Another mass killing last weekend, another killing that had been years in the making. Elliott Rodger stabbed three people to death and shot three more. He had been planning the killings since 2011. His parents recognized that he was troubled when he was 8 years old. He began counseling at that time. Like most of these young men who kill, he was a loner, considered ‘weird’ by other students. He never had friends. He never held a job.
Parents of Congresswoman Gabby Gifford’s shooter, Jared Loughlin, had known for years that their son had serious problems and yet they did nothing. Everyone around him, neighbors, fellow students, knew he had problems. He had been hospitalized for those problems in 2011. He had been charged with numerous felonies. His parents were told to have him evaluated, they didn’t follow through. They were described as ‘intensely private”. (Does that mean they have no responsibility for their son’s behavior?)
Virginia Tech killer, Seung-Hui Cho, told classmates in 8th grade that he wanted to kill people. All through high school classmates knew something was very wrong with Cho. Like the other killers, he was a loner, without friends, prone to anger and tantrums. His parents had been informed of his problems many times.
The Columbine killers carefully planned their actions for years, outlining their plans in journals. They had problems with other students. Surely their parents knew and yet again, nothing was done.
James Holmes, the Colorado mass shooter, was also a loner, socially isolated. At least three therapists were aware of his problems. Four months before his killing spree Holmes told a classmate that he wanted to kill people. Like Cho, his teachers and his parents knew he had serious problems.
The common thread among these killers is the long time planning of their killing sprees and long time mental health problems. They didn’t suddenly ‘snap’. People around them had known for years that there was something very wrong. I suspect most of these young men have Schizoid Personality Disorder, loners without friends who do not function well in social situations. They are socially isolated from society. The disorder is on the schizophrenia spectrum but only 20% of schizoids develop full blown schizophrenia and the paranoia that often accompanies it. Only a small minority of those become violent. (We must also remember that hundreds of young Black men are killed daily in our cities and they don’t make the news. They aren’t mentally ill but they too need help. Oddly enough, the left never mentions those killings.) Personality disorders are formed very early in life as coping mechanism against what is happening in their home. Those with schizoid personalities most often come from homes where their mother was rejecting and their home environment offered little or no emotional support. They may have had no protection from emotional abuse and even physical abuse from a parent and/or older siblings. They learned to withdraw from people because anything else is too painful, as they learned from early experiences in their own family. The more they withdraw, the more isolated they become and the more likely they are to become schizophrenic and experience the paranoia that goes with it.
When one of these mass killings happens, the left immediately leaps to the easiest, knee-jerk, solution, we should simply throw out the 2nd amendment and ban guns. Yawn. These young killers are ‘hiding in plain sight’ and yet nothing is done. They need help. They’ve screamed for help for years and have been ignored. Their interactions with people, from birth on, has met with rejection, over and over. They are isolated, they are scared, they have no idea how to connect with other people because they never learned social skills. Their problems have been ignored by their families and everyone else. That’s the problem that needs to be addressed and corrected. It’s not about the guns, it’s about the need for mental health services and socialization for these very troubled young men. It’s about society stepping up and doing something to help them. It’s about helping these young men find a way to connect to society, to have friends, to have positive interpersonal relationships before they resort to violence. If their parents can’t, or won’t, do anything then the rest of us must respond.