Bullying and School Shootings

Crossing the LineA few years ago now, I published my book, “Crossing the Line”, which is a fictional account of why a school shooting might take place by a bullied victim. While it is a fictional book, I spent countless hours reading studies and interviews where the shooter was a bully victim looking for revenge or just trying to protect themselves after the mental breakdown that bullying can cause.

This is in no way an excuse for what happens when a school shooting takes place. But we do need to look at the rationalization and change our conversations. With the most recent shooting in Florida, there is no correlation to bullying, but mental health is again a factor. It seems that most of the time it is. Studies have shown a proclivity between bullying and school shooting or bringing a weapon to school.

There are two major issues that seem to come up when a mass shooting happens. One group speaks loudly about gun control and the other speaks loudly about mental health. I feel as though we take extremes, instead of looking to the middle. So, I decided to record a special episode of Healthy U (the podcast) on this subject to share my own personal story with bullying and school violence. It is attached here and I hope you’ll watch it. I would love to hear your own opinion.

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About Alan Eisenberg

Alan Eisenberg is a Certified Life Coach, Bullying Recovery activist and author of "A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance" and "Crossing the Line". He has been writing and speaking to various audiences about the issue of C-PTSD and Bullying Recovery. Mr. Eisenberg has been featured on several print, radio shows and podcasts on this issue, including NPR and in the Boston Globe. He is currently working toward his Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
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37 Comments

  1. Very hard to comment on the heartfelt and warm testimony when as you rightly say, until you are in the situation…… I find others comments sometimes upset us. I also note you are Highly Sensitive.
    So I reflect on the fact I am also Highly Sensitive and troubled by bad people. It is hard accepting that in this wonderful world we live, some people are just so bad. Mental Health attention? I say Justice system. My argument in State Parliament is “Why is that someone who follows the Justice system is let down by the system that is meant to protect us? In Australia, a lot of us cannot undersand Americans having guns. I understand the analogies given, but I wil not go there. We are not used to it. Criminals will always get weapons. My strength is in the words in the bible. It was not my faith, but it has done miracles for me. Part of what you say I also say, it is my duty to be good to the people who bully me. Once I let my guard down and try something to them, I wil get in trouble. Bullies know how far they can go to stay “within” the law. Highly Sensitive peole do not know how to be bad to the point they do not cross the line. As hard as it is, we just have to demonstrate Good. Never mess with pigs, because we all end up on the ground, the pigs (bullies) like it, and we do not cope” So keep you feet on solid ground and Support Victims.
    GREAT HEART FELT ARTICLE. I am so glad you had a file and not a gun. We need to support all victims because a lot of us are on the brink of disaster. For me, Glory to the Lord!

    • Thank you for your thoughtful feedback, Michael. It is interesting that, in Australia, after the 1996 school shooting, laws changed and it has been the last mass shooting. Yet, it still doesn’t answer to the mental health aspect. There are 10 times as many questions as we have answers IMHO. Hopefully one day we will find answers somewhere in the middle and learn from these hard lessons.

  2. I question why when one Bully can affect so many victims, because victims partners, families. friends etc are all affected by the sufferer, why the Government does not spend address reforming bullies in a secure place until they are reformed. I say REFORMED. Fix the reform sysytem and the amount of victims should decline. People fear Bali Prisons etc. We are lucky victims have services. But STOP THE BULLIES. Bring back the Road Gangs. Make them work. Forget about unions wanting construction work for the rich. Make Bullies Reform and be part of society.

    Had the bully chasing you been fearful of the Justice system, we all know you would not have armed yourself. You are a kind person who just wants to enjoy life.

    I hope I have not gone too far on this reply.

  3. My passion and understanding why you took a Nail File, is because I have been in the Courts for 10 years trying to stop the bullies, bully me. The Bullies do not care. They do not pay fines. They do not comply. They set up structures to avoid responsibilities. The Justice system needs fixing. It has to create a fear.

    And you had a nail file!
    My first thought was I hope you can manicure your bully to behave.
    But the Bully probably saw the file as agift from you so they can pick the lock to get out of prison.
    Two different mindsets. Hard and Soft Hearts.

