Saturday, August 25, 2007

Do School Shooters Suffer from 'Cynical Shyness'?

From Handsnet, a social services e-bulletin:

After performing an analysis of school shootings in the last decade, researchers at the Shyness Research Institute in Indiana say that the perpetrators are likely to suffer from cynical shyness - an extreme form of shyness that predominantly affects males and can lead to violent behavior. To intervene early on and prevent future violence in schools, teachers, parents and mental health professionals need to be on the lookout for those students whose shyness is a source of anger and hostility.

Presenting at the 115th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, psychologist Bernardo Carducci, PhD, and assistant Kristin Terry Nethery examined news accounts of eight school shootings between 1995 and 2004 for "personal and social indicators" of something they call "cynical shyness." According to them, those indicators are: lack of empathy, low tolerance for frustration, anger outbursts, social rejection from peers, bad family relations and access to weapons.

“Our results indicate that the individuals involved in the seven deadly high school shootings within the last decade clearly had characteristics of cynical shyness. Most of what we see in individuals with this extreme form of shyness is that they tend to be male and desperately want to be socially engaged with other people. But often lacking in social skills, these individuals get rejected by their peers and then avoid social connections because of the resulting pain,” said the authors.

OK, granted. But aren't teenagers in other countries as liable to be ostracized as American teenagers? Aren't they as liable to grow up with a critical shortage of social skills and simmering resentment because they can't find their niche? It's hard to imagine otherwise.

Which makes me think that maybe the most important "indicator" of this malady called cynical shyness is the last one in the researchers' list: access to weapons.

On a related note, it's nice to see that there are countries were death and mayhem by and against children still has the power to outrage. Britain is currently "shocked" by the shooting of an 11 -year-old boy in Liverpool, the youngest gun victim in memory. Two teenagers have been arrested. In addition to being shocked, Brits are perplexed, too, because though guns are strictly controlled they're somehow not very hard to get, and it seems that young people are adopting a casual attitude about using them.

How quaint, those concerns. None of which actually rate as newsworthy here, where the last and next school shooting are always just opportunities for the NRA and allied politicians to declare how opposed they are to gun control. Call it "cynical patriotism," perhaps.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shyness Institute? What the hell is that?

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