Why It Happened

December 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm (By Realpc)

We do not know why it happened — I mean the school shooting the other day. There were some articles describing Lanza as being kind of strange — he was a very smart nerd who belonged to the technology club. He lived in his mother’s basement and played violent computer games. He wore different clothes than the other kids, and always carried a black briefcase.

And all this was said in a way that seemed to imply “Well no surprise he murdered 27 people — he looked and acted strange!”

I was shocked by the murders, of course, but I was also shocked by this reaction. Unpopular nerd playing violent computer games — well OF COURSE he went on a killing spree.

Can you see that there is absolutely no logic whatsoever in that line of thinking? And it’s outrageous, and insulting to every person who wasn’t the most popular kid in school.

And it’s dangerous, because people could lose their rights and freedoms, all because someone decided they were a little “odd” and therefore potentially a threat to society.

I saw posts on facebook saying that this type of kid should be diagnosed and showered with love and hugs, and that will prevent him from going beserk.

Well, for one thing, not every misfit wants to be showered with love and hugs. Being a little different is not a disease.

And there is no evidence whatsoever that I ever heard of that, if a person actually were a potential mass murderer, love and hugs would cure them.

We DO NOT KNOW why these things happen, and we don’t know how to prevent them.

I am concerned that now parents and teachers will be start rounding up all kids who are too different, or too smart, or too strange, and send them for psychiatric “treatment.” And psychiatric treatment now days means brain-numbing drugs.

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90 Comments

  1. Melinda said,

    I’ve seen everything blamed the past week: Guns, mental illness, feminism (I was personally waiting for that one with my dukes up :)), liberals, conservatives.

    The reasons are more reflective of the blamer than they are of anything else.

  2. mockturtle said,

    I agree with much of what you say, PC, but I also believe that some people need ‘brain-numbing drugs’. The problem is that they are relied upon to take them and they often don’t. There is, however, no evidence that this perpetrator was ever diagnosed with a mental illness as such or was on any psychotropic medications.

    Simply put, the responsibility for this tragedy lies with the shooter and no one else. There is much we can do to minimize glamorization of violence in our culture [are you listening, Hollywood?] and banning ‘assault weapons’ might help. I doubt it, though, because only sane, law-abiding people would obey the ban, anyway. The toothpaste is out of the tube. These weapons are out there and there is no eliminating them.

    Mass shootings are a way for an angry/disturbed/antisocial person to become famous–at least until the next massacre. :-( They are also reflective of a widespread social and spiritual deficit in our land.

  3. realpc920 said,

    mockturtle,

    Some people need brain-numbing drugs, but my post was about people who are somehow “different,” not about the mentally ill. I was saying that parents and teachers could over-react to this incident and start diagnosing everone who is not a complete conformist. I read some articles that talked about how Lanza acted and dressed differently from the other kids. The implication is that if you are not a conformist you might be mentally ill, and if you are mentally ill you might be violent.

    That is terribly unfair, because most non-conformists are not mentally ill, and most mentally ill people are not violent.

    And do we really want to teach kids that you must conform and dress and act and think like everyone else, or people will see you as a potential mass murderer? That is not what kids should be taught.

  4. realpc920 said,

    And I don’t think mass shootings are a sign of social and spiritual deficit in America. Mass shootings have increased, but they still are very rare. And other kinds of murder have decreased.

    And if you compare the present to our society one or two hundred years ago, we are less violent, not more.

    I don’t think the reason we are less violent is that we are getting any nicer, though. I think it’s because we have well organized and well-armed police forces.

    As for gun control — the politicians are all talking about it now, as if it really were the answer. It isn’t. A destructive suicidal person could do as much damage with a home-made bomb as with a gun.

  5. karen said,

    I’m really, really glad you posted this, real. I’ve been thinking of our bloghome and our ability to share and think(think and share)and put our feelings into words- what a blessing to have.

    I’ve been listening. I’ve become confused and hurt over this tragedy- the loss and the pain of others seems to affect me deeply,more so as i grow older, i think.

    I’m still listening- and have formed few conclusions for myself. Too much all at once- it’s like Price Chopper– all those damned colorful cans and never being able to find what i’m looking for- and i don’t want to lash out.w/only feelings, this time. there is so much at stake.

    I really appreciated the question of Jake Tapper(or is it jack?).
    “Mr President- this is not the 1st mass shooting to take place under your watch– where have you been?”

    “… i haven’t been on vacation.”

    Politics sucks, eh?

    Listening to nPr(love to play w/those 3 little letters-)w/Pastors and Professors pontificating(heh) and preaching(double heh)- still- no answer as to why.

    My guess… it’s all about the evil. Lanza’s website/page on Satan doesn’t help, either.

    It’s not his strangeness- it’s our blindness to things that we are told to be tolerant of as opposed to opposed- do not oppose. Elmo says this- Barney says this- all acceptable practices welcome. Who’s to say otherwise, in this nation of self-appointed professionals and experts(all my doubles are backwards- experts and professionals sounds better, but came out the other way 1st).

    Anyway- i could babble onward and eat the bandwidth(@ which i AM an expert in doing, after all these posting of my(w/preachings and pontification-ings:0)) but, it’s really late and i have got to wait until tomorrow to finish my thoughts.

    ps-
    maybe mass shootings are not a sign of the deficits of social and spiritual graces in the times- but- i believe there is a drouth of both in this society at this time- regardless of what causes this carnage.

    Pray. Even if to the wind.

  6. realpc920 said,

    I didn’t know Lanza had a web page on Satan, karen. That helps confirm what I already thought — that this was a case of demonic possession.

    But since our mainstream science and medicine deny the reality of anything spiritual, no one dares to mention this obvious possibility.

    I can’t mention it on the internet, except anonymously. Too bad our society is in such deep denial about spiritual realities.

  7. karen said,

    “According to a former classmate of Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook School shooter, had a webpage dedicated to Satan.
    The Daily Mail reported:

    The Sandy Hook gunman worshiped the devil and had an online page dedicated to Satan, a former classmate revealed, as his childhood barber recalls Adam Lanza never spoke and would stare at the floor every time he had his hair cut.

    Lanza’s worshiping page had the word ‘Devil’ written in red, Gothic-style letters against a black background, Trevor L. Todd told The National Enquirer, something which he said was ‘weird’ and ‘gave him the chills’.”
    ——————
    I found that on Gateway Pundit- which has a lot of stories missed in the media- taken w/a grain of salt, always. I don’t know if this is true- this story above, but it seems so-

    Does one have to be possessed by satan in order to do demonic things– or just obsessed w/him? One seems willful, one a victim.

    Remember, i’ve read all the Harry Potter books- obsessively:0)- and the choice between good and evil is the theme throughout.