    We need to support Victims as you are doing. Victims get lonely. Victims wear their friends out with the same story. We have to stick together and look out for each other.

    We need Highly Sensitive people in this society. It is an ageing world. Highly sensitive people will look after others as well.

    Bullies only worry about themselves.

    Do not let the Bullies push you over. Stand firm together and your testimony raises many issues.

    Thanks

  4. I went through bullying hell for three years. Reflecting on those experiences, I wrote a book titled, “He Was Weird,” where a bullied child does shoot up his school. Some have mentioned the law in regards to bullying.In one bullying incident I was a victim of, my mother threatened to press charges. The bullies wore that as a badge of honour and it led to more bullying as some bullies wanted me to press charges on them. Well done for sharing your experiences.

  5. Hi 80smetalman. Isn’t it so strange today. People share their videos online and are proud of what they do to others.
    Police in my state have had powers taken from them. As you say, the Bullies are so proud, The bullies will tell their friends, and they do have friends, that the Police cannot do anything”
    That does not mean we give up. We do NOT give up. We are stronger than them As Alan said, self esteem is our Power! (I have to say Praise the Lord)
    So I agree. Pressing charges is hard. The police used to say to me, “You are upsetting them (the Bullies) by calling us out” I hope you can sense my ARGHHHH

    So as much as your mum meant well, what charges are actually going to be laid?

    This blog is inspiring me to write a few stories. Keep it up Alan. Your highly sensitive attitude is reaching us!

    • Michael – if you want a place to share your stories, I do allow guest blogging and you have a voice here.

    • I can definitely sense your aarrrgh! Many police don’t want to get involved in something like this but they forget they are there to protect and to serve. That means everyone! You’re right, it doesn’t mean we should give up.

      • Hi 80smetalman.
        I know I am writing to someone with same experience as me.
        I took my matter to Police Ethics. Why aren’t the Police stopping this?
        I then had a Senior Officer I could call direct.
        Just a thought out there.
        I am in the Courts with these bad people still.
        In my opinion it is more the Judges and Magistrates who are not doing enough. I can feel the frustration the Police have by doing the paperwork, going to Court and then the Magistarte says ” Give (the bully) another chance”
        And the parents of these bullies are often as bad as the bullies. On the news the Police etc say the teachers and parents have to “educate the bullies”
        What hope have the teachers got?
        If the parents are good parents like I sense your mother definitely is, what hope have the parents got with bad kids?
        If the parents are bad, we can see why the bullies are bullies.

        So sadly I tend to think the Police do not have the powers to do enough.
        The Police and in my case I bring to the bullies to court, the magistrates do not serve the penalties are not doing enough to stop it. t takes many years of presenting the same issue agaisnt the same people before it is taken seriously.

        That is why I say, “Bring back the Road Gangs to build our infrastructures!”

        The unions would love that fight. There is always someone to protect these buggers.

        So wherever we go, we have to be Strong as Victims and as you did after 3 long draining years of sleepless nights, loneliness, confusion, name calling, attacks and little or no support to resolve it, be assured WE WILL SURVIVE.

        The Bible says “The Trials and Tribulations make us Stronger”

        If the bible does not suit you, the words are the same anyway.

        I say to the Lord, “I do not have to be this Strong”

        But obviously the Lord wants me to be very strong

        He wants you strong too.I want you to be strong.

        That way we can help others and symapthise as Survivors.

        I think you can see my passion in helping victims to be strong and survive every thing that is thrown at us. It is hard. But t is harder once we respond.

        • I totally agree that the courts aren’t trained well enough to deal with bullying adequately. They should be. In the case I mentioned, the father of one of the bullies was a lawyer and would have probably got any charge thrown out of court. That’s why the bully wore what he did to me as a badge of honour.
          I did become a Born Again Christian during this time and it didn’t lessen the hell I was going through. Jesus never seemed to save me. At least not til the end because the move out of that hell hole went through with little hitch.

          • Amazing. I became Born again through my orderal. Praise the Lord! My fatehre passed away. he was a man of few words but good words. That is excatly what the Bible is: Do not be anxious about ANYTHING. It says Anything.

