Monday, July 30, 2012

Chicken Soup discusses the obvious...

In nature, bullying is the usual method of establishing rank, social status, and privilege within a pack, herd, or other social group. Dogs do this. Chimpanzees do it. Humans do it too. In nature it makes sense because it ensures that the biggest, healthiest, and presumably the most survivable members of the group do most of the breeding. Those who end up being bullied simply survive as best they can and live miserable lives. In a human civilization bullying has lost its beneficial characteristics and become an obvious hazard. Victims of bullying don't just wander off into the woods and die. They start fires, build bombs, bring guns to school, create computer viruses, become various kinds of criminals later in life, etc. And most of them end up reproducing anyway. At our current level of technology, victims who turn into criminals are an expensive irritant. A few decades from now our level of technology may reach the point where a single individual, acting alone may have the ability to seriously undermine our economy's ability to function or our government's ability to govern. James Holmes used a few firearms to commit an act of domestic terrorism. The next "Joker" might be a microbiologist instead of a failed Ph.D. candidate. If you make enough people too sick to show up for work and you have the ability to repeat the process every couple of months, the economic consequences would be significant.

The danger in treating young, violent sociopaths like naughty children instead of like dangerous criminals could hardly be more obvious, but most people just laugh this off.

America's growing stock of domestic terrorists aren't laughing.


  1. Here in Memphis we have no fear of intelligent lone wolf criminals doing great harm. Our low IQ gang bangers kill all those guys and many others long before they ever get the chance to reach grad school. Our biggest threats come from the dumbest among us. But thats Memphis.

  2. Even if everyone in memphis has the I.Q. of a donut, you can still suffer if a microbiologist/terrorist does something in Chicago or Boston. Diseases spread. Governments, insurance companies, and crowds react without thinking. And any damage to our economy is going to harm everyone.

    I do find your stereotyping amusing though.

  3. I haven't read the background on the Aurora suspect. Is it your contention he was bullied too much and that's what sent him off?

  4. He may have been bullied every day or not at all. I doubt anyone with the resources to do some serious research will bother looking into it.

    James Holmes is a classic science nerd. There's a very high probability that he was at least occasionally treated to some degree of cruelty by his peers. That's bad enough, but what really contributes to making someone want to spray bullets around is spending one's formative years in an environment where bullying is considered perfectly normal, acceptable behavior. Living in fear all day, every day does not make one value the well being of those who openly approve of cruelty, even if the number and severity of actual attacks is low. The subject fears the bully, but he hates the public for approving of the bully.

    There's a little mathematics involved here as well. Bullying is a little like drunk driving. There's no way to determine ahead of time which of a large number of drunks will end up killing someone. But you can be certain that if you allow people to drink and drive in large numbers, someone will die. Millions of kids are bullied. A very small number of them behave like Holmes, Harris (Columbine), or McVeigh. A much larger number will intentionally vandalize property or commit some other acts of destruction, usually without being caught. If you like this situation, just sit back and do nothing.