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In Defense of the Loner

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The police have released information about the Virginia Tech shooter and the media has jumped all over every detail of this man’s life in search of some clue as to why he did what he did. “He was a loner” is something we are now hearing over and over again about this guy. We are hearing he wrote “disturbing” things in his creative writing class. We are looking at these things as explanations for his actions. As a loner who writes “disturbing” fiction, I would like to say this guy does not represent the loner crowd. Just because a person is anti-social does not mean he hates society.

Most of us who wear the “loner” moniker are actually shy or self-centered people. We do not really care enough about other people to want to kill them. If we like you, we like you. If we don’t, we ignore you. It is that simple. Hostile opinions from others do not factor into our minds because we really do not care that much about what those people think. An asshole thinking I am an asshole means nothing because it is the opinion of an asshole.

This guy who killed the people in Virginia yesterday was sick and disturbed, but it is wrong to look at each thing he was and did in order to help find the next one because all you will do is disenfranchise an entire group of people who are just trying to live in peace. Someone who really wants to do a bad act will do everything they can to fit in and not stand out. The terrorists who attacked us on September 11th did not have beards or wear turbans or act any way that told the world they were terrorists. A profile would not have stopped them, but it would have upset hundreds of innocent people. Profiling never punishes those it looks to stop, only those who fit the profile.

The events of yesterday are tragic, but sadly unavoidable. Removing guns from society would not have stopped what happened. Profiling and starting files on every “loner” would not have stopped what happened. There are sick people out there who will always find a way to hurt people. The way to slow it down (since it will never stop) is to stop glamorizing these events when they happen.

I have not read this kid’s name nor will I learn it. I do not know the names of the Columbine kids, either. To do it would be to give them the fame they sought and that is all this is about. The best thing for us to do is learn the names of the victims and talk about who they were and ignore the prick that did it. We will learn nothing except new ways of dividing ourselves from looking at him, but we may come together by remembering those we lost.

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About Brad Schader

  • http://www.glosslip.com Dawn

    You don’t have to be a loner to have a franchise on being an asshole, having people think you’re an asshole or hating other assholes.

    Sadly, there are plenty of social people who go around killing too.

    May I suggest you try not to be such a loner, that way if you do snap, you won’t make other loners look bad ;)

  • http://www.MyDepressionSpace.com Charles E. Donovan

    Dear Brad,

    Being a “loner” is an acceptable way of life.

    Stalking women, hallucinating about phantom girl friends, seeing “promiscuity” in a girl’s eyes, identifying one’s name as “?” and the lack of appropriate verbal skills is not acceptable.

    These are clear signs of serious emotional problems. The “loner’s” suite mates should have emphactically and relentlessly reported this crucial information to the highest levels of Virginia Tech admininistration officials and the police.

    All of these murders were 100% preventable had the correct actions been taken to remove the “loner” from campus so that he could get the treatment for his emotional problems.

    Sincerely,

    Charlie

  • http://kanrei.blogspot.com Brad Schader

    Charlie,

    “Stalking women, hallucinating about phantom girl friends, seeing “promiscuity” in a girl’s eyes, identifying one’s name as “?” and the lack of appropriate verbal skills is not acceptable.”

    You are right about that, but that is not what is being reported about this guy. What is being reported is that he was a loner who wrote weird things in his creative writing class. What you focus on is correct, but what the media is focusing on is not and that is what I wrote about. Profiling would never have stopped this or any other tragedy.

  • http://shaytheexec.blogspot.com Shay aka A&R SuperStaR

    I think their focusing on a combination of things, not just him being a ‘loner’.
    Reports of him on anti-depressant meds,setting fire to his room, these chilling writings etc,etc.
    I think people can differentiate between being socially demented and just being shy.

  • http://kanrei.blogspot.com Brad Schader

    Shay,
    When I wrote this last night the press was reporting the loner and weird writing aspects of him. More news has come out about him and the guy gave many signs, but they are still focusing on the writings and the loner-status. If creative writing is a sign then we really need to make sure Tom Clancy doesn’t overthrow the government and keep your kids far away from Stephen King and Anne Rice.
    Yes it takes a weird mind to write weird fiction, but not all of us with weird minds are threats. Most of us are not-99.999999999999% of us in fact. Profiling only tells the bad guys what to avoid and does nothing to stop the action.

  • http://www.glosslip.com Dawn

    I agree about the weird writing thing. I mean unless he wrote something grotesquely off-topic and focusing on mass murder, then I don’t see how him being a loner and writing what he did as signs alone.

    I read his two plays. From that evidence alone the only conclusion I could draw is that he is a trite, cliched and crappy writer.

    But that’s what my English teacher said about me.

  • http://shaytheexec.blogspot Shay aka A&R Superstar

    Brad,

    I understand where your coming from, being a loner myself I have sympathy for the sane ones out there!
    But, somehow writing about the same thing and not really having a varied standpoint in the several writings seems pretty weird.
    I mean I’m sure his teachers talked with him about it, but he continued to write about killing his teachers..at least the authors you mentioned were more well-rounded!
    So ok, its only ‘creative writing’ but if you have been advised to write about another topic, but still continue with it…I think it develops into obsession.

  • http://kanrei.blogspot.com Brad Schader

    Shay,
    I am in no way defending this asshole, but rather attacking the way people jump to labels. This guy was a guy and nothing more or less.

    I don’t know if he wrote about killing his teachers. I skimmed the play he wrote, but found it really poorly written and boring so I stopped. He would be a punchline if not for the killing he did.

    I remember when I was in creative writing in college. My teacher hated, HATED a story I wrote so the next one I wrote I purposely made it even worse. I think we all do these things so they really cannot be taken as signs of anything. Now the stalking and being committed on the other hand are very clear signs and should have been looked at.

  • http://rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    The following strikes me as an arrogant, self-justifying, and utterly foolish fantasy:

    “We do not really care enough about other people to want to kill them. If we like you, we like you. If we don’t, we ignore you. It is that simple. Hostile opinions from others do not factor into our minds because we really do not care that much about what those people think. An asshole thinking I am an asshole means nothing because it is the opinion of an asshole.”

    Listen up, Marlon Brando: as the tragedy of Virginia Tech reveals, generalizations such as this are meaningless. Just because someone is a loner does not mean he doesn’t care about the opinions of others; he may care very deeply, as Seung-Hui Cho clearly did.

    And what do you mean “we”? Who is this “we”? You can speak for all loners?

    Which reminds me — would a loner who doesn’t care what others think write such an impassioned piece of nonsense when he feels misjudged?