The Dev. . . er. . .video. . .um, DEPRESSION Made Him Do It!!

_Our Imperial Editer requested my input on media coverage of depression following the VT massacre. As usual, it degenerated into name-calling. My bad._Oh, boo fucking hoo.He was so depressed. No one saw the warning signs. No one stepped in to put him in a nice garden with nice young men in clean white coats.He cried out through his poetry and his crap-ass plays. He was so lonely, and so depressed.Depressed, depressed, depressed. It's all over the coverage. It's bullshit.Sure, the kid probably suffered from clinical depression. So do millions of other people who never chain shut a school building and start slaughtering. Including yours truly.Oh, not that I've never wanted to. Such fantasies consumed a great deal of my class time in high school. The same can be said for an assload of adolescents at some point or another.But unless you're a soulless psychopathic freak, you grow the fuck out of it. I just finished reading a newsletter article intended for journalists, about giving out accurate and non-sensational information about depression in the wake of Cho Sueng Hack-Rambo-Wannabe's Last Stand. It was good information, but it missed the point entirely.What this moron did, he did not because of clinical depression, but because he had no morals, had never matured past the age of 8, had no concept of true ambition or personal accountability, and had fatally wrapped himself up in the epic tale of Cho Sueng Hui Martyrs Himself But Really Just Gets Back At "Those" Bastards And Becomes A Legend.Watching the video he sent to CBS or wherever, it's pretty clear that this was not a person suffering from true paranoid schizophrenia. He was suffering from a traumatic lack of maturity. He didn't look like a depressive to me. He looked like he was having a grand ol' time masturbating his narcissism. I happen to agree with his poetry teacher, who dismisses the idea that the poor kid was just a tortured soul begging for intervention by saying, "He was just mean." Amen, lady. He wasn't a frustrated artist screaming out to be heard. He shunned every attempt made to befriend or aid him. In his head, he was some avenging cyberpunk ninja, and he wasn't about to let anyone's kindness or concern interfere with that. In his head, he was just too fucking cool for that kind of crap. You can't predict this kind of tragedy, much less avert it, because none of us ever knows what's going through the minds of anyone else. When you walk past my table at the restaurant, you have no idea if I'm admiring your shoes or wondering where I've seen you before or imagining what your intestines would look like spilling out of your abdomen, and if they'd steam.And fer tit's sake, there are always weird kids on a college campus. A lot of us were that kid at one point or another. The difference is, we weren't exceptionally self-absorbed and amoral douchebags. Okay, scratch that, a LOT of us were exceptionally self-absorbed and amoral douchebags. But there was something we had, that this whiny little fart didn't, that made us, well, not monsters. It wasn't a balanced brain chemistry, it wasn't a support system of friends and family, it wasn't a counselor, it wasn't anything that can be isolated to keep this kind of shit from going down again. And even I, wise and all knowing as I happen to be, can't say exactly what it is, but to butcher a quote from a cranky old man, "I know it when I see it's not there."I am very, very glad that Cho Seung Hui is not on my planet any more. It just sucks that he couldn't have embraced a more traditional martyr fantasy, like public self-immolation or something, instead.Problem is, everyone is pissing their knickers because they know the next one is still out there. Looking around and finding nothing in the world to love, and everything to hate. Deliberately and methodically channeling all the energy that you and I put into our jobs, our families, our relationships and studies and causes, into creating for themselves a world where you and I are shitrat oppressors who need to be cleansed, and they are the only ones with the balls to do it. Maybe it's the weird gamer kid who keeps ordering sword sets off of QVC. Maybe it's the design major who never leaves the studio. Maybe it's the pre-law Tri-Delt pledge with the collection of Coach bags. You can't know. There's no way in hell. And getting hysterical about people who rely on pharmecutical aid to live normal, happy lives is the media equivalent of banning toenail clippers on airplanes.PS-I just saw the news about our local kids getting themselves a day off school. Asshats. Next thing you know I'll be yelling at them to get off my lawn.

Comments

OtherJoel 15 years, 2 months ago

Thank you. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees it that way.

I should preface my comment by saying that I feel truly awful for the victims and the students at Virginia Tech, or anyone who has friends and family there. My comments are not intended to in any way minimize the magnitude of this horrific event.

