When I think about violence caused by young, socially-rejected males, I often wonder how much bullying and mistreatment cause their violent behavior. That doesn’t mean excuse the behavior; I am talking about the proximate cause—or exacerbation—that contributes to the act.
I have a model in my mind that captures this, which goes something like this:
This doesn’t imply a “normal” family will make a well-adjusted kid.
- Family structure in the US is highly broken, with many children living in single-parent or grandparent-raised households that didn’t convey enough stable love during upbringing
- This causes social problems in a lot of kids raised in those situations.
- Those kids tend to suffer economically as well
- This combination of lack of socialization and economic status often leads to relentless bullying by kids all throughout school.
- The combination and bullying often causes trauma that limits their attractiveness and options to potential romantic partners.
- This often results in the kid then having few friends, no romantic options, and basically living life in hell from childhood to early adulthood.
- This then results in some percentage of those boys/young men becoming angry and attracted to negative and even violent narratives about women, e.g., the “incel” phenomenon.
- Becoming involved in that type of culture sometimes leads to the commission of violent acts, like the one described in this Hot Yoga Incel
- Violence Report by the Secret Service
- Since it’s really hard to fix the broken families part of this equation, our best opportunity to address this might be through marketing/education campaigns with students and young people, administered through schools.
- In short, our best way to fix this might be teaching kids to be kind to shy and anti-social kids—similar to how we teach them to get under their desks for earthquakes, or—unironically—how to react to school shooters.
What if we had a mandatory, country-wide curriculum that basically said:
- Some kids aren’t as lucky as you. They’re not as good looking, or athletic, or maybe they grew up with trouble in the family, or with less money.
- Those kids need more love from their fellow students than others
- If you see someone being bullied, or just being extremely quiet, be nice
- Being kind can not only prevent someone from doing something that hurts themselves or others (which is very rare), but more importantly it’s just THE RIGHT THING TO DO
- Basically, kindness toward everyone is good for everyone
- Let’s treat bullying and mean behavior similar to the way we treat terrorism: if you see it, report it
- And if you see someone being treated like that, go out of your own way to be kind to them
This is crazy, I know. But fuck—I’m ready to try anything, and I can think of worse ideas.
Curious what you all think.