Columbine and Social Isolation
The Columbine massacre that took place in the Fall of 1999 brought to light a number of different issues concerning social isolation. Among them, does the social isolation of children cause depression, violence and/or suicide. After Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold brutally murdered 14 of their own classmates and one of the school's teachers, rumors began to surface that the boys were often bullied and teased: "They did get teased. They did get persecuted a lot". As this reality began to surface, many began to question whether or not social isolation could potentially lead to suicide or school violence.
Social Isolation and Depression
Without a doubt, there is no excuse for Harris and Klebold's actions. However, for the millions of children currently living in the United States, the idea that social isolation perpetuates depression and violence is an issue that is worth exploring. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that last year suicide was "the 11th leading cause of death for all Americans" and was "the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24". These statistics coupled with the recent increase of teen violence in the United States make this issue one of imperative concern.
Columbine High Massacre
There is evidence that there is a direct correlation between social isolation and the following adolescent problems:
Despite the fact that this correlation is not widely publicized in the literature the fact remains that it exists. For parents the challenge is recognizing this reality and acting before events escalate to the point that individuals and their own children are being hurt. Although this phenomena of social isolation appears to be a taboo in society-as many people would like to believe that the reality does not exist-the fact remains that it does. Ignoring it will not make it go away and acknowledging it could save someone's life.
With the only two people that can answer the question of Why? One can never actually unveil the exact reasoning for this killing spree. With certain past studies and observations that currently exist, one can perhaps begin to understand the underlying circumstances that lead up to such a such a violent act. In adolescence, one who goes through repeated situations dealing with emotional or physical abuse, neglect and stress experiences emotional changes that can result in dangerous consequences. Coupled with the parental care being unsupportive or not available can also increase the risk of violent acts. The constant exposure to pain and stress can make the brain's system to deal with these situations unresponsive. They become without feelings. Hence their immunity to fears of consequence.
They long for something that fits their ideology.Something that makes them feel like they belong and are accepted. The current pop culture offers a somewhat mysteriously dark standard of acceptance. Almost like a bizarre club where the theme is the macabre.
With entertainment industries portrayal of violence and the glorification of revenge, these adolescents find the idea of being the cause of murder and blood bath "cool". All these factors coupled with the easy access to firearms creates this downward spiral to become almost unsurprising.
Perhaps at first the planning of the Columbine High massacre was just a strange way for the two young misfits to pass the time away. At some point that plan changed into actions.Eric Harris had just experienced one set back after another.It may have been something that happened in the few days before the massacre that pushed the sequence of events. Whatever it was, something made these young boys snap. Boys that were commended for being bright and polite were changed into monsters that laughed as they shot and killed the innocent. Humans that showed no mercy as they looked into young eyes with plans for the future and shot them, shattering all the lives around them.Their behavior during the killings was like their favorite game of Doom but unlike the game, when it was over there was no restart.
The massacre at Columbine has destroyed people's faith in the world today at the same time it has opened up feelings of the precious value of life. Families have grown closer together by dealing with the loss that has, and could hit so many close to home. Parents are more aware of their children and the things that they have taken for granted. They have become protective and are trying to get closer into their children's thoughts and opinions.
Students are more thankful of their friends and have developed an open mind when it comes to dealing with classmates that they are not familiar with. It has eased the boundaries that are formed by school cliques as they struggle to realize what could have made these boys act the way they did and what they could have done to change the past.
Dealing with fear after the tragedy has also strengthened some peoples faith in God. With the possibility that it could happen to anyone, people are focusing on a higher power to give then the strength to go on and protect their souls. Now that people are aware of what could happen, stronger steps will be taken to deal with the instability of certain individuals. Increased security in schools will certainly appear.Throughout the days after the event, fake bomb threats in various schools were being reported throughout the country. Showing to all that already there are children with problems reaching out. It could happen again and probably will. The real question is where? And what can one individual do to prevent it.After a tragic event of this magnitude there are benefits to be realized. Increased awareness of troubled individuals, treatment of same, increased security measures, and emergency procedures are but a few.