    Also- there is a difference between being ~odd~& being ~off~. And it’s hard to distinguish the two- because i think we have been taught to over-ride instincts of the latter to accommodate the former. Which isn’t necessarily bad– just what we have been taught, i guess. I could be wrong, but i think of my living w/my schizophrenic brother- who could very well have killed someone(he held a store up at gunpoint, once and was jailed in a serious max prison for a few months before the whole mental health issues won out the criminal). He stole my folk’s car and my younger brother’s 22- we didn’t lock up our guns.

    Denial?

  8. karen said,

  9. karen said,

    … and this…

    http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/

    i think i may have found the stinky linky sticking point.

  10. karen said,

    Nope- it was an Anchoress link i was putting up and double the correia, instead. Damn technology.

  11. Donna B. said,

    A link some of you may have seen on Annie’s FB page:

    http://sociological-eye.blogspot.com/2012/09/clues-to-mass-rampage-killers-deep.html

    I found that explanatory, but didn’t glean much I thought would help in prevention.

    In Correia’s article, I found myself wondering why people don’t trust teachers to be armed. If I were a teacher, I think I’d be a little offended at that degree of lack of trust.

    On a somewhat less than serious note, I wonder if classroom behavior might improve if the students were wondering which of their teachers might be armed!

  12. realpc920 said,

    I thought the article about rampage killers was somewhat helpful in understanding the profile. I am not at all surprised that they are generally low status young males. Social status is all-important, to all of us, although hardly anyone seems to be conscious of it. Young males, especially, are genetically programmed for social climbing. And if they can’t find a way to get it, they could become extremely frustrated.

    But as the article points out, rampage killers are a tiny minority and the vast majority of social misfits and bullying victims never try to hurt anyone. That is sort of what I was trying to say.

    But I also believe in possession — which obviously our mainstream science and medicine deny is possible. I think possession is extremely common, but varies tremendously in kind and degree.

    The social reasons outlined in the article do not explain it. A certain type of demon might be attracted to this sort of young man.

    It is too bad our society has discarded the whole idea of possession, because it means we have absolutely no way to predict or prevent things like this.

    And it also means our medical and psychiatric abilities are severely limited.

    I will try to say what I mean by “possession.” It’s kind of like bacterial or viral infections (and might often co-occur with them, by the way). However, the invader is not a “physical” entity, but something outside what we consider to be our physical world.

    I think there are very common and routine forms of possession, that we all have. But there are also non-physical entities who love to cause human misery, such as the well-known Satan. And a school shooting is a very effective way to cause misery.

    The healthier and happier a person is, I would guess, the less vulnerable they are to possession. When we are physically run down we are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Well being run down and vulnerable might make us targets for various kinds of possession.

    Just some thoughts, no references provided, but I think I have good reasons for them.

  13. karen said,

    When you said you believed in ~possession~ i took it ot mean- gun possession. Until you explained.

    On Point= nPR had call ins and there was a a very upset ex-military amn w/a good PofV, IMhumbleO.

  14. realpc920 said,

    There is one other thing I want to say about that article — he says the gamers are at the low status extreme in high school:

    “Information-technology-obsessed “gamers” have become a recognized category among teenagers– a low status at the far end of the spectrum from the extroverts and athletes who dominate school and leisure activities.”

    I think that would only seem true if you are an extrovert who thinks all introverts are losers. It’s true we live in an extrovert-dominated society (that is not true of other societies in general).

    But the gamers are not really low status, except from the perspective of an extroverted athlete. The extroverts will go on to be salesmen, politicians, etc., but the introverts will be the guys who create all the technology the extroverts sell.

    There is nothing WRONG with being an introvert. Well, it is considered wrong in this society, but it isn’t really wrong. I’m an introvert, so this article — and others on the same subject — seem kind of offensive.

    Just about all the guys I work with are gamers, so I do know the type. I have never played a computer game and never will. But I have sympathy for the really smart guys who love computers.

    Anyway, I am trying to say that the fact that Lanza was a computer nerd is just not relevant. There are millions of computer nerds, but only a very small number of school shooters.

  15. mockturtle said,

    PC, have you ever read Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto by Anneli Rufus? She details what you describe. Good book! I borrowed it from a friend and also recommended it to my brother.

  16. wj said,

    We don’t know what causes these things, perhaps. But we do know what doesn’t cause them:
    1) It’s not psycholtic individuals, loners, introverts, etc, etc. Every country has them, and in rather similar numbers.
    2) It’s not violent computer games. Lots of other countries have more people playing them. If you graph the number of players vs. the number of mass killings, you get a relatively flat curve. Except (about the middle of the range of number of players) a wild outlier in the number of these mass killings which is the US. So, no correlation at all.

    If we are going to come up with a reason, we really have to look at a lot of different places. See what is strikingly different about the US (other than the number of mass killings) compared to all the varied other places. Anyone with data on something (other than the numbers and types of guns, exclusive of weapons kept at home by reserve military, e.g. the Swiss) please share.

    real said A destructive suicidal person could do as much damage with a home-made bomb as with a gun. Well, that’s true. But destructive suicidal persons do not seem to go for home-made bombs. (I’m excluding places where suicide bombing is seen as a “normal” tactic for warefare.) What we do see elsewhere is destructive suicidal persons running amok . . . with knives. Needless to say, their number of kills before being subdued by bystanders is far smaller than in the US.

  17. realpc920 said,

    Ok maybe more gun control would help, I don’t know.

  18. Donna B. said,

    Could you give me some examples of societies that are not extrovert-dominated?

    Being an introvert, I certainly agree there’s nothing wrong with it and I think you might be reading more into what the author of that piece was saying than he meant. For example — and thank goodness — he was speaking strictly of settings where immaturity dominates such as high school not our society in general.

    Though on most days, I might agree that immaturity dominates larger and larger segments of society every day…

  19. realpc920 said,

    Thanks mockturtle, I read a description of the book and it sounds interesting.

    I am not really a loner, since I need to have friends, but I probably do keep them at a distance. I don’t want anyone taking over my free time. The time I spend alone doing things I love is extremely valuable to me. It’s a little hard for me to understand people who need constant togetherness. And, of course, it’s very hard for them to understand me.

    I think that a gregarious person who can’t stand to be alone would have no patience for the things I spend time on. And they might tend to be conformists, since it’s easier to get along with people if you don’t have a lot of eccentric opinions.

    If your thinking is at all original, and if you are in some way creative, then you might have to be an introvert.

    So this might explain part of the reason I found so much of the post-massacre analysis disturbing. The extroverts are demonizing the introverts, almost trying to blame them for the most hideous acts of violence.

    I sometimes feel kinship with the gamers I work with, even though I am not one of them. They tend to be very logical and very skeptical. Also very funny. I hate seeing them stigmatized because of one maniac.

