I wanted to make a separate post about this because it’s such a glaring contradiction that seems to be widely accepted among the “supporters” of the Parkland students and their movement. And like many other things, it seems to be something that people cling to solely because of how it makes them feel rather than there being definite truth behind what they are saying. The students don’t like clear backpacks because it makes them feel like they are in prison… their words… and the students and supporters fail to acknowledge that bullying could have played a part in what Nikolas Cruz did. Possibly because it makes them feel (or at least concerned) that people are somehow putting at least some of the blame for what he did on them.
First of all, the decision was his. Mental illness, bad childhood, bullying or not… the final choice fell on him. He is to blame. Having said that, of course there were a ton of contributing factors – and him being picked on or bullied would be one of them. But if you even bring up the topic with students or supporters, they’ll either say you are “victim blaming” or they’ll reply with something like “Well, I was bullied in high school… and I never killed anybody.” That’s fine, and I’m happy for those people… but acting as if everyone’s school experience and mental struggles should be judged the same is about as useful as going up to someone with lung cancer and saying “Well, I smoked a pack a day for decades and I didn’t get cancer.”
Go check it out for yourself. When someone is bullied and lashes out violently, look at how the people will try to remove the bullying as any kind of motivating factor. I don’t know if it’s because they have a guilty conscience and are subconsciously dwelling on what they might have done to that person, or if they legitimately believe that bullying is never a factor in causing someone to snap or what. If it’s the second option there, that’s scary… because if people don’t think that bullying someone could ever push them to do something awful, they’ve got little reason to not bully that person. I guess while some people feel like it is victim blaming, it makes me wonder if those people are just trying to relieve themselves of any potential feelings of responsibility.
Now, think about the role of bullying in the context of suicide. When that happens, the reaction is almost completely reversed. When someone kills themselves, all you hear is about how they were picked on, bullied, ostracized, etc… and that’s “obviously” what caused them to eventually take their own life. Hell, there are even protests or activism or whatever you wanna call it… campaigns about “mean girls” or things to force students/people to think about how they treat others, stories about how they were verbally or physically abused at home and how it needs to stop… anything that can possibly turned into motivation for suicide, relating to verbal, mental, or physical abuse, will likely be acknowledged and discussed.
Now, I wasn’t the most well adjusted kid during junior high and even into my high school years. Any bullying or “picking” that I may have experienced wasn’t even that bad… but you can bet your ass that it had an effect on me. Did I ever think about bringing a weapon to school? Did I ever think about who deserved my revenge and how I’d do it? I’m not saying I that did, but I’m sure not saying that I didn’t. I never crossed that line – but even today I’m not sure that I could tell you where that line was, or what might have caused me to cross over it and turn into one of the stories that you would have heard on TV back then. And let me tell you… my home life was fine, my family was fine, my time away from school was fine… and the only thing that was pushing me closer and closer back then was the shit that I endured from the few asshole children at school. So, from my own experience, I can tell you that bullying can indeed be a contributing factor towards someone lashing out – if not the main cause.
Are there really that many stupid people out there though, who honestly can’t see the link between bullying and lashing out? I mean, Christ, everything we do in life is based on the stimulus that we get from interacting from other humans… good, bad, mean, nice, happy, sad… and you’re an idiot if you think that only in the case of someone snapping and doing something violent, that those negative interactions didn’t have anything to do with it. It could just be a matter of most people never having experienced that feeling, where you don’t know if you’re going to be able to control yourself or what you’ll end up doing if you can’t. So, I’m glad for that, for them… but if you look me in the eyes and saying that bullying plays no part if that person lashes out later, I’m going to think that you’re either full of shit or that you’re a fucking moron.
It’s a sad to see so many people refusing to acknowledge that there could be a link between bullying and school violence, because for every voice that denies it – that’s a voice that could be making some other student’s life feel like hell… one more voice that could be unintentionally pushing someone towards something awful. And when you are immediately shut down when you bring up the subject, or even made to feel like you are doing something wrong by bringing it up, that shows that there are thousands and thousands of people who are unable or unwilling to learn. Unwilling to even allow the possibility that it’s true, what people like me are trying to make them understand. And, obviously, when people don’t learn from a tragedy, there’s not a whole lot that’s gonna stop it from happening exactly the same way again.
The people who were involved in the shooting… the “survivors” as they are called… they really do seem desperate to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again, but as with all of the security measures that they reject – they reject the idea that their actions or the actions of their friends could have even possibly played a part in what happened. I don’t think of that as victim blaming, I just think of it in terms of humans evolving and just being a little more self-aware, and more aware of the cumulative results of their combined words or actions. For people to treat that as something bad, disrespectful, or even bullying in itself… I just don’t get it.
That’s another point where their argument loses impact. A thorough argument of “bullying didn’t do this” when it comes to someone that lashes out, but go on Twitter and search “parkland bully” and just look at how many people have their hair on fire about how adults are allegedly bullying the students. Granted, in some cases it’s definitely true, but claims of bullying include simply disagreeing with the students and trying to discuss the differences with them or their supporters.
But here’s the thing… if bullying isn’t a big deal, never leads to anything bad happening, and is something that “normal” people should just get over… then why are so many people crying about people “bullying” the survivors? (By the way, they are called “survivors” just from being in school that day… it doesn’t matter if they weren’t even in the same building as the shooter, or never even heard a shot fired.) But yeah… you better not suggest that bullying had anything to do with Nikolas Cruz snapping and murdering 17 people, because that’s just insane nonsense, right? But also… DON’T YOU DARE BULLY THOSE POOR SURVIVOR CHILDREN! STOP! JUST STOP!!
All these folks who want change. Most of them can’t even say, “Yeah, I mean, it wouldn’t have affected me if someone picked on me like that… but I guess I can see how someone with other mental issues might handle things differently. Hell, even without additional mental issues, maybe I should just try to be a little nicer to people.” And no, nobody is suggesting that you force your kids to be friends with the scary, troubled kids at school… and nobody is saying that you, as a student, shouldn’t feel okay by hanging out with just your friends and not necessarily trying to make buddies with the entire school body. Everyone acts like this is a fucking trick question or unreasonable idea. Don’t think about it so hard, and if you feel like maybe you’ve been more of a dick than you needed to be… maybe just knock it off. Is that too hard for humans these days?