When Bullying Becomes A Crime

It has been approximately six months since the shooting in Parkland, Florida, where Nikolas Cruz terrorized Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed seventeen people. Fourteen were students, three were staff members, and more than a dozen other people were injured from the shooting. What led to Nikolas committing this act of horrific crime was years of bullying from his younger brother and other school students who mocked and ridiculed him for his autistic and depression disorders.

There are many people in this world who have disorders and who have been bullied because of those disorders. Most bullied victims who have disorders struggle with their lack of self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect, self-love, and self-care. They do become loners. They do try to commit suicide; unfortunately, some are successful. They don’t fit in with others. They don’t feel loved or accepted and are always feeling rejected. It’s a psychological behavior which is in due part to a chemical imbalance in the brain or from a birth defect. They cannot help it; it is a part of their lifestyle.

Psychological help is there for them, but some bullied victims feel that just makes the bullying worse if others know they are seeing doctors for their issues they are experiencing – in due part to the bullying, for being one. They get bullied even more. But when do the issues in which bullied victims endure due to the bullying become a sign of sporadic, psychological nature that in turn, turn out of control and harm others… with a gun? Specifically, a machine gun. More importantly, how does a bullied victim with psychological disorders as young as Nikolas get his hands on an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle? I ask this question as The Columbine Shooting comes to mind, another horrific shooting that happened in Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.

When does bullying become a crime? It’s obvious with society’s attitude towards bullying that bullying becomes a crime when it involves guns, and other machinery. It seems as though in parts of this nation and world nothing is done in schools to prevent bullying, because if it was prevented, there would be no mass shootings in schools and universities, by causal effect from bullying.

Eric Harris, one of the two shooters from Columbine, had a depressive disorder. It was speculated that Eric and Dylan Klebold retaliated in a mass shooting spree, which also included two duffel bags containing a 20-pound propane bomb, as a result of bullying, killing twelve students and wounding more than twenty other people.

When should communities throughout the Unites States, and the world, start to recognize the symptoms of a troubled child and offer them assistance or inform proper parents, guardians, and authorities – being it school or the law – they think a child needs psychological help?  It should NOT be after a mass shooting spree occurs in schools or universities. It should be when a continual disruptive person has revealed signs that are not of normal behavior, disorders aside.

Does that mean all people who have mental health disorders  – bullied victims or not – are going to turn into mass killers? No. People who have a mental health disorder does not necessarily mean they are going to evolve into would be killers. Those who have a mental health disorder who are conditioned and stable are really great people. You just have to know them inside and out and know their quirks to know what makes them tick to be able to calm them down and be their friend. That’s all they want – a friend. Those who continually avoid people, don’t socialize with others, and verbally say something out of the ordinary in regards to harming others need not only friends but psychological help.

So, how do you know whether to step in and say something about witnessing a bullying, or even an assault of verbal, physical, and/or mental abuse? Let me ask you this, think about the survivors from Santa Fe, Texas, Parkland, Florida, Columbine, Colorado, and Blacksburg, Virginia. Think about what started it – bullying. Why were the shooters terrorizing these schools? In their early years, they were bullied, and no one stepped in to help them or offer a short, caring question, such as “Are you okay?” “Can I help you with something?” or “Do you want to talk about it?”

Disorders aside from the majority of the shooters, they became that way because something inside of them that sparked rage. Like I said, there are a lot of people in this world who suffer from mental health disorders, me being one of them, some who are bullied because of it, some who are not. But there has to be an underlying psychosis not being seen or said that turns into rage, rage enough to get a gun – a machine gun and artillery at that – and kill people, young people who do not deserve their lives to be cut short because of an uncontrolled pyschosis inside the brain of an individual who only sees and feels the rage inside of him/her and carry out the horrific act of a mass shooting spree. It makes me wonder what causes it. I have been bullied. I have three disorders – manic-depressive, seasonal, and schizoaffective (yes, you read that right; you learn more about it and how it affected me in my early adult life if you have bought the autobiography) – but you don’t see me taking a gun and going on a shooting spree.

The next time you see someone who you think needs a friend, offer a smile, offer a “hello.” The next time you see someone being bullied, step in and stop it. If you don’t have the courage to stop the bullying, then go find a higher authority who will. The bullying needs to stop. If it doesn’t, think of others who could be next victims like those from Santa Fe, Parkland, Columbine, and Blacksburg. We don’t need another mass shooting spree caused by (an) enraged individual(s) who were bullied themselves. That’s when bullying becomes a crime. Why must it lead to innocent lives being taken by a gun to make today’s society want to become involved in bullying prevention and gun safety?


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Let’s End Bullying Together!






Colleen Burns

EMAIL: colleenburns@yourlifemattersempowerment.org

SKYPE: colleen.burns62

PS: To learn how martial arts can prevent bullying, click here: http://yourlifemattersempowerment.org/bullying-and-the-martial-arts/

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