            So this in my story

            Psalm 36: 4 (NLT) They (I put the Bullies name here) lay awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil.

            Now the Police used to come here and say “They must go home at night and think of what they can do to you the next day”
            So the Bible confirms that.

            And the answer for me is also in the bible.
            Psalm 37 : 7 (NIV) Be still before the Lord and wait for him. Do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

            So I am told, do NOT FRET. They will succeed in their ways, but DO NOT FRET.

            Your Bullies father was a Lawyer. You poor thing. One to bully you outside the court and one to bully you and your team inside the system. Not Good.

            I am a Judge Judy fan. Why doesn’t she fix your system?

            In court I have learnt a lawyer is just another person. They do speak better. But I have had to stay strong, remove emotion and represent myself as much as I could. I had a combintaion of Barristers, Solicitors etc.

            So you get even more empathy from me knowing your bullies father was a Lawyer.

            I am unsure of how yours concluded. I may have to read the book.

            Mt argument with lawyers. The scalkes of Jutcice you see outside the Court. They have a blindfold. It is the Blind scales of Justice.

            Why do so many damn lawyers defend their clients to the degree it is the Victims Fault? The father would argue, If 80smetalman gave my son his wallet and phone and money everytime my son “politely” asked for them, my “beautiful” son would not have to bully 80smetalman every day

            You know where I am coming from.

            As well as Judge Judy, I love Joyce Meyer

            Joyce Meyer says ” “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.”

            Amen

          • That case never went to court, it was just my mother said next time, we would press charges. However, the bullies also wrecked my bike that day the bully and the lawyer father made a big stink over the idea of buying me a new bike.

  6. Hi 80smetalman. I just read the summary of you book.
    “After three years of living hell, Mark goes to school one day with a couple of guns and does the unthinkable. When it’s all over, the questions asked are “Is it because he was weird or was he driven to it and who is really to blame?”

    3 Years with Police etc. I am in year 10. Years 1 – 5 were my hardest. Years 6 onwards I found the bible verses helped me and strengthened me.

    Good on you for making it through. If it was not for the bullies you would not have written the book. Hold your head high now. You are going to be able to help so many people. Others do not understand. They all think the Solution is to “ignore” otr “move”
    We all have breaking points. So well done for writing about it. WE ARE NOT ALONE! We are powerful together.

    We cannot always leave the situation we are in NOW. Later we think about it. But there are reasons. And why should we? (Unfortunately because the law does not help us) It is Victim blaming even in the courts.

    • Thanks for reading the summary of my book, I hope you’ll buy and read it. Writing that was a big release for me and I am now completely over. Three years ago, I did go to the town where those experiences happened and donated copies to the publice library and the school. It brought even more satisfaction to do that.

      • I think you will relate to my reply.

        When my head is in a more relaxed state and the Adrenalin of the fight reduces, I will look foreard to reading you book and understanding what you wrote.

        It is on my To Buy list!

        That is what this is all about. You are now helping others. I am so glad I met another WINNER!

        But we do win at a cost.

        I understand that. It changes us to be stronger. But we are still soft as chocolate in the heart with a crusty wise top for those we can support.

        • I totally relate to your reply and I like that you referred to us as winners. I never thought of myself as one before, only a survivor. Hopefully, we can help others. Thank you.

          • Hi 80smetalman.

            You are definitely a WINNER!

            We want and are entitled to heaven on earth.

            I am unsure of how far you went when you reached breaking point, but here you are, telling your story.

            I think one of your blessings will be to use the new talent you have in relating to victims. Actually hearing the subtle signs. Seeing the isolation they face.

            I think you may help them (some, even one) before they reach breaking point.

            You have the experience now to help others.

            Do not waste your talent.

            The world need people like you to inspire and encourage others.

            The God of peace will soon crush Satan under our feet. Please Read

            Help others. Be an ear. Realise the police and courts may or may not resolve matters.

            The Proud Bullies will be bought to Justice. It is out job to support each other. The Courts or police will cach up with these people.

