Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Bullying

I was hoping to resume this blog with a more uplifting and positive entry, but the revelations concerning Cho Seung-Hui’s life in high school have disturbed and angered me. In all to saturation coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings, there has been very little discussion of one issue, which I think is the salient point in understanding why this horrific incident occurred. In almost every one of the school shootings we have seen over the past twenty years, and many other crimes, including the Scott Dyleski murder of the wife of David Horowitz, the Columbine shootings, and numerous others, the perpetrators were bullied, abused, beaten, taunted, or otherwise humiliated and belittled.

I am not looking for an excuse for what these people do, but I see a common thread, one so strong that Cho even referred to Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris as heroes. Bullying is the most pervasive social problem in American schools today and it is one that only some administrators and teachers are willing to tackle. Too many educators either sympathize with the bullies, are afraid of the bullies, are afraid of the bullies parents, don’t consider bullying a problem, or consider the victims of bullying as deserving of it.

There is no overt evidence of Cho being bullied at university, but there is in his high school and research has shown devastating consequences for children, particularly boys, who are constantly and relentlessly under the stress and fear of bullying. Many develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it DOES have serious long-term affects on thinking and emotions. I know this from personal experience. I was viciously and brutally bullied for several years in school. I became suicidal and, had I had access to a gun, I could easily have snapped when I was 14 or 15. Fortunately, the overt bullying ended when I changed schools, but the affects of those three hellish years have scarred my life ever since.

When jocks, the popular kids, the rich girls, whatever clique or group dominates a school to the point that it is not only acceptable practice to stomp on those who are not considered “worthy,” you have a petri dish for the next school shooting. And, instead of focusing your attention on rooting out the “weirdo” who won’t talk to anyone or who draws disturbing pictures, why not focus on the brats who create the killers?

Of course, American culture venerates the bully, the jock, the “winner.” Perhaps that is why America is the most violent of developed countries.



Filed under Bullying, Columbine, culture, personal, School violence, Virginia Tech

4 responses to “Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Bullying

  1. I believe the problem began when they stopped teaching about God in school and the society has been in a downward spiral ever since. No sense of right and wrong, no moral base.

  2. Lacee

    Just because your bullied doesn’t give you the right to take it out on others. Bullying in school has gone on for decades and you never saw bullied students lash out with guns before the 1980’s or so. I think there will always be bullies in schools. Yes we need to crack down on bullies, but lots of people are bullied during their childhood and you don’t see them all going off and killing people. Cho was mentally ill. He should never have been admitted to the university in the first place.

  3. christophgantier

    I didn’t say it did. As is often the case, some people think that trying to explain a phenomenon is trying to excuse it. As I said in the post, I don’t condone what Cho did. Nor do I doubt that he was mentally ill, a situation caused by or contributed to by the treatment he received when younger. I don’t contend, as I thought was clear in the post, that all victims of bullies will become mass murderers. But, nearly all of the perpetrators of these crimes were bullied. Eliminate the bullying, you eliminate the murders. It’s not the only factor, but combine it with the violent society in which we live, and it becomes ever more likely to result in tragedy. Of course, though, the “popular” kids, the jocks, the bullies, and their enablers won’t see it that way.

  4. Rev. Robert Richardson PM

    Honorable Shelby:
    I am assuming that the civil right laws that protect the Afro-Americans protect immigrants as well, if they do not I am requesting that you propose new legislation giving them the same equal rights.

    Due to the many school shooting that have happen due to harassment by bullies, I am requesting that the Department Of Justice investigate Virginia Tech to see why it did not have a discipline protocol in place for reporting and reprimanding bullies.
    Thank you,
    Rev. Robert Richardson PM

    This South Korean student had a mouth deformity which is obvious on the videos. Why didn’t someone from the schools assist this young man in getting speech therapy and referrals to a neurologist, a oral surgeon, etc.

    There are federal laws prohibiting harassment of minorities. I haven’t seen or heard anything that indicates that the university has disciplined students and/or staff for harassing this young man. It should have been reported especially when it occurred in the classrooms. Was his harassment reported to the dean and/or to the authorities by anyone?

    Perhaps he would have reflected badly on the college’s image with him being an English major graduate of Virginia Tech and could not talk. Does this college condone other students humiliating and harassing the undesirables until they drop out. The only problem here is that this student didn’t drop out.

    This practice of condoning peers running off undesirable has been used in the work force as well as in schools for years. It has many advantages; however, if it backfires as it did here where the student would not drop out but went on a killing spree. All those that knew about these illegal practice will probably face felony charges.

    Evidently Virginia Tech prefers the elite, America’s fittest young men and women with no provisions in place for the poor, and the handicapped. Every article that I have read about this immigrant’s history (prior to the month of the shootings) in America reflects some type of harassment or civil right violations. The local high school as well as this college needs to be audited by the DOJ.

    Why did the teachers/professors constantly put him on the spot to speak in class? All instructors when they get a class roster should have been given a brief medical history of each student concerning physical deformities, allergies etc.

    Why was this student an English Major anyway? Was it part of the plot to get him to quit the school or was it a cruel joke by the school counselors that he ended up in a field where it was impossible for him to participate orally and master.

    His English teacher’s accent, fancy jewelry and her attire makes me think she missed a Hollywood or Broadway career and had to take a job where I believe she feels misplaced and possibly resents being isolated to a small classroom occupied by mixed nationalities whose attire is mainly blue jeans and T-shirts. I believe that it was an insult to her with him being in her class with an English/literature major and not being able to orally communicate.

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