School Shooters and Secluded Souls

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

I have good and bad news. The bad news is that I had a blog entry written out yesterday that got erased due to an error. The good news is that it really didn’t say much, and was pretty pointless. To summarize, Thanksgiving was good – it wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t horrible either. So I’m thankful that the dinner was good and that I had fun. Jordan and I basically spent most of the time playing guitar, as usual, and we had a blast recording hymns while singing really strangely. Fun stuff.

But that’s basically it. There’s nothing to say about today other than that school was boring, and tonight I’m working 6-12. Since no one really cares about that sort of stuff, though, I’ll skip ahead to the thought that hit me today while riding home on the bus. I was sitting in a seat with some other dude that I don’t know, just listening to my music as usual. Then I started thinking about what people might think of me if they just saw me sitting there – expressionless face, music blasting in my ear. I thought, “Hey, they could get the impression that I’m like a serial killer or something – the guy over in the corner by himself listening to death metal or something.” Of course, that’s not what I was listening to, but that thought just sort of spun off into a little recollection of my year so far at North Park. I’ve been there for over a month now, and I’ve seen what generally goes on. And then I started thinking about the school shootings that happened a while back, like Columbine and such. And the scary thing was that I could see exactly how it could happen.

The thing is, the kids responsible for those shootings were generally “loners.” And despite what I might say, I could pretty much be labelled as a loner as well. I mean, I have friends, but very few of them go to North Park. I hang out with a couple people at most at lunchtimes, and after school I go straight home without talking to anyone. But as I thought back to the few week or so, I could definitely see how a big high school could produce bitterness for those sort of “loners.” There were days when I just went home feeling so depressed at how lonely it was, not knowing or talking to anyone. Multiply that day after day, month after month, and it’s a recipe for bitterness. Mix in some angry music and some violent video games, and you have a custom-made killing machine on your hands.

After some of the school shootings, people would say, “Well, we blame this on video games that encourage killing.” But that’s only part of the equation. Certainly things like that desensitize people to death and such, but most people that play those games don’t go around and suddenly kill people or anything. That’s because they have friends that balance it out. Without even a friend or two to talk to, or even worse, ridicule from others, the torture of school can become a living hell – that produces the bitterness, and the music and video games only provide an outlet to release the anger that builds up. Soon it doesn’t satisfy, though, and that’s when the anger spills over. One day they just snap, and carry in a gun to school just to get someone to notice them and give them attention.

Now, don’t get all freaked out that one day I’m going to snap or anything. I mean, with four years at a small high school, plus youth groups that provide an atmosphere to get to know people, I have friends – most of them just don’t happen to go to North Park. But for people who don’t have those opportunities – no small group setting to make friends with common interests – it could be very hard to just be able to find someone who will even talk to them past a wimpy “hello” when they see each other. People at big high schools are just too used to seeing the loners that they don’t even care anymore. It’s pathetic. They’re too occupied with their own cool friends that they just leave the friendless in the dust. Too bad they can’t change their minds when they’re dead, after those loners come into school and start pumping people full of lead. I know that’s pretty morbid, but it’s the horrible truth.

I guess all I can say is that I’m glad that I’m only at North Park for one year. As I look back, if I had gone into that school straight from Grade 8, you might just have seen me on the nine o’clock news one of those days. Once I graduated, I cut all the ties with my old “friends” at CBA. Why? Well, after they basically kicked me out of their little clique, I decided not to have anything to do with them. And that left me friendless. I got really depressed, spending an entire summer at home, not doing anything with anyone. And if I were to go into a situation like North Park with the attitude I had back then, I doubt I would have even made an effort to get to know anyone. I can honestly see myself as one of those school shooters – or at the very least, suicidal. Wow. No matter how mad I was at my parents back then for sending me to BCC, I sure am glad that they did. I won’t attribute my change in attitude to the school, since I basically worked that out on my own, but at least BCC gave me a fighting chance to find some friends. There, everyone has to be friends, just because they do everything together. So let’s recap – North Park could have led to suicide, and BCC gave me a set of Christian friends that helped me get my life back on track, develop a positive attitude, and become a fairly well-adjusted adult. Boy, I wish foresight was 20/20. I’m just glad that my parents had better foresight than I did.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone that goes to North Park is going to go on a killing spree; I’m just saying that for me, BCC ended up being by far the best option at the time, though I couldn’t see it. And I’m also saying that although I didn’t use to be able to really understand the motivations that would cause someone to shoot people up in a school, I now have deeper insights into the sheer desperation of a broken and bitter heart. Here are people right in front of us with no hope left in the world, and we’re “too busy” hanging out with the friends that we’re comfortable around. Or perhaps I should rephrase that sentence: Here are people right in front of me with no hope left in the world, and I’m “too busy” hanging out with the friends that I’m comfortable around. There. That takes it just a bit closer to home for me.

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