While the shooting itself was undoubtedly a tragedy of huge proportions, I'm not just pissed at this little fuck for the murders -- I also blame him for prompting another landslide of moronic ideas about what we have to do in the wake of this event. I actually heard some guy on CNN advocating that we need to ban guns for immigrants -- and then said gun control was pointless. What? Which is it? I am not "pro-gun" per se (kind of neutral on it, to be honest), but I actually do agree that using legislative means to enact gun control by itself will do nothing to curb violent crime. Our problems run much deeper than guns or video games. No one seems to care about what compels people to act out -- truly act out -- and I don't mean that some people write disturbing works of fiction. That was nothing more than a coincidence. How many other "loners" have histories that are every bit as disturbing as this kid, but never actually hurt anyone? I would say the vast majority.

As much as I hate it, we also need to realize that horrible things happen every day, and they will continue to happen regardless of any school policy or legislative action.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 15 years, 2 months ago

thetom---they're ugly little handbags that go for disgusting amounts of money for some reason.

otherjoel---exactly. Freaking exactly.

Terry Bush 15 years, 2 months ago

Amen. HOWEVER - I have to wonder from his writings if someone brutally abused this guy, a lot. If so, I hope they figure out who, prosecute him, then put him in a fairly normal general jail population so his fellow inmates can finish society's job of exacting retribution.

My good pal Dennis, who DOES suffer (badly) from clinical depression (and therefore lost most of what many people hold dearest in life) says there are two kinds of people in this world; Those who want to kill themselves, and those who want to kill other people. And neither understands the other.

More and more, placing some value (respect) for human life (your own or other people's) seems to be a characteristic that is made fun of, at the least, rather than being taught and fostered. So maybe it's lack of societal values in that regard that leads to violence against humans? I don't know.

But I do know that even back in the "good old days" there were monsters who did not care who lived or died.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 15 years, 2 months ago

Oh, hell no, he wasn't abused. He was trying to write the most sensationally vile thing he could, and failed horribly. He had neither talent nor imagination, the sorry bastard.

Deb Townsend 15 years, 2 months ago

Having been a member of the Happy Pill Brigade myself, and having made repeated trips to crazytown, I echo Misty's sentiments when I say that I dont want that sh&stick representing me, my illness or my similarly diagnosed brethren. Goofy bastard couldnt write, period. If I was an English major with talent lacking as he had, I could see some suicidal tendecies for sure, especially after every time I turned in some of that uninspired, unoriginal monkey giz he called a one act play, of course I have now insulted simians everywhere. He was a mean bully who never got past his "exception to the rule" maturity issues that we all got past in oh, 5th grade. Good riddance to the goatdick, I dont want us spending any more time trying to decide how we could've helped him, nor do I want us to start de-arming aliens at the border, arming students at enrollment or marginalizing the mentally ill. His problem goes beyond wonky brain chemistry. There are just some fckwhits out there and now we are one shorter, its just too bad that his idea of dying like Jesus was to take a bunch of unsuspecting folk out with him. I've never read an account of Jesus where he chained lectue halls closed and took pictures of himself with a goofy hammer and ran around on the biggest narcissitic pity party known to man. Of course I just read the NIV edition, I could be missing out.

billy 15 years, 2 months ago

At the risk of being verbally assaulted . . .

I understand everyone's anger and disgust at the situation at Virginia Tech. I do think it is important that we think about why some people take it upon themselves to kill other people. Granted the corporate media might not be the place to hold rational discussions or gleam meaningful insights into the situation.

Again, I am going to get lambasted for this, but I do not think that what that young adult did was any better or worse than then things young adults from our country are doing in our names right now around the world in places like Iraq, Afghanistan (and, really, who knows where else).

I felt like the discussion surrounding the Oklahoma City bombing and the Columbine killings in the media were a lot different than the one surrounding the casualty at the Trade Center. It has something to do with being attacked by one of your own. The media editorialize being attacked by one of your own (esp. when children are involved) as more despicable than being attacked by an outsider.

For example rape by a stranger in the media is never as negatively portrayed as incestuous rape, and the worst of all is same-sex, adult on child, incestuous rape.

