill are always marginalized in society, I can FORGIVE MYSELF. I have too, or I’ll explode. PEACE.

    Oh and screw BUSH! LOL LOL LOL hehe (just a side note)

  35. Thanks for your input and comment. It’s good to hear from someone who has been through that kind of life experience and has been able to discover positive self-empowerment. I like your idea that conflict can be seen as an opportunity for self-discovery. Keep focusing on your goodness!

  36. I for some reason to feel the need to go and join the military not because for the benefits but so i could go in and destroy my enemy. They are nothing more than my enemy. I get these thoughts of how i am going to do what needs to be done. Even if they have not done anything personally but what they have done to others like me who want to protect this country. Im now 19 and enlisted in the marines not long ago and leave for bootcamp the 1st week of jan. Its like i have been trained not to value the life of others and those who want to bring harm to the place i call home and the people i love. I a nice person to those who are nice to me and quick to react to those who arent with a violent response if it goes that far. Am i this way because some of the stuff i saw my dad do to my mom when i was a child. Im not sure where all this hatred come from and soon enough i will be fighting this countries war and killing my countries enemies. Is this a bad thing because i have been told by friends that i may need some help with my problems. Its not as if i want to go and shoot up a store or do harm to any of my fellow americans but to go out and eliminate the wolf thousands of miles away before its at my frontstep and it kill a sheep before i can stop it. I really need help with this issue.

  37. This is a tough thing to analyze, something will probably need to change in america to try and make these people who commit these vicious acts see that there is decent people here who care. I think there has been alot of moral destruction of the last 50 years and it makes it hard on lots of people. You can see the lack of morals everywhere, many of us have been cheated on correct? And the people who cheat are able to move on with there lifes with no problems as long as they are happy. The lack of consideration for peoples emotions is destroying the idea concept of pursueing happiness, it is often hard to be happy if people keep dragging you down. I don’t know how to fix this we do need to try programming in young peoples minds the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” idea. I hate to say it but I can see there being some sort of war in america sometime in the future over morality.

    1. That’s an interesting perspective there, Jake, and plausibly true. I’m just not sure what purpose your comment serves other than providing a further outlet for wankery.

  38. I’m wondering, why do you need so many guns on the street? Who are you protecting yourself from?, and don’t give that “It’s my constitutional right to bear arms,” you realize your precious Constitution was written along time ago and is badly needing updating or completely re-written. America claims to be an advanced country yet you hold on to these old stupid notions, grow up

  39. These long reply posts might be triggering homicidal nuts. Also now that cigarettes are so expensive, and demonized, people aren’t getting the nicotine that would help. All the processed industrial junk food is messing up human chemistry. So calm, peace, rest, nutrition, and cigarettes are my advice if you think killing is the answer.

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