PBS has a special on about mental illness in recent mass shooters.
Bending over backwards to make White-boy killers sympathetic.
Talking about psychiatric intervention and anti-bullying and media reprogramming and therapy and bolstering self-esteem and empowerment and analyzing social messages White boys receive to pre-empt violence and aggression in children, because it’s hard to “change a violent mind.”
No one wanted to critique shit for me or any other girl I knew. You’re SUPPOSED to feel like shit, at least a little, am I right?
It’s EXPECTED for PoC to be seen as inherently inferior and violent by nature.
Queer kids just need to buckle down; “it gets better,” remember?
And even then, hey, THEY’RE fighting SOCIETY, yeah? The times themselves. If only they were better, model minorities and smiling femmes and patiently closeted, they could wait things out. There are no villains!
White boys get Bullies, faceless, nameless, NIMBY no-way-that’s-MY-kid no-way-I’M-responsible vague, conceptual targets who are mysteriously never, ever addressed, true, but who are at least acknowledged as poison in the already turbulent waterhole of childhood and adolescence.
Everyone else is told to sink or swim.
My mother told me in elementary school, “I don’t send you to school to be a victim.” The last time anyone explicitly tried to step to me to fight or intimidate me on a consistent basis, I was nine. They talked plenty of shit, but my options were to put up in silence or confront the abuse I was taking from my peers and adults head on. Because who else was gonna stand up for me? Who else was gonna fight?
My mom always, always had my back, but she made no dice about that being support she wouldn’t always be physically or emotionally able to give. At some point, you face the world unfiltered, unbuffered, and unaided, and you cannot destroy yourself and everyone and everything around you because things got hard. It is not an option. And at the same time, you cannot allow yourself to be destroyed— but those aren’t mutually exclusive conceits.
This is not a dismissal of mental illness, or even mental illness with ties to violence and violent outbursts— that is just a VERY DIFFERENT THING than “kids beat up my son so he shot up a movie theater,” or, “Pulp Fiction and Call of Duty made my brother murder second graders.” No. They are NOT THE SAME THING.
Stop conflating premeditated muder with a chaotic, tragic affliction that only becomes magically unstigmatized when discussing bloodbaths that armed, often armored individuals “couldn’t help” but perpetrate. Stop using the former to justify censorship and prop up half-assed and quickly-abandoned attempts to address treatment (or at least indoctrinated docile toleration), rather than prevention, of systemic, normalized sociocultural ills that should have been examined long ago anyway. Stop creating reasons to pathologize and remove accountability for the actions of a population subset already at the forefront of the Western patriarchal hierarchy while ostracizing, jailing, committing, silencing, erasing, torturing, or murdering everyone else who even thinks about doing the same.
You are part of the problem. Take your “tragically beautiful” MRI brain scans and shove ‘em, PBS.
When people stop teaching little boys it’s okay to force physically weaker people into doing what they want, or to use their size against people, or that they have an UNMITIGATED RIGHT to whatever they want, whenever they want it— through encouragement, tacit approval, action, or inaction— that’s when you’ll be making progress, if you really want to talk about the serial killer mass murderer demographic. These mass shooters aren’t tragic, misguided souls blindly lashing out after being pushed too far down the road less-travelled. They are the flip side of a social coin lashing out because they got theirs, now I want mine, sticking it to “heads” because that’s how it was being “tails.”
Stop blaming that on chemical and situational depression, autism, ADHD, and PlayStation, or you’re jerking off to the myth of your own helplessness and the equally-false myth of your own altruism.