    And I had been thinking a lot lately, but before the massacre, that there are people who think there is something wrong with me because I am not extroverted.

    I have a relative who believes I am mentally retarded — I wonder how a mentally retarded person could get a Ph.D and be self-supporting.

  20. karen said,

    So- easy access to guns, wj?

    A friend of mine worked in a locked, all-male ward in a NY mental facility.
    She said that the changes that occurred during her time(approx. 30yrs)was astronomical due much to the efforts of the ACLU. It used to be male/female wards- then became co-ed. The people used to be separated due to severity of illness(& consequential violence)- until they were all lumped together. Finally, they were dispersed into homes& 1/2way housing… unless/until they committed crimes and then were put into prisons for the criminally insane. My friend had a co-worker she cared deeply for(also female)get killed by a right hook to the head. On the job. This patient is still in the system, in another facility- where his history was not know, somehow lost- until management was informed. great system, eh?

    I don’t know how other countries manage mental health. I don’t know how other countries treat mental issues- not from depression to schizophrenia to quitting smoking. Yet, according to my senses- there has been a back slide in mental health care in this country. $$$$ is rather spent senselessly on attack adds and lies about candidates running for various offices so they can become bigwigs that contribute to the quagmire of the vermin-infested swamp of Washington, where more $$$$ is senselessly spent on covering up lies that contribute to said swamp.

    We’re f*&ked.

  21. realpc920 said,

    karen, I do not think it matters how much is spent on mental health care. Psychiatry has not progressed in its understanding of mental illness. Most treatment involves drugging the patient to suppress symptoms.

    I think I know why psychiatry has not progressed. The most common form of mental illness is schizophrenia. There is little or no understanding in mainstream science and medicine about the cause.

    I’ve had several obsessive interests during my life, and one of them was trying to figure out what schizophrenia really is. I reached the conclusion that schizophrenics are the people who were considered shamans and prophets in ancient and primitive cultures.

    I thought I was the only one with that idea, but when the internet came along I found that lots of people have reached the same conclusion.

    The brain is not a generator of thoughts and consciousness, it is some kind of extremely complicated receiver and processor. One of its primary jobs is to screen out extraneous information.

    It is known in mainstream psychiatry that focusing, screening out information, is something schizophrenics have trouble with. They are not good at keeping information out, they are good at taking information in.

    Shamans can travel between our world and the spirit worlds. Prophets can communicate with super-physical beings.

    Moses of the Old Testament would be drugged if he were alive today. God was able to talk to him because he had the kind of brain that lets that kind of information in.

    A person who has a schizophrenic brain, in our society, is vulnerable to malicious non-physcical entities. There is nothing in our mainstream medicine, or in our society, that can help them learn how to use their special talents.

    So that is a long-winded answer to your complaint that not enough $ is spent on mental health. They could spend trillions more, but it would all go to improving the brain-numbing drugs. They would never for one second consider the spiritual dimensions of mental illness.

  22. realpc920 said,

    “Could you give me some examples of societies that are not extrovert-dominated?”

    One example I can think of right now is Asian societies. I have known a lot of Chinese people in the 20 or so years I worked in information technology. I often get along very well with Chinese introverts. They are used to Americans being loud and extroverted, and it’s probably a relief to find one who is not. According to something I read somewhere, shyness is considered a virtue in most Asian countries.

    While in the US, it is now a sign of mental illness.

    American introverts, like me, have to become fake extroverts to be accepted. I am getting kind of tired of that. I think I will start an introverts rights organization.

    I once read an anthropological study of some American Indian culture. It said they would not talk to anyone they had not known for several months. When a boy and girl started dating, they would be completely silent together, until after they had been on many dates.

    When I read that I realized I had been born into the wrong culture. Being an introvert is especially hard for American women — everyone expects us to be chatting cheerily all the time. When I was young, people always asked WHY are you so quiet?

    i learned that being quiet is abnormal and wrong. I learned to not be myself.

  23. realpc920 said,

    So I am glad we are having this conversation here. This is why I hated so much of the post-massacre analysis. The guy was shy and introverted, so OF COURSE he was a mass murderer.

  24. mockturtle said,

    The husband of a good friend of mine was hospitalized for more than a month in Western State Hospital here in WA back in the 1960’s. He was a popular and very bright high school teacher who became schizophrenic [my friend believed it had to do with his use of marijuana]. I went with her once to visit him and we were allowed to take him out to dinner. He kept looking at his watch, very concerned about getting back ‘on time’. It was clear that [very unlike his pre-morbid state] he felt secure in the institutional environment. When he finally was released, he rammed his car into a tree, committing suicide. At least he didn’t take anyone else with him but it was a sad end to a productive life and of course, my friend was devastated.

    Nowadays, it’s rare for someone in a mental meltdown to even be kept for a week. When I worked in an acute psych unit at a Seattle hospital, two weeks was the maximum–just enough time to get them back on their meds or ‘stabilized’.

    I know that most people with mental illness are not a danger to others but my heart aches for the families of some of the more violent and unpredictable patients because they simply don’t get the support they need and often live in fear. My daughter has seen several patients whose sons have committed violent crimes after the mother had begged the ‘professionals’ for years to lock up their dangerous offspring. Some people simply need to be in a secure environment for safety of others and safety from themselves.

  25. Donna B. said,

    wj… ways the U.S. is/might be different from other countries:

    1) Current and historically diverse population. Crime seems to increase in historically peaceful countries as their population diversifies through immigration. I got no data for that. I read it somewhere on the internet. It’s worth looking into.

    2) Another idea I read on the internet is that the U.S. got democracy “too early” in that it happened before governments were organized enough to sustain domestic policing to protect the populace, thus individuals were responsible for protecting their own property and needed weapons, etc. I think that’s just a more nuanced way of saying the 2nd Amendment is an anachronism and it doesn’t jive with my admittedly insufficient knowledge of history, but it was interesting enough that I remembered it.

    3) More freedom, more opportunity, and thus more pressure to succeed with less of a social safety net to soften failure. (The song “New York, New York” popped into my head just now. What happens when you can’t make it to the top of the heap and be king of the hill? And, btw, I’ve never liked that song much.)

    4) If, by “other countries” you mean the Anglosphere and Western Europe, then size and population density.

  26. Donna B. said,

    Maybe we’re using a slightly different definition of extrovert/introvert. For me it’s defined by a need to be alone, but I’m not particularly quiet or shy.

    The population density of most Asian societies scares the crap out of me. I hate crowds. Large social gatherings (more than 10 people) drain my energy — even if it’s people I love dearly. I enjoy them while I’m there, but I need time alone to re-energize. Extroverts are energized by the social activity.

    As for Asians, I’m most familiar with Filipinos and Koreans and there are definitely both extroverts and introverts among them. The only Japanese person I know is definitely an extrovert.

