Would-Be School Shooter
It Happened Again
With so much debate going on after the tragic school shooting in Florida, I've been reflecting upon my own high school experience a lot. Everyone is arguing about whether or not guns are the problem, mental health is the problem, new trends in child discipline are the problem, etc. I have my own views about these issues, but I won't go into them. I think the most helpful and important thing here, in order to understand why these horrible things keep happening, would be to truly hear out and understand the thought process, mentality, and reasoning of the kids who have felt the need to mow down their classmates.
I don't know any of the people involved in any of these shootings. I've never met the kids. Even a psychiatrist talking to them after the fact may not be able to get to the bottom of it, because the kids may not fully understand their own actions, and be able to discuss them effectively. I don't know, really. What I do know is that my high school experience may be helpful on shedding some light for people, because I regularly fantasized about viciously murdering everyone in my school.
Making the arrest after the shooting in Florida, this month
Now, I didn't necessarily fantasize about just mowing everyone down with a high powered rifle. Though, that may have been the most frequent fantasy. I also thought about gaining super strength, and walking through the building, busting down walls with my fist and crushing people's skulls with my bare hands. I imagined summoning some crazy demon to do my bidding, who would tear through the school like a shadow, ripping people to shreds. I studied several ways to make bombs at home.
This was a daily thing. A ridiculously huge portion of my teenage years were spent thinking about killing my classmates. Sometimes in the most bloody way possible, other times I was feeling more effective and would consider the best way to simply remove them from the earth as simply as I could.
I sound like a dangerous psychopath, right? Like, that's super messed up isn't it? I can only imagine being one of my old classmates in high school, reading this now, realizing how close they may have gotten to being attacked back then. I'll admit, in retrospect, it's crazy. I don't have fantasies or thoughts like this any more. Honestly, they stopped completely about as soon as I was finally out of high school. Never had them before 7th grade, never had them again after graduating.
I'm 26 years old now, and I can honestly say that I've never intentionally physically hurt anyone who wasn't already hurting me, other than when playing around with friends. (For example, I like to play a drinking game with my friends called Whiskey Slaps. Involving drinking a shot of whiskey, then slapping your friend in the face.)
My Fist Shall Hand out Justice!
So why did I, an otherwise peaceful and happy kid, seriously want to kill everyone around me? The simple answer might be pretty obvious. What's one thing that most school shooters have in common? They were outcasts, and they were bullied.
My very first school related memory was going to preschool or daycare of some sort, while my mother was attending classes at the community college. She had recently left, and I was still whining and upset because I couldn't understand why my mother would leave me in such a weird place. I look over to see a boy my age, with freckles and red hair. Our eyes meet, and he makes the most hateful face you can imagine on a 4 year old kid, and says to me, "I hate you." He continues to glare and make nasty faces at me the rest of the day. I cried a whole a bunch more. My memory of being that age is obviously a bit hazy, but that experience stuck with me. I can recall it clear as day. The rest of my public school career was basically the same up until the end.
I still can't figure out exactly why I was such a huge target for bullies throughout school. I was quiet, and a little bit weird, sure. But I kept to myself, and focused on my school work or drawings. I don't think I've ever been particularly weird looking, I didn't smell bad, or speak out of turn and say embarrassing things. I know why other kids in my class would get bullied. They either smelled really bad, or were blatantly annoying. As far as I know, I was neither of those things. But people would mock and harass me relentlessly, anyway.
They made fun of my eyebrows (which are admittedly rather bushy when left unkempt), made fun of my boobs when they started growing in, and my fuzzy arm pit hair, made fun of me for liking wolves, made fun of me (A LOT) for liking Pokemon, etc. They would stand in groups while I sat on the ground at recess, and they'd laugh and look over at me. They'd send someone to come ask me why I was so weird, or dare each other to ask me out as a joke.
I started to get pissed off in about 7th grade, because it just wouldn't stop. I had always been shy, quiet, and outspoken. I guess I was finally learning that I didn't deserve to be treated like that, so I started to get angry. Finally made my first friends that year, though. Which definitely helped.
NOTICE: I would like to clarify that while bullying is why I wanted to kill everyone when I was a teenager, I am not a part of the "stop bullying at all cost" brigade. I thank bullying for making me a strong person, and teaching me my own worth.
I can't say whether it's bullying that is causing this problem or not. I'm not trying to say I know the answers, I'm just giving my experience.
The darkness does not mock me...
