Thursday, April 19, 2007

Slightly Lighter Topic...

...OK, not really. But the last topic was probably too heavy and too vague to really discuss. So I'll try something different. The one thing the media keeps coming back to on this shooter in VA is how odd and different and morbid his thinking was... and it was. But many newscasters sat there in complete shock about his behavior and asked why more people didn't do anything about it. I sat there in disbelief, too. Do these people really know what modern schools and kids are like??? I went to school with 10-15 kids that acted like Cho did. Some of them did carry guns. Some of them would never look you in the eye. They wrote awful poetry and sick stories and kept to themselves or their small group of odd friends. I even befriended some of them later on because I, too, was in that "not accepted by normal people" group for awhile (probably not the smartest thing I ever did, but I'm pretty accepting of just about anyone who's willing to be friendly).

Chris Matthews on MSNBC told one of Cho's suite mates that in his day at college, they would never have put up with a roommate that never talked or never looked at them in the eye. "I guess you have much more respect for diversity than we did." I took that to mean he would have beat him up or changed rooms or reported him or something. I think anymore, we're so used to people being weird, slightly off or just plain out there that we don't pay it as much attention as we should. People not from this generation must not have an idea of how much anti-social people are out there in this modern world. And having been out of the school system for over 6 years and high school for over 10, I'm sure it's even stranger than when I was there. Oh sure, people would still get beat up physically or verbally for being odd in my HS days, but there was definitely a shift to just completely ignoring those same people in college.

I have a couple points to make from this observation:.
  • One, this world has definitely changed and is rapidly changing toward the worse. That has been obvious for quite some time.
  • Two, these kids that think and act this way are more and more turning inward until they block out everybody who reaches out to them, even in subtle ways except those who "understand them". Thus, they block out family and many times friends who genuinely want to help them and rather befriend angry, bitter kids who share the same viewpoint (Columbine boys), or worse, go completely loner on us (ala Cho or Ted Kaczynski). Most folks, in turn, don't pay attention to them because they're weird or because they say or do awful and strange things. I'll hear many of these kids repeatedly say, "I don't care," but you know they do. Otherwise they wouldn't be seeking the kind of attention they do. This cycle continues until a major lashing out occurs at a society they feel completely torn away from and mocked by. Analyze that last statement more carefully: they walk away from others and then get frustrated and angry when others don't try to understand them, care about them, follow them, etc. See how selfish that is? And yet, that is the very attitude that causes so many people to do their own thing and never return. It's a powerful Satanic device.
  • Three, (I feel like I should be using the numbered list now instead of bullets), what are you and I doing to reach out to these personalities? I'm a sucker for people that had to feel the same way I did growing up... Picked on, alone, etc. I wrote the occasional angry poem about rich kids and people's attitudes of superiority and snobbery. But even if we don't understand or relate to these people, we can still impact their lives. I remember a fairly popular guy in HS that would take the time to talk to me a few times just to be friendly. All the others usually ignored me or picked on me. But he showed me that people can be nice. What if you (I'm making the large assumption that you're "normal" and nice) did the same to someone strange to you? Maybe you'd give that person enough hope not to dive into selfish, inward, suicidal or even murderous rampaging behavior. People who have these tendencies need hope. They need solid friends. They're drowning in a sea of angst, anger and loneliness and need rescue. Perhaps we can't rescue them, but at least we can inspire them not to go completely over the edge.

So look out for the kids who never says anything to anyone or keep their distance... Say hi or smile at them even if they don't return it. Try to make them laugh or strike up a conversation. Keep at it. We all need friends and acquaintances, some are just better at making them than others.


buckblog said...

Part of the problem is that there are so many messed up kids now days either from horrible homes, mental conditions, drugs. It's impossible to determine which are dangerous and which aren't. Civil with them yes, friends no way.

The topic of why so many bizarre people is so complex yet people try to oversimplify it. It's one big goloush of bad homes, over medication, mental illness, society including the kinds of music, entertainment, television and movies, fear of lawsuits, general acceptance of anything as ok that there is no simple answer.

Mikeesee said...

It's true that there are many types of messed-up individuals in the world today, each probably requiring their own specialized form of treatment and counseling. However, I still feel that the overall problem lies with a lack of true values and active love towards most of these people, otherwise they wouldn't be taking drugs or having a terrible homelife. The results are similar... Once they've isolated themselves, either because the actions of parents, friends or church, etc., or because of their own decisions and/or paranoia, most won't take the time to reach out to these people because it's against our human nature to. We don't try to understand what we don't want to understand. It's somebody else's problem.

I was sent this article that kind of shows another way of looking at this whole mess (it's a tad philosophical, but it makes my point, sorta): Here. To summarize, the author states:

...think about violent crime. We automatically see murderers as immoral and place them in polar opposition to law enforcement officials. But the violence of people such as Cho, Black argues, is really part of the same family of behavior as the law.

"To most people, this will sound strange," he said. "Most violence is a way that people handle grievances. Violence is a species of social life in the same genus as law." [Think of how the British may have looked at the American revolters in the late 1700s versus our self-image of freedom fighters.]
Another Black theory is that the hierarchical relationships between perpetrators and victims predict how the law gets involved -- which not only explains why poor people who kill rich folk are likely to face harsher penalties than rich people who kill poor folk, but why rich people who kill one another are far more likely to face harsher punishment than poor people who kill one another.

If both homicidal violence and the law are seen as ways of resolving conflict, this also explains why homicide, which was once common in all echelons of society -- aristocrats regularly fought deadly duels -- has become rare today among people who are better off, says Mark Cooney, a Blackian sociologist at the University of Georgia.

Whereas psychologically based theories of behavior might seek to explain different rates of homicidal violence among groups as the result of innate differences (a conservative approach) or socioeconomic differences (a liberal approach), placing violence and the law in the same family suggests that the reason wealthy people are less likely to resort to violence nowadays is because the law mediates their conflicts. Poor people either do not have access to the law or see it as a source of harassment -- which is why they are more likely to fall back on violence as a form of "self-help."

Basically what he's saying is that people's moral compasses get off, and once they feel completely backed in a corner, they will resort to whatever devices are at their disposal. In the case of people that have access to it: the police and the justice system. In the case that believe the system is corrupt (and in many countries and communities, it can be): violence or revenge. I'm not saying it's right. Of course it's not right. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord," Isa. 55:8. Man's ways are corrupt, period, which is why some have major problems with man's laws. Surely taking things into your own hands is much worse since Christ told us to respect the laws of the land that don't go against His laws. But overall, all of man's ways are misguided.

That's where we need to press true, godly values and our hope on others so they will become more balanced, as God makes it possible for us to do so. That's the whole point of our future jobs in the Kingdom of God... To straighten out the morals, values and laws of this world. And one way we can shine our light now is by trying to reach out now, in whatever way we can. Granted, we may not be able to do much in our current state, but some of us have talents that can help. That's all I'm saying... Showing our Christian example to those we know, a smile, looking someone in the eye and saying hello to a perfect stranger may give them pause to think that maybe not everyone is so bad. Christ said to help those who can't help themselves and have mercy and compassion upon them. Just as He wanted to gather Israel together as a hen gathers her young when they were stoning prophets (Matt. 23:37), we should have the same desire to help others.

I'm done now...