But the thing that is amazing is how quickly we are willing to demonize human beings, whether we turn them into mysterious blood-thirty strangers or the homunculus monster that walks among us. Which, I will wager a guess is how we got into these situations in the first place: The US government workers were demonized by the Terri Nichols gang, the US business people were demonized by Al-Qaeda rhetoric, Al-Qaeda is demonized by the US government to justify anti-terrorist attacks. It is cyclical. And, when we demonize others, even when we demonize people who have done really nasty things, we dehumanize ourselves and we perpetuate a cycle of rhetoric that is self-fufilling and dangerous for all people.

Okay, go ahead . . .

Terry Bush 15 years, 2 months ago

Believe me Billy, I hear you. I've been saying (to no one in particular) that as vile as the VT slaughter is/was, it is not something that is all that uncommon in other parts of the world. How many mothers in Iraq send their children to school not knowing if they'll ever see them again? We in the US just aren't used to the carnage at home, yet. Looks like it's coming though.

What causes people to hurt other people? They dehumanize them. They devalue them. They lack respect for them. They forget the principle that each human soul is (forgive me returning to my roots) a precious child of God, no matter what.

Evil, however, is alive and well. And encouraging decent people to become just as violent as they can be, towards one another or themselves. Violence takes many forms. But lack of respect for human life is becoming rampant.

There is no explantion (adequate one) for evil. But the ability to kill others is not that far removed from the ability to hurt them in other ways. Too bad so many people not only get used to doing it, they learn to like (or ignore) it.

Roadkill_Rob 15 years, 2 months ago

Well-put, Misty!

Proof of his primitive mind can be found in his taste of music...his favorite song was Collective Soul's "Shine" for chrissakes!!! Not only was it his favorite song, allegedly he was obsessed w/ said song and played it over and over.

I mean, who the hell is obsessed w/ this song, really?!

Deb Townsend 15 years, 2 months ago

I respect your comments even if the tone and opinion differ from mine. Part of my rant was anger toward him and the situation. I didnt know the guy so I can only base my value judgement on what I saw him do, what I read that he said and on the content of his writings. Adding those things together my logic directed me toward deeming him an ass, regardless of his challenges. We will never really know what happened to him, there are accounts of bullying and accounts of people that had never bullied him reaching out to him repeatedly to no avail. Some tried, some didnt, he got more offers for help than a lot of people get. I just worry that we may get all kooky worried and look to blame society, guns, video games, depression and forget to assign blame to his own free will, which diseased or not, allowed him to do this.

Terry Bush 15 years, 2 months ago

Deb - I could not agree MORE with that conclusion. Regardless of the many possible excuses given as reasons for actions - the "buck stop here" personal responsiblity mantra is one I'd like to hear more. Here's hoping it is making a come-back!

Chris Tackett 15 years, 2 months ago

haven't had a chance to read all this, but wanted to pass this link along, since it may fit in w/ the discussion of depression.

This may be old news to you, but i was surprised to learn that the gov't has a database of everyone that has been prescribed anti-depressant medication:

http://americablog.blogspot.com/2007/04/bush-administration-is-prying-into-your.html

OtherJoel 15 years, 2 months ago

Roadkill Bob ---

You totally nailed it! We need to lock up anyone who owns a Collective Soul CD! And just to be safe, better round up the Creed fans too.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 15 years, 2 months ago

Deb--my thoughts exactly.

Billy, I don't always agree with your opinion, but I love arguing stuff with you, because you make me be all rational 'n' shit.

I personally find a difference between what one lone whacko does of his own accord, and what a young man or woman does for the country they just committed themselves to serving, whether or not that country is making them do just things. If I put them in the same boat, I'd really have to hate my Daddy. The result may be the same, sadly, but the motives are so radically different as to be alien to each other.

It is human nature to demonize "the enemy". But a lot of us can hate the cause and not the soldier. I don't know many people who can do that in this case, since the cause was entirely in its sole soldier's head.

Per my previous blog, I personally don't find it a bad thing to publicly demonize this douchebag, but then, I'm coming from a spiritual base that recognizes evil. I don't think we're all shining snowflakes that must be cherished and told they're special, but he sure as hell did, and he was pissed that he didn't get what he thought was his fair share of coddling.

MyName 15 years, 2 months ago

Billy,

I am frustrated because three times as many people are dying violent deaths in Iraq, everyday, as are dying in this one attack, and yet it's getting a tenth of the coverage, and the consensus seems to be that we have no chance of leaving Iraq until after Bush leaves office.