Then in high school, I ended up being "the goth kid." Black trench coat, long black hair, corsets, boots, and upside down crosses. Blasting black metal on my little 20 song MP3 player. At this point, I was pissed. I had lived my entire life, barely going a day without someone harassing me. Aside from just enjoying dark colors, it should be apparent why I wanted to separate myself from the hoards of people that I hated so much, and who treated me like dirt. I wanted to be nothing like them. Clothing was one thing that I had some control over, so I used it as a way to set myself apart from the barbarians around me.
I was a mostly happy teenager, honestly. Small but close group of good friends, lots of healthy hobbies, received good grades, all that good stuff. I never once had a symptom of depression or anything. Being sad, or depressed was never a problem for me in school, at all. The only thing was that I was tired of being harassed, so I was just angry.
9th and 10th grade was when the kids who didn't like me started actually attacking me. Surrounding me outside of school grounds, and hitting me with skateboards. Following me down the road screaming "gothic whore!" at the top of their lungs. Driving by in their trucks and chucking cups full of rocks at my friends and myself. So I drew a line and started defending myself. Began carrying knives, and iron rods with me. It helped. After a while, most people stopped trying to start fights with me.
But there was one group of kids who just wouldn't stop. Every day, they insisted on following me and yelling at me. Even in the school, with teachers around, who did nothing. Teachers never did a thing. I had tried going to the office to discuss the problem, many times actually. The staff always told me that it was my fault for dressing strangely and making myself a target.
This group of kids would regularly threaten to shoot me with the shotgun that they supposedly kept in their truck. They started bringing up their guns more and more, and threatening to kill me more and more. Teachers heard it, and I know they did. But they did nothing.
Eventually, I threw one of these kids into a locker and got suspended. My mother went down to the school and said she didn't want me in that school anymore. I was being threatened, my mental health was suffering, I wasn't safe, and the teachers and staff were worthless assholes who had every chance to stop things from getting so bad, but didn't. My mother said I would not be returning to that school.
But apparently, as soon as you enroll your child into the public school system, they are no longer your child. They actually belong to the school system. Because what my mother wanted didn't matter, and I was charged with truancy for not going back to school. I had to go to court for a year straight.
To defend myself, I studied the blade.
Is Anyone Listening?
All of this is exactly why I wanted to viciously kill every single person in my school. I honestly believed, to the very core of my being, that it was the right thing to do. I truly believed that the world would be a better place if those people were dead. I knew without a doubt that they deserved to die. I wanted nothing more than to be the hero who removed them from this world so that they could no longer do any harm. All they did was take up space, consume resources, and hurt people. Logically, how could someone allow such a thing to continue? Is it not a drain on society as a whole? And when I finally did it, I honestly believed that people would see what had happened, think about how I had been treated, and that they would finally understand.
Not only did I want "bad" people to stop existing, and to stop hurting people, but I wanted the world to just THINK about and maybe understand how horrible it was. To understand how I had been treated so unfairly, and had to live my entire life looking over my shoulder waiting for the next skateboard to come swinging at me. When I had done absolutely nothing but be a little a different. Not even a lot different! Especially at first.
But I never did it. I never did anything of the sort, and I don't believe I ever truly let on that I wanted to. Not because I was afraid, at all. I've always been brave to a fault. I didn't have any way of obtaining a gun, that's for sure. MAYBE I could have if I had tried, I've always been very resourceful. But I never built any of the bombs that I had learned how to make, either. I never even just stole a car and plowed down a small crowd out in front of the school. That would have been very easy and satisfying.
I didn't do it because I knew better. I'm not void of rational thought. I had some insane thought processes, but I was not insane. I was able to understand consequences, and I was raised to think and be mindful. Like I said, I had never had any issues with depression. So I wasn't about to get myself shot, as I valued my life and looked forward to the future. No matter how badly I wanted them dead, it wasn't worth risking my own life.
I have a feeling that these kids who actually go through with it are thinking just about the same things that I was at that age. That these students and teachers honestly do deserve to die. Even if not, killing them should be a big enough shock to the world that they'll finally see the problem here. Someone will finally recognize them for all of their suffering, and all of the hell they've had to endure. "Holy shit. They must have really had a hard life to be pushed to this! Something needs to be done!" People will say, as they're watching the news at home.
But that's not what happens is it? We don't talk about the real reason for it. The mental health issue being brought up recently is a good start. But me? I didn't really have any mental health issues. I had no mental disorders, or dysfunctions beyond a lot of hormones. That wouldn't have stopped me, because it wouldn't have been a blip on the radar.
I'm not a parent myself, and I don't intend to have children. Definitely not any time soon. But I'm gonna say from my own personal experience as being a "would be school shooter," fixing this problem starts with fixing our schools, and fixing our fucking kids.
Were you bullied in school?
© 2018 Yamuna Hrodvitnir