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.