    Might be one of those YMMV sort of things.

  27. mockturtle said,

    I’m with you, Donna. One to three people are fine once in a while but any more than that—let me out! While I do like people, I need and value time alone more than does the average person. Everyone in my birth family is like that, so maybe it has a genetic component. Our household was sedate and quiet, so too much noise, chatter and sensory stimulation grate on my nerves even now. Maybe a lot of it has to do with what we were accustomed to in childhood.

  28. wj said,

    karen, I don’t know. More guns is one way America is different. But certainly not the only one. Another would be the amount of training that someone, say in places like Canada or Switzerland which also have fairly high rates of gun ownership, has to get before they can get a gun.)

    As Donna notes, we have a way more diverse population than most. On the other hand, most of the mass killings we see do not, from what I can see, involve violence against other parts of a diverse population. Also, we actually do better at integrating immigrants than most other countries I am familiar with. By the second (or at most third) generation, how do you tell how many generations back someone’s ancestors arrived? Family name, and maybe physical (not clothing!) appearance. But beyond that…?

    It is a big country physically. But no bigger than Australia or Russia. And not that much bigger than Brazil, for example.

    And parts of it are densely populated. But I would point out that the mass killings don’t seem to crop up in the most densely populated areas. Instead we see them in moderate size towns and suburbs.

    As for the US getting democracy too early, that may well be true — at least for some areas of the US, policing took a while to catch up to the spreading population. But if that was the core of the problem, wouldn’t we have seen it cropping up earlier? I mean, we didn’t see mass killings in kindergartens, or even high schools, back in the day when policing was still catching up.

    P.S. I can’t resist noting the suggestion that Mr. LaPierre of the NRA (and others) have recently put out that the solution is to have an armed guard in every school. If I recall correctly, there was an armed guard on campus at Columbine. Didn’t seem to be much of a solution that time anyway.

  29. realpc920 said,

    Donna, I did not mean that everyone in an extroverted society is extroverted, or that everyone in an introverted society is introverted. I meant that diffferent societies tend to prefer different personality types.

    The US definitely prefers extroverts. Probably very different in England, where people are more reserved.

    I learned as a child that it was not ok to be reserved so I learned how to act outgoing. But I need time alone.

    I think most introverts are friendly, but we don’t need constant noise and constant talking. We like to have a chance to think.

  30. realpc920 said,

    Well anyway, I didn’t like some of the things I saw on fb and in the news. I felt that Democrats were blaming this on the Republicans. Because Republicans love guns and aren’t loving, they bring hatred into the world and inspire kids to become mass murderers.

    As we know, Democrats are all peaceful and loving and they all get along perfectly with each other.

  31. wj said,

    realpc, I think the best definition I have come across for introverts and extroverts is this:
    Extroverts gain energy being around lots of others.
    Introverts expend energy being around lots of others.

    In most cases, either one can cope with being in a crowd or being alone. But their preference comes from how much it costs them to be in the situation which they do not prefer.

  32. mockturtle said,

    That’s very well put, wj.

  33. karen said,

    “As we know, Democrats are all peaceful and loving and they all get along perfectly with each other.”

    Hehe- real made a funny.

    As for the introvert, extrovert thing- i’m not shy, but i do get so tired-emotionally- from being in an are w/a lot of people, even if i’m not interacting w/them. I think, for me- it’s a little paranoia. Crowded areas make me nervous. I can converse, be pleasant, but i worry i’ll say something wrong or something will come out wrong(& it does,a t times).

    Writing, OTOH- is a blessing because i can reread the words and backspace the tone if i don’t like it.

    My husband is very reserved- but, not cold- if that makes sense. He’s quiet and his sense of humor is wry and dry. Which sounds like the name of a really cool drink:0).

    Why target little ones- 6-7 yrs old? Innocent lambs- full of promise and life. Lanza was beyond the promise, in his mind-possibly. Taking away the promise of others because he was aware of his deficits adn maybe unwilling to try to change. Denial for him, too? A lethal temper tantrum.

    I had heard his Mom was going to have him committed-which takes a court order and a lot of $$$$. Friends of our had to go that route, and he has proven to be unsound after being observed in a mental facility. VT’s state hospital was wrecked in Hurricane Irene and as far as i kow- hasn’t been replaced. My brother spent a time in that hospital- and he is able to live extremely well in society thanks to his prescribed drugs. I’ve seen the before/after of his behaviour on/off meds- and it is a miracle the difference of a balanced brain in my big brother.

  34. karen said,

    Ron- leaving you a quick note in here to let you know that my youngest has become attached to your well-being and is praying for you:0). We take that picture tonight- 6 of us.

  35. Donna B. said,

    wj – for population density and land mass — Brazil is the closest match to the U.S. Australia and Canada are close to each other in both measures, but close to the U.S. only in land mass. You got me looking for differences and that’s one of the ones I thought to check. It’s the only one on my list above from hard cold data.

    I also noted above that as an introvert, the population density of Asian countries scared me. The UK is densely populated as well. (I was not all that comfortable there. I also felt closed in by some of the geography in Scotland although it was gorgeous.)

    There has been research done on population density and violence and I’ll have to find it. My very vague memory of it is that density does change behavior but not necessarily toward more violence. Perhaps high population density contributes to social pressure toward politeness? Could that resemble introversion on the surface?

    You note mass killings happen in moderately populated towns and suburbs. Along with asking what’s different about the U.S., perhaps we need to look at what’s similar about the places within the U.S. where these have happened. I suspect there is more to the similarity than the widely spread meme that they all happened in Gun Free Zones.

    You also noted that the U.S. is better at integration of immigrants than most countries. I agree and I think one reason for that is practice — that’s what I meant by historically diverse. Even the indigenous populations in the U.S. are more diverse than in other countries. We’ve assimilated the cultural DNA of many countries and peoples.

    RE: The armed guard at Columbine didn’t help. Nope, because he likely was there to monitor drug-related activities. The accepted police procedures in place at that time didn’t help either.

  36. Donna B. said,

    Karen, I’ll have a wry and dry!

  37. realpc920 said,

    It is very hard to compare rates of mass murder in different countries, since the rates are low everywhere.

    Maybe it depends on access to automatic guns. A destructive person could use dynamite, or whatever. But maybe they prefer guns.

    I’m sure this kind of violence is not related to population density. I don’t know if it is related to being introverted, or autistic, or some other disorder.

    I really don’t think anyone knows, they are just desperate to find an explanation so they can prevent it from happening again..

    There is no reason for it, it’s just crazy and random, so of course everyone is scared. I understand the reaction, but none of the analyses make sense to me.

    I do believe that demonic possession can occur, but most Americans don’t believe in anything supernatural. Even if they are supposedly religious, most of them don’t.

    We have become a real flatland.

