Leonard Pitts wrote an editorial that appeared in the Seattle Times called “To all you bullied teens: Get over yourselves”.
He makes a couple decent points.
Yes, “it takes a special kind of arrogance, self-absorption and entitlement to believe that your humiliation and pain merit the lives of a dozen strangers.”
And yes, there is nothing new about kids getting bullied.
Unfortunately, the rest of the piece makes little sense.
Leonard says that “to say a child killed people because he was bullied or ostracized is to dignify the act with false rationality — and to shift the onus for the crime to its victims”.
I hope he was just in a hurry to get an editorial piece produced for a deadline. To say that being bullied caused a child to commit mass murder is not false rationality – the rationality is determined on a case by case basis. However, saying so, if the circumstances make such a statement plausible, is an attempt to attribute identifiable events or factors as causal foundations to an incident that is extraordinarily difficult to understand entirely.
Leonard also says that if we determine that a child being bullied eventually led to this child committing murder, that we “shift the onus for the crime to its victims”.
This statement could only be true if the victims were the ones who originally committed the bullying.
The editorial portrays Leonard as a man who was once bullied and now is confused about how children can plot to kill, yet dismisses abuse as a potential reason.
As we all know, abuse can come in many forms, and not just through peer bullying.
Yes, bullying has been around for a very long time. It is an act of domination, control, fear, humiliation and disempowerment.
Experiencing such things are not limited to encountering a bully. Such things are common. And children are often far more aware than we give them credit. Why would these children even mention that despite our increased security and intelligence efforts, we are still not safe?
It is possible to look at this editorial, or rather its elements, in a larger context and perhaps gain some insight into that knowledge Leonard seeks.
Or, perhaps, it is simply the moon and stars moving in certain configurations, a certain pesticide combining in the brain with a certain cleaning product chemical, or too much Buffy the Vampire Slayer.