As is usual when a school shooting happens the accusations of bullying as a motive are quick to be thrown around. Once again, this is what I like to call the perpetuation of the Columbine bullying myth. This is based on the fact that right after Columbine it was reported that the shooters committed their attack on the school because they were bullied. Further investigation proved that not to be the case but the myth continues to gain a foothold in the American consciousness. Even in subsequent school shootings where bullying is claimed as the motive more often than not the shooters were actually the bullies. According to at least one former acquaintance of one of the shooters, the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch is no exception.
One of the accused shooters, 18-year-old Devon Erickson was said to be not only a physical bully but a psychological one as well…
“They couldn’t believe that he would actually do it, but they weren’t entirely surprised that he did,” Kevin Cole said of the suspect’s friends.
He would enter the classroom and say, “when the pencil hits the floor I’m going to start shooting.” Then, he would spend the rest of class sporadically dropping pencils, Cole said of the suspect.
And sometimes, the “jokes” were more like threats.
“He would just get really close and kind of hunch himself over your shoulder as you were sitting down, and he would just whisper in your ear ‘don’t come to school tomorrow’ and just kind of crack a smile and walk back to his seat,” Cole said.
People would write it off as “that was just a Devon thing” and laugh, Cole said.
And the physical bullying went well beyond what I would call bullying and more into the assault and battery category…
The alleged gunman would get into fights when people he didn’t like made him mad, Cole said. He described an incident in the eighth grade when he said the alleged gunman choked one of his own friends with a rubber tube in the middle of class.
He probably thought it was playful, Cole said, but the friend had to go home that day. Cole didn’t know if there were any consequences to that incident.
“That’s how he got his kicks, that’s what he thought was funny is if he could get a reaction out of you,” Cole said.
But please keep telling me how these murderers were bullied.
With the way Erickson is said to have acted, I can almost guarantee that we’ll find out he is a columbiner.