Reblog: Thoughts on Columbine & Virginia Tech

Man holding pink smoke

Human nature is complex. Even if we do have inclinations toward violence, we also have inclination to empathy, to cooperation, to self-control. ~ Steven Pinker

When I first started this blog in 2007, I wrote about my thoughts on the violence we see at schools and bullying. Below is that article, which, I think is worth a revisit. It is now 19 years since Columbine and 11 years since the VA Tech killings. Has much changed?


Recently, it was again brought to light the possible ramifications of bully actions. As a graduate of Virginia Tech, I followed the recent killings that happened there closely. In both the Columbine situation and the Virginia Tech situation it was brought up that these people who did the killings may have been picked on and bullied.

I can certainly sympathize with the alienation that comes with bullying, but I’m not sure that I can understand how bullying can lead to these actions, without some sort of mental illness issue also coming to light. I can certainly see how the actions of bullying could push someone to take an aggressive self-defense action (more on that later), but massive killings and pathos seem like a deeper issue.

What do you think? Could bullying actually lead a non-violent person to take a very extreme violent action? I’m interested in your thoughts.

Link to VA Tech Bully Article

Link to Columbine Bully Article

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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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One Comment

  1. I think people may underestimate the strength required from a victim of bullying to endure the bullying without any “real” help.

    Family and friends are needed. They are a great support but they may not really undertsand.

    Like everything in life, until you live it, you do not know how it really feels.

    You see someone with plaster on their arm and emotionally feel the pain.

    No one can see the scarmbled egg inside our brain as we are bullied, so do not understand. Especially the ones whose antidote/cure is “Get over it”

    I think bullying can lead a non-violent person to take a very extreme violent action.

    I did not.

    Remenber, the victim is often tormented by bullies extreme violent action. For some reason bullies get away with warnings.

    The Victim is so much stronger for enduring the pain we do not give back.

    It is so hard accepting in this wonderful world we live that we are not all the same and we have to accept Bullies make it their pleasure to intimidate. We cannot sop that. We have to change our reaction.

    People need to be heard and understood.

    On your blog, I note Alan, 80smetalman and Cherie are going to be those who understand.

    Me too I believe.

    We have to accept that others are battling as much as we did in our early days, and to be honest we still have a battle. We are affected. It is what we do with that energy now, that matters. Write blogs, books, comments, help others etc.

    Everyone has different breaking points and sadly I can see how without real support from Courts and Judges, the Police and teachers and schools do not have a lot of chance of stopping Bullies (and the bullies parents in some cases).

    So sadly we have to try and really observe those doing it tough on the inside and just be there for that person.

    It is hard living other peoples battles and thoughts but remember where you got your support from.

    My Rock of support is the word in the bible. .The bad will be punished. Let the bad come to be Good, because Good people do not know how to act bad effectively.
    Hence the degree of aggressive self defence we see.

    People I got rid of in my life wanted me to fight my bullies back. I could not win that. (1) Outnumbered (2) Throwing eggs at each other, where does that ever end?

    Sadly I can see how some people reach breaking point and feel their life has no value so they may be aggressive against the person or society.

    Sad.

    Very Sad.

    I hope we can all look out for these people and support and befriend them before it comes to that.

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