Thursday, September 10, 2015

Injustice Collectors -- Dave Cullen (author of "Columbine")

"For most of us, revenge is highly personal, and tit-for-tat: He did this to me, I'll pay him back with that. Collectors who kill get overwhelmed by their enemies list. Everyone is on it. Chance encounters, people he doesn't even know: That bus driver who braked too abruptly three summers ago; the woman at Starbucks who coughed too much in 1983; the dirty look from the girl in high school Spanish class, sophomore year. They ruminate over petty slights, often imaginary, and spit them back in specific detail years later.
Triviality is the collector's hallmark, coupled with the absurdly disproportionate fury it inspires. As he hatches his plan, the collector ponders how to punish his hate list, which is really everyone. A year before Columbine, Eric Harris began his journal with "I hate the fucking world..."—a sentiment backed up on every page. ...
We can't be certain who Flanagan was lashing out at, but the pattern suggests it was all of us. That's why it was so irresponsible for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to label him "a disgruntled employee" within hours, and for the press to describe the murders as a "workplace shooting." Flanagan was disgruntled with humanity, and while he surely enjoyed wreaking vengeance on his employer, he was clearly maximizing exposure. This was an act of theater, and Flanagan chose his stage thoughtfully. If a primary aim were punishing the managers who had wronged him—and his cats—wouldn't he have gone straight to their offices, or their homes and shot them? He passed them over for live television, and targeted a woman he'd never met, who was a darling of the audience who felt they knew her."

See also:

Seven Myths of Mass Murder

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