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Thread: What mass murderers have in common

  1. #16
    Elite Member levitt's Avatar
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    Thought the answer was going to be "Levitt thinks they are hot"

    ETA: I don't think that just because Harris suffered from immense paranoia necessarily negates that he was bullied. It always seems people are out to say that Harris/Klebold weren't bullied, as if it makes it easier to judge them if they are simply labelled as a psychopath and a depressive. From what I've read I think they both experienced bullying (surprising to me it seems Harris got the worst of it), but I don't think they were bullied any more or less than your average high school-er. It most certainly was not THE sole reason for the massacre, and in no way does it justify what they did. I just think, like others have already said and the article implies, that they couldn't get past it. Harris especially viewed everything as a personal slight. He was paranoid to the extreme. Investigators found his "shit list" and asked people on it why Harris could possibly dislike them, some said they didn't even really know him, others said they may have had a spat with him in the Columbine High School car park when driving, etc. etc. The tiniest (or seemingly non-existant) slights that the average person gets over within 5 minutes. Not with this kid, he internalised all of these moments and saw everything through a narcissistic, paranoid viewpoint. So yeah, I can get on board with the Harris analysis. I don't know enough about the others to have an opinion.
    Last edited by levitt; August 1st, 2013 at 04:41 AM.
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  2. #17
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by louiswinthorpe111 View Post
    Hey Lobes, I wasn't bashing anyone in the mental health field, but concerned because my 11 year old just started seeing a therapist to learn how to communicate better and deal with anger issues. I think I'm being very pro-active, but now am a little concerned that maybe his issues won't get resolved, I'm kinda going back to, what's the point of going through all this if it doesn't work?
    Because we only hear about the ones that it ddn't help. There must me far more where it put everything in perspective for the kid and the parents were more supportive.
    You are wise and looking both now and ahead. His issue will be resolved. Read back over what Lobes said about the parents. They get an F. You get an A+.
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    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    Nice Monday-morning quarterbacking. Exactly how does the author know this? It says the boys were assessed. Well, an assessment is based on the information that is available to the psychiatrist or MHP. You can only assess based on the info given. Psychological testing is not 100% accurate.
    I think the article actually agrees with you on this point - at least that's how I read it. Based on the tone of it, it sounds like they're saying the mental health system didn't fail these boys, contrary to what many laypeople often claim. It's as you said, the assessments just weren't ultimately all that revelatory and even if they had been there wouldn't have been much any professional could do.
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  4. #19
    Elite Member Geest's Avatar
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    I think for starters parents should try parenting and teach their kids never to feel superior to their peers, teach them to be tolerant and open minded and under no circumstances bully others. Also, toning down a notch the competativness at schools would be healthy too. Oh and another thing: teach your kids losing is part of life, noone can be extremely successful in everything. Losing is not necessarily failure, it's an educational experience!

    There still would be some who feel extremely marginalised because of their underlying mental health issues - as a result they can't cope with rejection in any form - but at least more kids who originally have no probs whatsoever wouldn't become nervous wrecks if their peers weren't such assholes I can see on facebook.

    (I'm rambling a bit, sorry.)

  5. #20
    Elite Member Lobelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by levitt View Post
    Thought the answer was going to be "Levitt thinks they are hot"

