Richard Crist: Bullies and the bullied have far-reaching ramifications
School shootings have been happening for centuries, perpetrated by students, teachers, parents, police, soldiers, school personnel and mental cases.
Shooters have many reasons for doing this — accidents, self-defense, bullying and revenge.
Males are practically always the shooter, and many shootings can be traced to retaliation from bullying. Some males with the help of their parents and peers, being addicted to TV and gaming, are programmed to violence. Violence certainly creates the bully and can create the pecking order that students grow up in. A lack of status for a male can mean being left out, missing the dating scene, being bullied and a host of negative impacts to the student.
The fact that this is happing to lots of students. Schools have to accept their responsibility and role in creating this situation by stepping up to make the necessary changes to correct this problem.
The earliest recorded school shooting was in 1764, where 10 were killed and two wounded. It took 202 years to reach double digits again, with the University of Texas massacre, where 17 were killed and 31 wounded. There were 37 school shootings in the 1800s, killing 31 and wounding 31. In the 1900s, there were 226 shootings, 281 deaths, and 379 injuries. The Columbine high school massacre, killing 15 and injuring 21, was the worst.
These 17 years in the 21st century have nearly matched all of the last centuries’ numbers, reaching double digits four times, with 192 shootings, 261 deaths, and 323 injuries. With Virginia Tech, 33 deaths 28 injuries, and Sandy Hook Elementary, 28 deaths and two injuries, being the bloodiest.
Many shooters are said to be very smart and in their own world. Shooters aren’t necessarily loners because loners are okay with being alone; but when they’re a joiner and are not allowed to join into any clique, this is when being a loner becomes a problem. Often shooters have become loners from being bullied, humiliated and ostracized, resulting in anger, depression and anxiety, leading to rage and paranoia. These students often commit acts of violence on themselves and against others.
Bullying is the dehumanization of another person, and a major problem in schools; one-third of all school-aged children are bullied each year. This has escalated since the electing of the king-of-bullies, a liar, bigot, racist, sexist, adulterer, homophobe, egotist, elitist and a p***y-grabber, who lives in an alternate reality from those whom he represents in the presidency. He’s displayed his “how-to-close-the deal” bullying continuously since becoming president. This is their role model.
Schools haven’t addressed this problem effectively. They’ve instituted programs telling students not to bully, using posters, lectures and rules to prevent bullying; these programs haven’t worked satisfactorily. Cliques and bullying have become school clubs and sport. Relationships between one another are difficult for many and there has been very little training in how to talk, listen, be respectful and appreciate differences in other people. Students have not been taught why other people are different, why those differences are usually not their fault, and how to respect those differences because it’s okay to be different.
In recent years, the media has been exposing them to many of the differences that exist in society today, but nobody is telling them how to deal with the negative feelings that they experience when they are confronted with these differences. Having these feelings is natural, but reacting to them is usually programmed responses that have been learned growing up. These responses have been taught without compassion or empathy by the untrained, creating bullies that try to make themselves feel better at someone else’s expense. This is a lose-lose situation.
Our schools are capable of correcting this problem. They need to start with teaching comprehensive skills in relationship, communications and dispute resolution beginning in kindergarten and continuing every year throughout college. This is more important than, say, history. Not to say history isn’t important, but think about how many shooting could be stopped by learning history versus learning how to communicate, accept and get along with each other.
This could have far-reaching effects on the school shooting problem and any other problem that is caused by bullying, not being accepted and the dehumanization of people — a win-win situation for all.
Richard E. Crist lives in Grass Valley.
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