            Please read psalm 94 (ERV) A few people I spoke about in my Church do not like it. They are too focussed on Love thy neighbour. But Good and Bad is in the Bible.

            https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+94&version=ERV

            The wicked wil be punished. It is not our job to do it. It is the law of teh land while they are alive and the Lord later.

          • One reason you are a winner.

            The Lawyer (Father) still has to endure the Bully son and everyone else the son bullies until the son stops bullying. Maybe the Parents are also bullies. You are not likely to be the only person or first person that person bullies or bullied.

            If the (failed) justice sytem cannot change them, we cannot.

            We have to accept that and change our attitude toward them. (and their miserable life)

            You are the winner because you are now separated from them.
            You are a survivor.
            But the winner part is because you are not “completely” damaged and have enough to share and help others.
            You are a winner because you are stil in this life with the ability to help..
            You know you have to accept the things you cannot change, you do have the courage to change the things you can and as hard as it is, you do have the wisdom to know the difference.

            “Forgiveness is setting the Captive free and realising you were the Captive”

            You are no longer Captive to him. There are no chains holding you to them

            Bitterness is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person suffers.

            We need to be the change and help others.

  7. I would like to respond after hearing Alan and 80smetalman’s story and ask people to absorb part,my attitude / experience / mindfulness on this similar issue.

    We all have breaking points.Bullies do not expect us to take it on the chin. It is so hard taking it on the chin.
    I had to document video and audio as my bullies, spat in my face, verbally abused me, chased me, had me on the ground etc etc.

    I have found that when you contact the Police, they see threats are just that, Threats.
    Something has to happen. If you say they threatened to kill me and you are there, then they did not kill you.

    So I had to allow bad things mentioned above to happen to me for a few years as I prepared a Contempt Hearing.

    When people say it is HARD to ignore the Bullies, they are right.
    But it is HARDER to respond to them.
    They want us to respond. We don’t know how to. We do not have evil in us.

    So please trust in the fact that the stronger we are, and can document it, things will get better in time. Don’t let them wear us out with agrression.
    Wear them out with forgiveness.

    I hope I have not lost anyone.
    This is coming from someone who had the Police visit us 20 times in one year. I have had 8 sets of Court orders agaisnt these people that could not be enforced.

    It would have been so easy for me to spit back at them. But then I had No Case.

    It is still a battle. But it is one I am getting through.

    I am really sorry for those who are taken to breaking points and attack back. They bullies really take us to the edge. Names do hurt us. We have to be damn stong and ignore the names and threats.

    And I thought I was going to do a brief reply. We get so absorbed dont we!

  8. To conclude for me, thank you Alan for opening up at the start of this post.

    Thank you 80smetalman for your awesome contributions. You also taught me a lot.

    You have both broadened my outlook.

    This post is also interesting because of different laws in different countries.

    I now have a few books to look forward to.

    All the best.

  9. Thank you, Alan for this video! I too was bullied, and bullied viciously and relentlessly from grade six until I finally changed schools during my last year in high school. It got so bad that I attempted to take my own life at the age of 14. I almost didn’t make it and spent a week in ICU. I did things that I normally would never have done. Right before the suicide attempt, I was getting jumped and beaten constantly by my classmates and resorted to faking a pregnancy to keep from being physically attacked. Unfortunately, the bullying got much worse when it was found that I was only manipulating them. Also, there were days I took weapons to school, letter openers, box-cutters, I even took an ice pick to school on one occasion…anything I could get my hands on. I was fortunate that on those days, no one attacked. I was more the sneaky kind…feigning being sick to get to go home from school, instigating fights between others because I had no real friends and wanted to destroy their friendships, spreading rumors about others and bullying those whom were even more powerless than I was. I was a very broken person because of my bullies and I’m very much regretful that I let them take me down such a dark path and destroy the sweet, confident and outgoing little girl I once had been. Please continue the great work! It’s helping so many victims and survivors.

    • Thank you for sharing your deeply personal story here. I believe that opening the conversation up and being honest as an adult that it affected us is so important. I hope you are in a better place.