  38. mockturtle said,

    PC, I do believe in demonic possession. I think it’s rare but I also think that dabbling in the occult, devil-worship, etc. [which has been the case with several of these mass shooters, including the latest] makes one vulnerable.

  39. realpc920 said,

    mockturtle,

    It depends how you define “demon.” If you mean an extremely anti-human being like what we call Satan, then I agree it is rare. But “demon” can also mean any kind of spirit.

    I think possession by spirits is just as common as physical infections by bacteria, viruses, etc.

    Our mainstream medicine is fixated on certain things, and is not able to shift its focus at all. Even though they know that electricity, for example, is essential to how our bodies function, they don’t pay much attention to it.

    And, in my opinion, there are an infinite number of energies and fields still unknown to our science (alternative science has a concept of biological energy, for example).

    I have no reason to doubt that possession occurs and is a very common, if not the most common, cause of many mental and physical ailments.

    Modern psychiatry separated itself from all previous theories of mental illness, by saying that possession is not ever, cannot ever be, the cause.

    M. Scott Peck is a psychiatrist who believes in demonic possession, and wrote a book about it — People of the Lie. But of course he has left the mainstream.

    Until our modern medicine changes course — and I doubt it ever will — there will be no in depth understanding of mental or physical disease in our society.

  40. mockturtle said,

    While I worked on the psych floor, there were a few patients whom many of the staff considered demon-possessed. This was purely off the record—no one ever charted ‘demonic possession’ as the diagnosis, for obvious reasons. And, since it doesn’t have a DSM code, it wouldn’t get reimbursed. ;-D There are some codes pertaining to dissociative disorders where a person believes himself/herself to be dominated by another entity but I don’t see that as possession.

    Yes, ‘evil spirits’ are the same as demons.

  41. realpc920 said,

    No, I don’t think “demon” originally meant an evil spirit, just a spirit.

  42. Donna B. said,

    The challenge wj presented was to think of things that made the U.S. different — population density, historic population diversity, legal gun ownership, etc., are just a few of those things. I doubt any one thing can be isolated as a cause, perhaps not even several things.

    But there might be some insight to be gained from identifying things that are correlated with them. The article I linked to was that sort of exercise. The things I mention are other possibilities. It’s entirely possible that population density of the locations where these have happened may be related to services available… or not.

    As for possession by spirits — if I believed that was possible (and you know I don’t, but please don’t try to convince me it is and I won’t try to convince you it isn’t) I would wonder if what might drive someone to such horrendous acts might be a “lack of spirit”. Perhaps panic that something essential one once possesed was gone, or the feeling that one lacks what they perceive everyone else has.

  43. realpc920 said,

    Donna, you might want to say why you think possession is impossible. Most of us have been brainwashed to believe there are no ghosts or spirits, nothing beyond the “physical” world.

    No one told us how they know this, we were simply told as children, that these things are not real.

    So is you opinion based on some kind of evidence, or merely on a feeling that spirits cannot exist. If it’s just a feeling, there is a good chance you have never questioned the brainwashing and wondered if it’s true.

  44. mockturtle said,

    What difference does it make if someone doesn’t believe in spirits? Some do, some don’t. PC, sometimes I think you just like to argue. ;-)

  45. realpc920 said,

    Donna disagreed with me, and did not give any reason.

    What difference does it make what anyone believes? Well we could say that about everything and stop talking altogether. Everyone believe whatever you like, don’t give a reason, and let’s not talk about it. Best way to prevent arguments.

    But this is a blog, not a family holiday celebration. I thought the purpose here was to have discussions.

    If Donna didn’t like to argue, why would she claim to disagree with me and not give any reasons?

  46. realpc920 said,

    Besides, mockturtle, I am especially interested in how we get brainwashed by our culture to believe or disbelieve certain things. So many of the things we “know” for certain, are just irrational ideas that we soaked up from our cutlure.

  47. karen said,

    Ok- since real is talking ~brainwashing~… something of interest was discussed @ our Christmas today. I’d like to share:0).

    My nephew received his 1st ~boy~ version of the Guardisil shot the other day. My SinLaw felt forced into agreeing to get this ~preventative SHOT(A SERIES OF 3)(damn caps locked up)the doc followed her to the waiting room and conducted a conversation stating how these shots were free, blahblahblah. She regrets her decision, and my sister is an RN and had a few things to say about these really new and ~untried~ vaccinations and the talk came round to brainwashing of the younger set of kids in the schools. How it’s a (Liberal) way(my UNpolitical sister has a greater opinion when her Faith is dissed) to drive a wedge between parents/parental control… and their kids and giving the teachers more of a sway in the information the kids receive.

    Also, scheduling so many events on the weekends now– all kinds of sports or dance or drama- and how this interrupts a building up of family. Especially on… Sundays:0). Faith- which supports the growth ~of that something essential that we all do possess and is nourished in community w/other brothers and sisters(etc and i could go onandon:0). Wouldn’t this account for Donna’s comment…

    “I would wonder if what might drive someone to such horrendous acts might be a “lack of spirit”. Perhaps panic that something essential one once possesed was gone, or the feeling that one lacks what they perceive everyone else has…”

    When you a have a hole inside of you and you seek to fill it w/things that don’t nourish- then you are left empty and wanting for more more. More what? I believe if you don’t have a positive, then you risk a negative.

    And satan banks on that.

  48. mockturtle said,

    Couldn’t agree more, Karen!

  49. Donna B. said,

    real, I didn’t give a reason because I’m not interested in arguing with you. I thought you might have something interesting to say about a “lack of spirit”. If not that’s fine with me.

    karen, that’s close to what I was thinking, but the phrase “Hell is the absence of God” was probably what inspired the idea. Of course, believing that denies that God is everywhere.

  50. mockturtle said,

    From Blaise Pascal: What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there
    the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.
    [Pascal, Pensees #425]

  51. realpc920 said,

    Donna,

    If you didn’t want to argue, why would you state an opinion without giving any reason for it?

  52. realpc920 said,

    mockturtle,

    I don’t know if that is true of everyone, but it is true of some of us. I thought spiritual desires were universal, but there are so many modern people who seem not to need anything spiritual in their lives. Or maybe they are pretending? Or maybe all the gadgets and things keep them distracted?

    It is not easy to quite our minds and be aware of our spiritual needs. It’s so much easier to be distracted and addicted.

    I do think some of us are born more sensitive and spiritual than others. Any society needs warriors and extroverts, as well as introverts and seekers.

    I read some articles recently saying that atheism is becoming more popular and more acceptable. Maybe because of Dawkins’ New Atheists movement, and the political defeat of Intelligent Design.

    I wonder how this will affect people emotionally. If you’re an atheist and your friends and family let you down, where can you turn?