    ETA: I don't think that just because Harris suffered from immense paranoia necessarily negates that he was bullied. It always seems people are out to say that Harris/Klebold weren't bullied, as if it makes it easier to judge them if they are simply labelled as a psychopath and a depressive. From what I've read I think they both experienced bullying (surprising to me it seems Harris got the worst of it), but I don't think they were bullied any more or less than your average high school-er. It most certainly was not THE sole reason for the massacre, and in no way does it justify what they did. I just think, like others have already said and the article implies, that they couldn't get past it. Harris especially viewed everything as a personal slight. He was paranoid to the extreme. Investigators found his "shit list" and asked people on it why Harris could possibly dislike them, some said they didn't even really know him, others said they may have had a spat with him in the Columbine High School car park when driving, etc. etc. The tiniest (or seemingly non-existant) slights that the average person gets over within 5 minutes. Not with this kid, he internalised all of these moments and saw everything through a narcissistic, paranoid viewpoint. So yeah, I can get on board with the Harris analysis. I don't know enough about the others to have an opinion.
    Excellent points. While bullying is clearly wrong and undesirable in any circumstances, there are certain people who filter much of their interaction with others in an angry, victimized and even paranoid manner. Not saying this is their fault, per se - they're that way due to brain wiring or environment or whatever, and they're often too young to have learned to take responsibility and change what they can, to whatever degree. But with that kind of daily perspective, negativity with others just snowballs over time.
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  6. #21
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I've seen some of Harris' writings, and his issues seem to go WAY beyond any bullying he experienced. He was obsessed with Doom (1st-person shooter game), but not as a game as much as an alternate reality where he could release his bloodlust on something. It seemed that the walls between Doom and real life started to collapse as he fantasized about doing in reality what he could do in Doom. In my opinion, the guy was just wired really, really badly. He was hateful, loathsome and a bad seed. His exaggerated feelings of persecution were a false pretext for dehumanizing a school full of people so that he could be more emotionally detached from them - the better to more efficiently mow them down.

    Harris and Klebold were not innocent kids. They had been arrested for breaking into somebody's van and stealing computer equipment. They charmed their probation officers into thinking that they were repentant and had learned their lessons, but it wasn't that way at all, as Harris' contemporaneous journal entries show. If Lobelia had had Harris for a patient, he would have told her EXACTLY what he believed she wanted to hear. Which is apparently what he did with the counselor he was forced to see.
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  7. #22
    Elite Member levitt's Avatar
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    Not true. He ticked that he felt homicidal on his diversion form (alongside anger, problems with authority figures, etc.). He may not have gone in waving his hands around and screaming how he wanted to butcher everyone DOOM-style, but that kid did not hide as much as everybody wants to believe when it came to asking (subconsciously or not) for help. Plus that letter to the guy whose van he broke into is always mentioned when it comes to signs the kid was a psychopath, in regards to being unable to take responsibility and lying in comparison to the bile he scribbled in his journal. Now I'm not saying he wasn't a psychopath, but who here hasn't openly lied about something as a teenager to get a lesser punishment, or get away with something? I know for sure I did.

    Now Mo, my point was not that Harris or Klebold were innocent; it's quite clear that they weren't. I'm simply saying that people like to put them both in a neat little box and be done with it, because then they can assume their kids/friends/family/they themselves will never do something so terrible. Like I said, Harris' issues were not just down to bullying. But I've no doubt they were certainly exasperated by any incidence of marginalisation or perceived "bullying" and fed into his mental health issues.

    P.S I love the game DOOM, memories!
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  8. #23
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by levitt View Post
    I'm simply saying that people like to put them both in a neat little box and be done with it, because then they can assume their kids/friends/family/they themselves will never do something so terrible.

    I agree. I think people do this frequently, even for things less horrific than mass murder. I see a lot of it.
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  9. #24
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    With regard to lying to get a lesser punishment, I was reading this old article on Slate (At last we know why the Columbine killers did it. - Slate Magazine) regarding Eric's lying and apology about the van, and psychologists Dwayne Fusilier and Paul Eckman's interpretation of it:

    Harris claimed to lie to protect himself, but that appears to be something of a lie as well. He lied for pleasure, Fuselier says. "Duping delight"—psychologist Paul Ekman's term—represents a key characteristic of the psychopathic profile.

    Harris married his deceitfulness with a total lack of remorse or empathy—another distinctive quality of the psychopath. Fuselier was finally convinced of his diagnosis when he read Harris' response to being punished after being caught breaking into a van. Klebold and Harris had avoided prosecution for the robbery by participating in a "diversion program" that involved counseling and community service. Both killers feigned regret to obtain an early release, but Harris had relished the opportunity to perform. He wrote an ingratiating letter to his victim offering empathy, rather than just apologies. Fuselier remembers that it was packed with statements like Jeez, I understand now how you feel and I understand what this did to you.

