Saturday, January 15, 2011

Shooter Psychology, Part II

Here's an aspect of shooter psychology you don't often hear about. It's from an article written by the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine killers. It's hard to imagine how one's child could do something so horrific, harder still to imagine that a shooter could keep his plans so well hidden even from those who knew him best. He was a bright child with few previous problems. Certainly fewer problems than the Tucson shooter and less evidence of mental illness. How did things go wrong?

In her own words:

"Those of us who cared for Dylan felt responsible for his death. We thought, "If I had been a better (mother, father, brother, friend, aunt, uncle, cousin), I would have known this was coming." We perceived his actions to be our failure. I tried to identify a pivotal event in his upbringing that could account for his anger. Had I been too strict? Not strict enough? Had I pushed too hard, or not hard enough? In the days before he died, I had hugged him and told him how much I loved him. I held his scratchy face between my palms and told him that he was a wonderful person and that I was proud of him. Had he felt pressured by this? Did he feel that he could not live up to my expectations?"

It's hard enough being a parent, wondering if you're doing things 'right' or 'good enough', even you're kid isn't a spree killer. The parents of the Tucson shooter are probably asking the same questions.