Inside the School Shooter’s Mind

Dimitrious Pagourtzis, the Santa Fe High School shooter, appears to be “disoriented,” and his mood varies from “very emotional,” to “weirdly nonemotional”, according to his lawyers.

Why do you always read this when a sociopathic killer is arrested and held?

You will never understand the violent criminal mind, unless you become a sociopathic killer yourself. So don’t even try.

But any initiator of violence shares an error in common with many nonsociopaths, as well. That error consists of blocking out the reality of an individual. You might call it lack of empathy. Empathy is more than kindness, in this context. Empathy refers to the ability and willingness to see reality and existence from another’s point-of-view.

Empathy is part of what prevents a normal person from ever considering the initiation of force against another. Respect for that person’s rights — “I have no right to take another’s life” — is part of the core belief. But what weaves and holds that core belief together is the quality of empathy, which means imagining how horrifying it would be to the others you’re terrorizing, and how you’d never want to experience such a violation yourself.

The ideological and psychological antidote to initiator-of-force sociopathy? What makes empathy possible? Ironically and almost paradoxically, individualism.

People with empathy relate to others as individuals. Nazi Germany was able to happen because people stopped thinking of Jews (and others) as individuals, but only as members of their race and class. Slavery and later Jim Crow laws in the American South happened because white racists never thought of blacks as individuals, but only as members of a race they considered inferior and undesirable. Today, “Antifa” terrorists view Trump supporters not simply as individuals, but as thugs with no rights who have to be physically attacked, if not killed immediately.

Most criminals are not part of any organized political or social movement. But the psychology is the same. Whenever criminal violence rises, you can be sure that individualism has been thrown out the window.

Ironically, in today’s Common Core nationalized education program, public high school students — Dimitrious Pagourtzis among them — have been indoctrinated with the idea that core group identity matters more than individual identity. These schools are not value neutral. They push that the collectivism of environmentalism, socialized medicine, high taxation and unlimited government social programs trump the individualism of the First and Second Amendments, as well as the individual task of thinking reasonably, independently and objectively. Feelings and subjectivity are held as superior to the objectivity of reason, and the resulting insecurity and mistrust in rational thinking leads students to look to their peers to define truth for them. Bullying and violence feed off insecurity, and that’s one reason they’re flourishing in today’s government-run schools.

Pagourtzis’ teachers, using material and regulations commanded from above by leftists in Washington DC, did not teach him how to be an individual. They didn’t want him to be one. It’s no wonder he showed no empathy toward those whom he opened fire upon. They were just floating abstractions, not real people.

He gave a statement admitting to shooting multiple people inside the Santa Fe High School with the intent [of] killing people,” the police affidavit said. “Dimitrios advised he did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told.”

Interesting. Irrational people, being irrational, are never logically consistent. Pagourtzis was counting on others to display empathy toward what he saw as an important cause. He was prepared to sacrifice innocent others for himself, and counted on the empathy of others to protect him when the time came.

It’s not pretty to explore and consider the depraved, irrational thinking of a sociopathic killer, especially one so young. I suppose it’s easier for many simply to say, “He’s mentally ill and that’s that.” Spend more money on mental health programs that do nothing, and of course outlaw guns. Feel like you’re superior for suggesting it, and call it a day.

But at the end of the day, crazy, evil and irrational actions have causes. We continue to evade understanding them at our peril.


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