Stop Humanizing Mass Murderers

On February 14, 2018, a man armed with an AR-15 rifle entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s campus and opened fire on hundreds of fleeing students and faculty members. The murder of 17 innocent people marks this the third deadliest school shooting in American history. This article does not aim to argue for gun control or spout facts and figures about other countries’ policies. My focus is addressing the insensitive responses to this tragedy. While scrolling through tweets and articles, I saw an overwhelming number of them excusing the murderer’s actions, referring to him as a “mentally disturbed and broken child.”

No.

His mental illness did not drive him to commit this crime. There are no excuses for what he did and his troubled past should not serve as a basis for humanizing him. Articles will offer notes of tenderness and discuss how the murderer had terrible thing XYZ happen to him, and thus decided to kill 17 people. You can have a troubled past and not shoot up a school. You can be an orphan and not shoot up a school. You can have severe mental health issues and not shoot up a school. Mental instability is not an accurate predictor of someone’s capacity to become a mass murderer. Several countries around the world have similar rates of mental illness while also having fewer instances of gun violence.  Forensic psychiatry chief at Chicago’s Rush University Medical College Dr. Louis Kraus says “The vast majority of gun violence is not attributable to mental illness.” Violence is most often a result of alcohol or drug addiction or abuse.

Do not blame the Parkland massacre on mental illness and consequently minimize the murderer’s actions by doing so. We need to stop making hasty excuses for these crimes and truly make a change. Stop sugarcoating the Parkland shooting and “issue of mental health” and make some real changes in policy. I will not name him because he does not deserve to go down in history. He deserves to be forgotten, lost to our memory, because his sick actions will haunt us for years to come. We must remember the victims of this shooting and honor them.

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14

Scott Beigel, 35

Martin Duque Anguiano, 14

Nicholas Dworet, 17

Aaron Feis, 37

Jaime Guttenberg, 14

Chris Hixon, 49

Luke Hoyer, 15

Cara Loughran, 14

Gina Montalto, 14

Joaquin Oliver, 17

Alaina Petty, 14

Meadow Pollack, 18

Helena Ramsay, 17

Alex Schachter, 14

Carmen Schentrup, 16

Peter Wang, 15

Our hearts go out to the members of Douglas High School. If you’d like to help provide relief and financial support to them in this terrible time, donate to the families using the link below.

https://www.gofundme.com/stonemandouglasvictimsfund