  53. realpc920 said,

    karen, I don’t see why anyone would become a mass murderer just because they felt empty and didn’t have religious faith. I think they might become a drug addict or compulsive gambler, or something like that. But shooting a classroom of young children is not just a way to feel some excitement.

  54. Donna B. said,

    real, I stated what I believe in order to not misrepresent myself as believing in something that I do not and I also stated that I did not wish to engage in a discussion to persuade or dissuade your beliefs.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t have to believe in something to find discussing it interesting. And vice versa: I believe in dog shit, but have absolutely no desire to discuss it.

  55. LouiseM said,

    But shooting a classroom of young children is not just a way to feel some excitement.

    From my point of view, shooting a classroom of young children is excellent way to generate an ginormous amount of deep pain and intense anguish– in others. That he could murder his sleeping mother, leave that mess behind, and proceed to another location to kill multiple children suggests an enormous disconnect within a brain otherwise capable of enough function to plan and execute these deaths along with own.

    I don’t know what drove the shooter to act as he did. Whether his behavior was prompted by chemical/brain imbalances or inner demons of one kind or another, the end result of his action was Pain Made Real. Humans other than himself were forced by his behavior to suffer fear and loss at the highest level.

    I’m confused by reports that the shooter experienced difficulty feeling, had cut himself to see what he could feel, yet didn’t like being touched by others. If these reports are true, it sounds as if he was capable of feeling something (the displeasure or discomfort of touch) yet was somehow disconnected from a deeper awareness of pain.

    Whatever his issues involved, this person was a 20 year old legal adult. Not a teenager. Not a boy. Not a kid. He was old enough to legally work, participate in contracts, vote, marry, give sexual consent, and join the military. Old enough to live where he wanted, do what he wanted and wear whatever he damn well pleased.

    That he may not have been functionally or emotionally capable of engaging in the effort, responsibility, relationships, decision making and social exchanges required to participate in those types of activities would, to my way of thinking, be a strong indicator of something more concerning than a little “odd” or “kind of strange” behavior.

  56. karen said,

    Louise: word.

    “karen, I don’t see why anyone would become a mass murderer just because they felt empty and didn’t have religious faith.”
    Ergo-
    “When you a have a hole inside of you and you seek to fill it w/things that don’t nourish- then you are left empty and wanting for more. More what? I believe if you don’t have a positive, then you risk a negative.”

    And satan banks on that.”

    “Of course, believing that denies that God is everywhere.”

    God IS everywhere, but we can refuse to choose Him(choose to refuse Him)- which(IMhumbleO)- leaves us wanting. I wonder if your statement, “Hell is the absence of God” pertains more to the Afterlife, when Hell would be the absence of the love of God… and since God IS love, then… the absence of God.

    For eternity.

  57. realpc920 said,

    I agree that Hell is the absence of the love of God. We can’t even begin to imagine what that feels like. Even the most devout atheist is surrounded and filled by the love of God (although they are not consciously aware of it).

  58. realpc920 said,

    God is everywhere, and the opposite of God is everywhere. Nothing can exist without its opposite existing also.

  59. realpc920 said,

    LouiseM,

    I have heard of a lot of young men who still live in their parents house, and spend their time playing computer games. They are probably discouraged by the lousy economy.

    Lots of young adults are unable to grow up and start families and careers, but that doesn’t mean there is anything seriously wrong with them. Everything is so expensive, and it’s so hard to make money. Especially for someone with no experience.

    And if they can’t afford to go to college — and who can? — it’s even harder. So the fact that Lanza lived in his mother’s basement is not so unusual, not a sign of what he would do.

    Being unable to feel, on the other hand, is kind of unusual. And if he really worshiped Satan, that sure is a bad sign.

  60. LouiseM said,

    I equate growing up with becoming functionally and emotionally capable of engaging in the effort, responsibility, relationships, decision making and social exchanges required to productively participate in age appropriate activities. In this case, age appropriate activities include the ones granted 18 year olds as their legal right in US society.

    While a lousy economy may factor in to a young person’s ability to begin a career, purchase a home, or consider starting a family; it does not render them incapable of maturing, or leave them “unable to grow up”, much less start families or involve themselves in some type of work involving participation and skill building if not provision.

    Regardless of whether or not a young adult lives in a parent’s basement, or goes to college, the signs indicating healthy growth and maturation in an 18 year old involve a readiness and willingness to put forth effort, accept responsibility, engage in relationship, apply reason, weigh decisions, and make use of basic social skills.

    From what I’ve read, it appears as if the 20 year old shooter wasn’t anywhere close to capable in those areas.

    Being a little different is not a disease; being a lot different in the critical areas of behavior necessary for basic adult function is a significant aberration.

  61. mockturtle said,

    The military used to be a training/transitional experience for young men not ready for college or career. But clearly it’s not the proper place for truly disturbed individuals. It seems to me that little is expected of our young people today. Their lives often consists of non-stop entertainment and self-indulgence. Where are the maturing forces? Who/what is shaping their character?

  62. realpc920 said,

    I agree mockturtle. Parents are letting their adult kids use the economy as an excuse. If they are mentally and physically normal, they could be in the military. But a lot of parents are pacifists, or afraid their kids will get hurt.

    LouiseM: No matter how immature a person might be, immaturity is never, that I know of, a cause of going on a killing spree. This case involved a lot more than immaturity.

  63. LouiseM said,

    Immaturity wasn’t the term I used, realpc920; “significant aberration” was.

  64. realpc920 said,

    LouiseM, you said that failure to take on adult responsibilities indicates a significant aberration. My point was that there are many young adults in that kind of situation, and almost none of them commit violence.

    So Lanza’s problems, however significant, are not usually predictors of this kind of violence.

    I have not yet read anything that really seems to explain it.

    We could also speculate on what makes someone a serial killer — maybe there are similarities. I don’t know of anything in modern psychology that can explain that either.

  65. Donna B. said,

    Modern psychology (or psychiatry or neurology or whatever as it exists today) can’t explain the aberrations that lead to senseless (or what ‘normal’ people term senseless) killings. The older and ancient ones aren’t much help either where prevention is concerned.

    Not all the mass killings in the recent past can be attributed to mental illness as currently defined by psychology — and the fact that the mental illness is defined by an intellectual process rather than biological facts is the ignored elephant in the room where psychology/psychiatry is concerned.

    I would be much more open to the idea of spiritual possession if I didn’t have such a long history of dealing with traumatic brain injury, strokes, brain tumors, and most recently, hydrocephalus.

    What we can do is profile these killers that (so far) defy understanding. And… that’s all we can do. Gather information. It’s fortunate for us all that the information is sparse — no one would hope for more mass killings so that we might gain information would they?

    We are grasping at straws and the easily reachable straws are guns and mental illness. At the very least, I would suggest that we look at the issues of anger and suicide and the relationship between the two.