That being said, I think the comparison to the wars in Iraq and Afganistan are not valid. The main reason is because, like Misty said, the motivations are different. There's a difference between someone who sits down and cold bloodedly decides to kill a bunch of people and someone who is fighting a war, mainly because, if the other guys decide they don't want to fight and surrender then no one has to die, so there's usually a political/philosophical reason behind the actions of a soldier while the murderer just wants to kill a bunch of people for his/her own private reasons.

You do have a good point in that, if you can't tell the difference between a soldier and a serial murderer, then there is something very wrong with your society.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 15 years, 2 months ago

Chris---one good thing about this whole debacle is that a lot of folks, myself included, are learning about the antidepressant database for the first time. (btw, folks, for those of you wringing your hands over why he was reported to take them but wasn't "in the system"--they're called free samples, and are routinely provided for folks like college students who have no insurance. And taking them innappropriately, especially going off of them w/out supervision, is dangerous as fuck.)

Anway, I should be a lot more pissed about that database than I am. To be honest, I'm not really surprised, and can't bring myself to give much of a shit. But that's because I'm an old-school paranoid and figure that between them, various government agencies know more about me than my own mother (and I mean that most literally). I also think that the beuracracy has grown to the point of near-entrophy, and that to get all that information together into one package would require more paperwork than firing a nuke.

But even were I the picture of normality and health, the government would already know what I drive, where I live, what I weigh, how much money I make in a year, my fingerprints, financial and educational history, how many times I've been married, divorced, rear-ended, and traveled abroad, and where to.

With that sobering knowledge, them knowing how many milligrams of Lexapro and Trazedone I consume daily doesn't seem like such major shit, and that's a tribute to how tired I am these days.

Oh, but I'll bet you a shiny nickel they don't know how much CHINA WHITE HEROIN I freebase up my veins everyday! And the CRACKAIN!! And, dare I say, it, the MARY JANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, sometimes I get posessed by the same spirit that had my answering machine croak "President" "Bomb" "Allah" for a month.

Chris Tackett 15 years, 2 months ago

myname: i don't agree w/ all of what billy wrote, so i'm not defending her comments. but you're statement that "if the other guys decide they don't want to fight and surrender then no one has to die" sure as heck isn't true for Iraq.

most of the deaths occuring in Iraq currently are not at the hands of our troops. And even if they were, the majority of the dead are not on "the other side", so they can't just surrender. Most of the dead were not on any side. They are innocents caught in the crossfire that we helped inflame.

The current situation is not like a traditional war. It is not a battle between two clearly distinguishable sides, from which one could choose to surrender. There are death squads roaming that place intentionally kidnapping, torturing and murdering people because of their religious beliefs. There are guerrillas bombing neighborhoods, simply to spill as much blood as they can. The people dying are students, civilians, innocent. They are just like these Virginia Tech students, except they see this everyday.

what frustrates me is how something like this can lead to so much outpouring of love and grief and public displays of mourning. stadiums filled with crying people. candlelight vigils and prayer circles.

And while that is great and appreciated, I can't help but notice that 233 were killed or found dead in Iraq on Wednesday. (And this is in a country of only 27.5 million, much less if you take into account how many millions have already fled since the invasion.)

Had these 233 people all been soldiers fighting against one another, I would not disagree w/ you that there is a big difference between that and what happened in Blacksburg. But these weren't all soldiers. The people dying most frequently are civilians.

And granted, 61% of this country now says they are against the war - whatever that even means - but where is the compassion and grief and mourning for the students and civilians in Iraq? I'm an equal-opportunity mourner. And the fact this is getting so much coverage and people are reacting like they are, while it is certainly well-intentioned and worthy of our grief, it also illustrates the self-absorbtion prevalent in our country, which I find unfortunate and depressing.

Terry Bush 15 years, 2 months ago

Chris - et al: I was born with a tad too much empathy. That means that when I was young, I cried and mourned a lot; any time I watched the news, heard a story, or was told about some tragedy, injury, or death, I cried. Sometimes a lot. And I'm not talking teenage angst crying - this all began before I had the hormones to blame. Reading/hearing/knowing about the Holocaust nearly did me in.

With my mother's guidance (insistance really) I had to get a grip - and build up phycic walls - otherwise the wailing for the pain all around would have overwhelmed me and not allowed me to do anything but lay in a weeping ball for the rest of my life. Besides which, simply deeply caring didn't seem like it was helping anyone all that very much.