  10. Thank you, Alan! I am in a much better place! I now use what I’ve been through to help kids who endure the same. Antibullying is my passion! I have written and published two books on the subject and achieved my dream of being a writer!

  11. Hi Cherie. Thanks so much for sharing. After reading yours it is refreshing to see Alan, 80smetalman, you and I all were/are bullied and all chose the path of helping others. When bullied we can help others or bully others. We know the only was is to help others. I spoke to someone last night and they said “you really get what I am going through, don’t you”
    Thanks for opening up. We are not alone as victims or survivors. Only survivors can help others. Let us encourage everyone who is finding it hard to continiue. “When you are waliking through hell, keep walking” You will make it

  12. Thank you, Michael! All those years ago, I really did think I was alone and that something was wrong with me! I blamed myself during those years until I switched schools and made so many good friends. Only then did I know that the way I was treated at the old school was no reflection on me. I believe it it so rewarding when you can use what you endured to help those who still suffer and I’m honored to be among people who have pretty much the same experiences that I had! Very refreshing! I believe that together, as a team, we can help countless victims regain their confidence in themselves and their personal power!

  13. Hi Cherie.
    I agree with all you wrote.
    I think because we isolate ourselves we feel alone.
    We often need our solitude. To rest the brain from the emotional attack.
    That may make us overthink we are wrong. Others say we are wrong. Some say get over it. Until they are the victim. Or until we meet a survivor.
    You are correct when you say we “have pretty much the same experiences”. Whether we are abused, chased, spat at, laughed at, excluded, daily, weekly, monthly we all full under the umbrella “bullied”
    I often find when people talk about a problem to some people, the listener may say “well that is nothing compared to my problem”.

    Wrong.
    Everyones issue as big to them as ours is to us.
    We have to respect they are hurting as much as us, even if we think ours is bigger or smaller.
    That is where we help others. Compassion for what they are going through “at the time”

    Victims never think it will end. It will end. We do not have to harm ourselves for a quicker outcome.
    We have to let the bullies suffer by seeing we survive.

    You are correct. It is an honour when you help others.
    Welcome to club of helpers. We are awesome!

    • Micheal, you couldn’t have said this any better. Please allow me to apologize for such a late reply. I have been encountering a lot of health issues and have been sick and in bed. I’m much better now and ready to continue writing and helping the bullied regain their confidence and personal security. Keep up the great work and have a wonderful day!

  14. And Alan, with your permission, I would love to reblog some of your posts on my own blog sometime because I enjoy and admire your posts. Keep up the great work! One day it will pay off when kids everywhere get to enjoy learning in a more positive learning environment.

  15. Hi Cherie.

    Re: Apology for late reply. A victim learns patience. You were not late. You had reasons. No reply was required, but your kind heart responded.

    That is is the very same kind heart that you will use to help the young, teens, adults, aged, disabled, discriminated etc. as they battle life.

    Bullies do not discriminate.

    They attack everyone!

    In the bible we say they are Wolves dressed in Sheeps clothing. They look like nice placid sheep and when you trust them or engage with them, the wolf comes out and they pounce on anyone. But they put the sheeps clothing back on in front of authorities and look placid again. Cheeky Buggers!!

    I say to all. Find a Rock. Mine is the Lord.

    Re: Health issues. I hope they are not related to after affects of being bullied. If so I can send messages or bible verses of support. The relevance to me of bible verses is they were written 2000 years ago. The bible is full of good and bad people. Peoples opinions change. Bible verses never do. The bible was not my book before. But the word saved me.

    I do wish you good health.

    I do hope you can save and inspire at least one person to have the patience of the journey their being bullied is on. We cannot save everyone in the world. But one is a very good start.

    I decided to stay and fight the bullies in the court. Very costly financially and emotionally and with relationships. Not many realtionships left now. But thankfully only the genuine relationships lasted!

    There is wisdom in leaving early and there is wisdom in enduring. But to endure we need people like Cherie White in our life to support and nourish us.

    Good on you Cherie!!!!

    (Do not feel obliged to reply)

  16. I sure will, Alan! Thank you!

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