    "But he wrote that strictly for effect," Fuselier said. "That was complete manipulation. At almost the exact same time, he wrote down his real feelings in his journal: 'Isn't America supposed to be the land of the free? How come, if I'm free, I can't deprive a stupid f---ing dumbshit from his possessions if he leaves them sitting in the front seat of his f---ing van out in plain sight and in the middle of f---ing nowhere on a Frif---ingday night. NATURAL SELECTION. F---er should be shot.' "

    The article concludes with this paragraph:

    Their (psychologists and psychiatrists cited in the article) view of Harris is more reassuring, in a certain way. Harris was not a wayward boy who could have been rescued. Harris, they believe, was irretrievable. He was a brilliant killer without a conscience, searching for the most diabolical scheme imaginable. If he had lived to adulthood and developed his murderous skills for many more years, there is no telling what he could have done. His death at Columbine may have stopped him from doing something even worse.

  10. #25
    Elite Member levitt's Avatar
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    I'm on my phone (so somewhat unable to write another Harrisfesto), but isn't there a saying about "meet and treat". I think it's highly dubious to state Harris was 100% a psychopath when all we are going on is his own journal (which I believe was written for an audience anyway). That's not to say he wasn't - but again, it just seems too simple for me. I think there was more going on.

    Also he was honest while filling in his diversion form. He clearly told the truth, albeit only sometimes. But being honest about having homicidal thoughts seems like an odd time to be honest.
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  11. #26
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by levitt View Post
    I'm on my phone (so somewhat unable to write another Harrisfesto), but isn't there a saying about "meet and treat". I think it's highly dubious to state Harris was 100% a psychopath when all we are going on is his own journal (which I believe was written for an audience anyway). That's not to say he wasn't - but again, it just seems too simple for me. I think there was more going on.

    Also he was honest while filling in his diversion form. He clearly told the truth, albeit only sometimes. But being honest about having homicidal thoughts seems like an odd time to be honest.
    Is meet and treat a reference to the fact that you should be able to make a much more definitive diagnosis from actual interaction with the patient rather than analyzing their writings after the fact?
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  12. #27
    Elite Member levitt's Avatar
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    Yeah, as in it's difficult to say/label someone with a certain disorder(s) without actually having continued interaction with them. Hey, I'm not saying Harris wasn't a psychopath. I just think it seems awfully convenient that the buck stops there. It just bothers me that him being a bad seed seems to be sufficient enough of an answer to explain away something as tragic and horrific as Columbine. Also part of me is wishful thinking, I guess - I don't like the idea of a teenager being "irretrievable". Something about it just smarts.
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  13. #28
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by levitt View Post
    Yeah, as in it's difficult to say/label someone with a certain disorder(s) without actually having continued interaction with them. Hey, I'm not saying Harris wasn't a psychopath. I just think it seems awfully convenient that the buck stops there. It just bothers me that him being a bad seed seems to be sufficient enough of an answer to explain away something as tragic and horrific as Columbine. Also part of me is wishful thinking, I guess - I don't like the idea of a teenager being "irretrievable". Something about it just smarts.
    I definitely hate the idea of it, since I have a pre-teen right now, and one who will be a preteen soon. I see almost every story now (whether it's LGBT rights, or global climate change, or economic conditions) through the prism of what it would hold for their future. Writing off a child, or not caring for the next generation's future, is pretty horrible to contemplate.

    From what I can see, you have read more about the Harris/Klebold topic than me. I don't think I've seen a single redeeming thing in what Harris has written, or something that would give me hope to hold onto that he wasn't a psychopath, with a grandiose superiority complex. That being said, I believe there is other material out there that I haven't had a chance to look at that could broaden my perspective on him.

  14. #29
    Elite Member levitt's Avatar
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    I have read quite a bit on them both. These things kind of suck you in. Well, me at least.

    Harris really loved animals and nature. That's all I've got off the top of my head, haha.
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