The deaths in Iraq are tragic and gut wrenching. I cannot imagine living that way. But I do imagine it, because of my cursed empathy tendencies. However, the people in that region have been living this way (albeit without us knowing or the numbers being as high) for years. Centuries. Millennia.

And they are not the only places or times where death and violence are so common place that the average person has lost half of their family members, if they are "lucky" enough to make it 40 years old themsleves. The genocide and droughts in Africa comes to mind.

I have not stopped caring. Nor do I want to. BUT I do not wallow or choose to focus only upon the lack of fairness or peace in this world. Instead, I do what I can while I can. I pray, I treat those around me with as much kindness and compassion as I can, I vote in accordance with my conscience, I give money to charities I support, and I have been known to speak up from time to time. I also realize that the reason we in this country are so incredibly selfish is that we have been so incredible blessed. I do not take that to mean we are lucky. I am not sure about that being true. But the reason that so many here react so quickly to horrifically violent actions is that we simply aren't as used to them this close to home.

When someone you know personally is killed, gets divorced, has a fatal disease, etc. your natural thoughts include "it could have been me." The further away the pain, the more people are able to ignore it. Most people could not function if they were too keenly aware of all the pain and violence this world holds.

Do what you can to help others. But always remember; the poor and suffering have always been here. And they always will be.

Nick Spacek 15 years, 2 months ago

ahem

My friends and I were discussing the other day about how lucky we were to have graduated when we did. Five years later, and we would have been "those kids" hauled into the principal's office the day after Columbine.

We were the kids who got picked on, teased, mocked... I was nearly thrown in a trash can a time or two in middle school. We plotted elaborate revenge fantasies involving the large skylights above the commons, wrote stories in which large portions of out school were killed (and brought back to life to be slaughtered again), and so forth. We put songs like "I Hate Myself and Want to Die" on the request sheet for the school dances.

The four or five of us were writers, macabre, dark, twisted... and y'know what? We still are. But the fact of the matter is that we amanged to grow out of it and turn into productive members of society. Chris Rock said something along the lines of "The kids said they didn't have any friends... I saw their pictures. They were with five, six kids? Shit, I don't have six friends NOW."

We were friends, we managed to get out into college and realize, "Hey... waitmainnit. There's a ton of weirdos and freaks just like us. Cool." I'm married, two of us are engaged... seriously, it's not like I've ever thought about using a bread knife to give someone at the bakery a quick Sicilian necktie... but it's fleeting.

Once fantasy becomes reality, then you're totally boned, and you might want to seek help. There are times when I think Mazes and Monsters might be a little too close to reality. Damn you, Tom Hanks.

Terry Bush 15 years, 2 months ago

The day after Columbine I gulped big and then thanked God my son was out of highschool already; b/c for at least 2 of his last 4 years of school, he wore a long black trench coat every day no matter the weather, had hair to the middle of his back, listened to disturbing music, played video games much more then he did homework, and in general was pretty quiet and unsocial. Had he still been in school the day after, I bet he would have been hauled into talk to counselors and patted down every school day. And now? Well, you know how he turned out. Moral of story; being odd, being quiet, being angry, being a loner, being angry, being moody - is really just not that unusual at certain ages or times in one's life.

Aufbrezeln Eschaton 15 years, 2 months ago

Jester---exactly. I, too, am grateful I graduated pre-Columbine. In eighth grade I turned in a story about my high school reunion, where I burst in with a band of armed mercenaries and made everybody do humiliating things before lining them up against the tinsel wall and blowing them to bits. It was praised as being a "creative outlet for teen angst", and I was praised for expressing myself in what was then considered to be an acceptable manner. The kids I specifically named in the story were asked to write their own stories about the manner in which they treat their fellow classmates, and what they imagine the repurcussions of those actions might someday be.

Oh, those were the days.

Kelly Powell 15 years, 2 months ago

Obviously this kid was not bullied enough.....If he would of gotten his ass actually kicked in high school enough times he would of either crawled out of his shell and fought back(thus learning to express his anger) or would of been conditioned to be a good little submissive and learned the joys of being a sheeple.....Shame , shame on the jocks and bullies these days...They obviously are lazier then when i was in school (being a proud member of the average I was a bully and got bullied in equal amounts)

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