The Psychology of School Shooters

We all know about school shootings. Ever since the Columbine shooting in ‘99, school shootings have influenced our school systems and legislators. As each shootings appears, it brings up the debate of gun control, government subsidies for school security, and mental illness. But what line of thinking do these kids have?

To start delving into the psyche of a mass murderer, let's look at the writings of one of the most notorious school shooters in our history, Eric Harris.

If you look into the dark and disturbing writings of Eric Harris, you will find comparisons in his mindset, to Cane from the bible. The story of Cain and Abel from the bible is that Abel is favored by God so he obtains God's blessing. Cain, Abel's brother, makes the wrong sacrifices so he does not attain God's blessing. Cane ends up killing his brother. But why did he commit what is to believed to be the first murder?

Well the the thing Cain and Eric Harris have in common is that they had failures in life. After meditating upon it, they both discover that it's their fault. That they could have done something different to avoid their failures. It’s bad enough when you've had a failed life but to swallow the additional pill that you brought it on yourself, that it was avoidable, and you knew it at the time but preformed the actions that caused your downfall anyway.

So after discovering that about their failures, they can choose to fix themselves and fly right, but that's not what happens. They then go after what they most admire and destroy it, just to spite the state of being itself. That's what Harris did at columbine, that's what he even says in his writings. That’s why a lot of school shooters take their own life at the end, just to show how little they care about the structure of being.

A quote by Professor Jordan B. Peterson who studies the human psyche said this: “People always say “I don’t know how that could happen”. I think an hour of thought, real thought, about your darkest feelings about existence itself, illuminates the pathway to that behavior quite clearly. If you don’t leap to the understanding about how that pathway could be illuminated then you need to learn a lot more about yourself than you know now. Because whatever you might say about Eric Harris, he was a human being too”.

This can be tied into the Jungian Theory of the human shadow. In which the idea is that we all have the worst parts of what humans are capable of doing inside us. That what dictators and mass murderers have done before, is part of our own human makeup.

Austin Atnip is a first year journalism student at Farmington High School. Interested in politics, psychology, swimming, and current events.

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