The diary of Eric Harris, Columbine shooter, is disturbingly full of puerile, senseless violence. But why? These insights crossed my mind:
1.) Strange modes of evolutionary thought. “Natural selection” comes into focus, with Harris thinking “I am higher than you people,” thus justifying to himself the idea that the superior human must destroy inferiors as a matter of natural course. Of course, this would be absurd even to the evolutionist, since competition within a species does not equate to wiping out all other members of said species. Clearly, the idea of natural selection here was a mere rationalization for…
2.) …Insecurity. We know that these kids were mocked mercilessly. This would have created feelings of inferiority and helplessness. (I have firsthand experience, having been teased unceasingly all through grade school.) But rather than retreating into themselves, the Columbine shooters seem to have instead overcompensated as a defensive mechanism, reversing their insecurities into Doom-god-like feelings of superiority, and latching onto a twisted concept of natural selection for use as a pretext to vent their anger on a world that — they felt — persecuted them.
3.) Which brings me to this: While the educational system was busy teaching them about evolution and natural selection, weren’t these children categorically told at any one time, “Thou shalt not kill?” I don’t know about anyone else, but I think a moral absolute such as the prohibition of cold-blooded murder should be of equal if not greater importance than the biological assumption that humans came from animals. I’m not saying that the Ten Commandments and Religion should be standard curriculum (although they were for me, having come from a Jesuit school), but certainly, those standards of morality — which I believe are universal to all humans — should have some place in the educational system, shouldn’t they?
That’s my line of thought. Of course, I’m no Psych major, and I have almost zero experience with the US educational system, (except for about a semester in first grade at a public school in SF) so I’m hardly qualified to give more than this little opinion.