  66. Donna B. said,

    Despair. It’s not the same as anger. Where suicide is concerned, I think there are three causes — anger, despair, and a toxic combination of the two.

  67. LouiseM said,

    At the very least, I would suggest that we look at the issues of anger and suicide and the relationship between the two…Despair. It’s not the same as anger. Where suicide is concerned, I think there are three causes — anger, despair, and a toxic combination of the two.

    Yes. At first, I didn’t know what Karen meant when she wrote, “LouiseM:Word” ( #56). With google as my friend, I can now write “DonnaB:Word” with confidence and sincerity.

    The other word that came up as I read about anger and despair issues with regard to suicide, was rage. From my point of view, suicide appears to involve an inward turning toward death, with the heaviness of despair ultimately overwhelming even the anger, while violence acted out on another to cause their death seems to be more heavily imbued with rage. The two forms of rage I’ve witnessed appear opposite, one has an explosively hot, violent, out of control and abusive presentation, while the other involves a coolly detached, manipulative, calculated and profoundly cruel form of acting out. I’ve also seen this to be true: Raging offers a false sense of empowerment to an
    individual who feels inadequate and in turn uses the rage to shut down the other individual.

    When I look at the planning, intensity and deliberately focused violence involved in the destruction the shooter wrought at Sandy Hook, I see both forms of rage. What produced and induced this rage and why it was exponentiated and acted out to the degree that it was are the unanswered questions for me.

  68. karen said,

    I found it interesting that Adam used his older brother’s ID, so that there was confusion about who he, Adam, really was. I think Adam was not who he wanted to be. He was aware, but also lacked either the will/tools to change or made the choice not to.

    There’s a boy in my 13yr old daughter’s class who is anti-social- even dismissive and rude. I told him maybe if he’d try to be nicer-people would react differently to him and be more ready to accept his attempts. He answered-“i know how to be nice, i just choose not to.”

    Blew me away, a bit. He’s a kid in his own techie world- on the laptop and into games. Not open to conversation much, and can have a temper. I’m not diagnosing him, but observing because i have him in my car for 1/2hr e/day. Only once did he join in the games of the truck– he had gotten Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans as a Christmas gift last yr and had so much fun sharing w/the other 3- because the flavors were ~dirty diaper~ and ~puke~ and all gross things. We laughed so hard, and he was the one who brought the fun.

    He makes me wonder, though.

  69. mockturtle said,

    Choice. We’re not so much products of the hands we’ve been dealt as of the choices we make.

  70. LouiseM said,

    Karen, I’ve a close relative who reveals some Asperger type symptoms. He too is a nerd. What he has going for him (from my POV) is a sense of trust in the humans closest to him (parents/family and a mentor at work), an ability to laugh and enjoy moments of fun (along with an odd but predictable sense of humor) a steady and deep connect with animals (easier to care for and more predictable than humans when it comes to loyalty and returned affection), and a strong appreciation for the beauty and order in nature. He also has found a place to use and apply his unusual intelligence in a way that is useful and valued by others. All this doesn’t mean he won’t go off the track or encounter seemingly insurmountable difficulties later in life, but there seems at present, to be a sense of autonomy, purpose, connection and secure base. (Something I am not seeing manifest in the info coming out about the shooter.)

    In my view, deep inner pain (the kind that can be experienced as or give way to anger, rage and despair) is often the result when the following human needs go unmet for a prolonged period of time or are disrupted due to physical or emotional trauma:

    Need for Security,
    Need for Understanding
    Need for Purpose
    Need for Significance
    Need for Belonging

    That said, there’s no doubt in my mind that chemical, physical, mental and genetic factors also have a profound effect on behavior and choice making.

    .

  71. LouiseM said,

    Hah! I found something for you, Karen, the gift of a Christmas/New Year sticky note for your mind if not your wall. I am sorting books for a Goodwill run on Monday, and was going through a box of art books when I happened to turn over The Magic Mirror of M.C.Escher to find this quote from him on the back of the jacket:

    “Wonder is the salt of the earth”

    Which paired in my mind with the other more personal salt of the earth pronouncement, even more crystalline and multi-sided..

    Sometimes wonder is the least we can do, sometimes it’s the most. Maybe there are times when it serves as a form of prayer, an opened door to That Which is Beyond Understanding.

    Whatever the case, I liked finding the quote, bumped to think about it because of your comment!

  72. karen said,

    Again, Louise… word. :0)

    That is how i see this kid- but, his mom has never said anything– and i sure as hell won’t. Not my business. I grew up w/a lot of kids w/issues– was one, too. My friend, Vernon- wore only green, every day and had incontinence issues. He played well w/littler kids– and i never wondered about him in terms of hidden rage. He was a gentle soul.

    I’m not so sure about this one above– and he strikes out when frustrated. Hitting is something to be outgrown, IM(humble)O. Yet, i don’t think he’ll be lost in the shuffle since his folks are stellar.

    Althouse had a really interesting post a little while ago about the #s behind gun deaths and she questioned suicide deaths, as well. I never thought the way she had about all the other ~why~ to not be here other then sadness and frustrated despair.

    Will be spending jan 5th w/the InLaws- walking the walk of our Faith. I surely don’t want to go, but my husband is so tired of the friction- he’s a much better person than i. Pray for me. When i went to confession on the 10th- i told the priest i was afraid and he smiled w/love- i could feel his love(weird, huh?)and said that God says ~Be not afraid~ 364x in the Bible:0).

    ~sigh~

  73. wj said,

    What strikes me repeatedly is that most people seem to get causation backwards.

    It isn’t (in my opinion anyway) so much that we now have nerds who are (or become) anti-social types. It is that some of the anti-social types which we have always had can function more or less within society as nerds. Whereas in the past they all pretty much had to strike out for the frontier in order to be able to cope.

  74. LouiseM said,

    Karen, I will keep you in heart and mind, asking for the healing power of Light and Love to strengthen, uphold and be with you as you go forward to meet with your in-laws this week.

    I liked hearing how you felt the love the priest was conveying when he smiled.

    Last week I was reading about deception and how it harms relationship and was surprised when I came across (on the wiki) the four other forms it takes, besides lies. The five primary forms listed include:

    Lies: making up information or giving information that is the opposite or very different from the truth.
    Equivocations: making an indirect, ambiguous, or contradictory statement.
    Concealments: omitting information that is important or relevant to the given context, or engaging in behavior that helps hide relevant information.
    Exaggerations: overstatement or stretching the truth to a degree.
    Understatements: minimization or downplaying aspects of the truth.

    What surprised me was the awareness of how prevalent forms 2-5 were in my religious family of origin, where lying was regarded as wrong and sinful but the other four forms were practiced with impunity. Those forms of deception continue to taint our extended family interactions to this day, making honest relationship and open communication difficult. Becoming clear, confident and centered in the midst of this has been a process. The road to healing for myself and immediate family began seven years ago this January, when I first recognized Grace and Truth in balance, to be the epitome of Love–the perfect kind that casts out fear. May you be aware of and walk in that balance this week.

  75. realpc920 said,

    wj, the smart kids who studied were always considered nerds. The popular kids have less patience with studying.

    Now some of the smart nerds get interested in computers. In my opinion, there is absolutely no connection between being a nerd and being a mass murderer, or any kind of criminal. None.

    These shootings occur very seldom so the sample is too small to generalize from.

    There are a few more in the US than other countries, but because of the statistical margin of error that difference could be completely meaningless.

    So this horrible incident happened, and the shooter happened to be a nerd (as well as immature and probably mentally ill), so people start looking sideways at all nerds.

    That was the original reason I wrote this post. Einstein was probably a nerd when he was a kid. Ridiculous to make the nerd – mass shooter connection.

  76. mockturtle said,

    Where I went to high school, many, if not most, of the popular kids were also academic leaders. There were also nerds, mostly by virtue of their apartness and nonconformity to fashions and interests. They didn’t tend to participate in school functions. I had friends in both camps and, to my knowledge, not one of them grew up to be a mass murderer.

    Look at serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy. Both were very social types, gregarious, joined clubs, got involved in community affairs, etc.

    There is no litmus test.

  77. LouiseM said,

    What is a nerd? A smart kid who studies? Someone interested in computers? What definition would the people who might “start looking sideways at all nerds” as a result of this incident be using?

    IMO, to reduce this discussion to whether or not the shooter was a nerd or “immature” (not my word) is to miss or gloss over the clues and significant aberrations he did present. Nerd, dork, dweeb or geek, he doesn’t appear to have had any substantial identity or attachment..

    What I see when I look at the information currently available, is a 20 year old adult male who appears to have been disconnected from himself, his feelings, other humans including close family members, and societal responsibilities. As for any connection to Higher Power or a source of Light, rumor has it that he’d been involving himself in sites devoted to Satanic interests, but that has yet to be verified. At this point, it seems to me as if he did not have a sense of real connection and belonging with any person, place or living thing. This complete lack of connect and ability to function in the most minimal way with others and realize worth, purpose and identity, goes way beyond nerdishness and immaturity, regardless of which definitions are used.

    Another sign of something off or outside of healthy function involves the two year disconnect/emotional cut-off between him and his brother (and father?). Whatever happened there to create such distance, would to my thinking qualify as a significant rift.

    Humans can survive and overcome horrendous adversity and deep rifts, but doing so when they’ve no relationship of value or place to connect in their lives takes more tools than the shooter appears to have had in his box. Those who experience chemical imbalances (with, without, or because of drugs/medication used) or brain function differences on top of major family and behavioral issues have even more to handle. While there’s no excuse for what the shooter did and the pain he perpetrated, his final acts do not appear to me to be totally random or without roots

  78. wj said,

    real,
    Like many, I suffer from theblindness of my upbringing. My school did have some kids who were smarter than everybody else, and some who were more popular than others. But we didn’t have nerds in the sense that you use the term.

    But then, it was a small town where the local “hoods” (in their, and in the community’s, view of who they were) hung out in the evenings at the public library. And studied. (They’d take the occasional break, and go out in the parkin glot and rev the engines of their cars. Then come back in and study some more,) Not, perhaps, surprisingly, the year after high school graduation, upwards of 98% of my class was in college or community college. It wasn’t a pressure thing, as we sometimes hear about today. It was just what everybody did.

    I guess that, in that situation, it would be hard to have nerds in your sense. But it would have been entirely possible to have kids who were anti-social and couldn’t cope. Did we? I honestly don’t remember any. But then, my level of awareness of the social world around me never has been all that high.

  79. realpc920 said,

    We can’t define the word “nerd” exactly. Different people define it differently. My point was/is that being odd or different or not fitting in well with any group is not associated with this kind of crime.

    Maybe Lanza could be labeled a sociopath? I don’t know if that helps any.

    No one has ever figured out what causes someone to kill or torture innocent victims just for fun. I did read a psychological theory of sadism that made a lot of sense to me. It said we all have an instinct for violence, which we sometimes need to defend ourselves or our social group. All animals have some kind of self-defense instinct, and predators also have a hunting instinct.

    So the theory said that the violence instinct depends on temporarily turning off our natural empathy and compassion. If you are hunting for food, you can’t suddenly feel sorry for your prey, no matter how cute it looks.

    So we all have the ability to turn off compassion if necessary, and we all have violent survival instincts (not used much in our society now because we are under powerful military control).

    Any instinct can be a source of pleasure, including the violence instinct.

    In some mammal species, including ours, the males are much more violent than the females, because the males are usually responsible for defending the group’s territory and for hunting. Females can be violent, of course, but mostly in defending themselves or their babies.

    So lots of young men have a violence instinct that they can’t use in our modern police-controlled society. Hunting is not necessary for survival anymore.

    The violence instinct is under control for most of us, but it might get out of wack for some individuals.

    So that theory could partly explain sadists and serial killers, and mass shooters. I think possession could also be part of it.

  80. karen said,

    ~Understanding How Modern Liberals Think~
    a video i found…

  81. kngfish said,

    Hey folks…just popping back to say hello….I may be in and out for awhile, but I want you to know I’m still here.

  82. mockturtle said,

    I’m glad you are! How’s it going

  83. kngfish said,

    not too well, I’m afraid.

  84. karen said,

    I’m sorry, Ron. Please keep your chin up- and know that we love you and are praying for an answer that is- better than you can imagine.

  85. Spud said,

    Understanding How Modern Liberals Think
    a video i found
    Karen

    You sure have a hard time with liberals, don’t you Karen.

  86. karen said,

    Heh.

    I was just skipping from Althouse to Insta- to view the top 20 Liberals of 2012, and this was a video in the corner. I saw only a small portion before i listed it here- and i watched it today in full.

    I think it helped me to better understand, but i’m not any happier:0).

    Up is down.
    Dark is light.
    Evil is good.
    Yadayadayada.

  87. karen said,

    Guess it was Rightwing News(your old stomping grounds, wasn’t it?) that i found the video.

  88. Spud said,

    Really Karen, you think liberals see evil as good, dark as light, and up as down? No wonder you’re prejudice towards liberals.

  89. karen said,

    :0)
    That’s not a Liberal prejudice– it’s really more of an expression of the times- and it’s an elitist thang, too. The video is good. I like the guy- he’s funny.

    I’m

  90. karen said,

    hmmm- dropped thought:0)
    Probably an act of God.
    It doesn’t even really matter, does it.

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