Friday, April 27, 2007

How To Prevent People From Becoming or Creating Shooters

I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist, and therefore not qualified to diagnose anyone's situation or give anyone advice. I can only speak from my own experience and tell you how I handle things, rightly or wrongly.

I'd also like to point out that I'm not talking about the everyday type of harassment which is short-lived or low-key and there is no serious malicious intent. A lot people go through that, and both the harasser and the harassed get over it and move on. The vast majority of bullies are like that, all you have to do is stand up to them and it's over.

I'm talking about serious and malicious harassment which is long term and/or intense and seriously intended to hurt the person who is being targeted.

To those people being harassed, adults and children alike, I understand your frustration. I hear you and feel what you feel.

How do you cope with malicious harassment without shooting people?

You need to understand the following:

1. The people who instigate malicious harassment campaigns are bullies, cowards, insecure and disturbed people.
2. The people who go along with them are just plain stupid.
3. If you shoot them, or try to get revenge by doing the same things they are doing to you, they win, every lie they've told about you becomes truth. They walk away looking like saints; a lot of innocent people have died who did nothing to you and may have been the type of people who could have been your friends; and you're either dead or in jail. You pay the price for what they did!

The best revenge against people like this is:

1. Be your own person, you are not who they make you out to be. They are the liars. Their hatred towards you is not about you, it's about them and their own failings as human beings. They are people who cannot feel good about themselves unless they are making others feel bad about themselves. Don't give them that pleasure. There is nothing wrong with you and a whole lot wrong with them ... and they know it.
2. Live your own life, don't make your life about them. They're not worth it ... and that's what they want. Do the things that you enjoy and take pleasure from that. Make your life about doing the things that you want to do, the things that you enjoy, and about achieving your own successes in life. Make a contribution despite these people. Always remain positive. Tomorrow is a new day.
3. Your success, is their loss, every lie they've told about you gets exposed.

I agree, it's tough, because day in and day out you are forced to face what they are doing to you because they won't leave you alone.

If they do something illegal against you, and you can prove it, go to the police. If you can't prove it, report it to others, family members and friends. Make sure others know what's going on. Take steps to protect yourself.

How you react is the critical factor. Remember, they are psychopaths and they get pleasure from your pain. Where you can, don't react, walk away, and just keep doing what you were planning to do that day. Not reacting let's them know that they don't matter to you and what they are doing matters even less.

Always stand up for other people facing the same type of harassment, particularly from the same people. Stick together and you might be able to build a legal case against them. Document everything. Parents can do this for their children when the children are being bullied. Schools are obligated by law to protect your children while under their care. File law suits if the school doesn't act and pressure Parent Groups to demand School Boards put zero tolerance policies in place. Employees should do the same with their employers (how many work place shootings have we had!) and demand legislation be put in place to protect employees from this. Citizens should insist that their municipalities face the same requirements.

The Goal: a world where harassment is illegal and a criminal offense.

In Canada, our Charter of Rights states: "12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment ... ."

In my opinion, harassment of individuals by bullies/psychopaths meets the criteria of "cruel and unusual treatment". Law Suits can also be filed on defamation of character, slander, on whatever illegal activities have occurred (and they always do because people who do this are essentially criminals whether they are children or adults), etc.

Perhaps harassed people should consider filing Charter complaints....

Let others know that you think people who behave this way are beneath contempt, ridiculous, and not worth your time, and that you are considering a law suit. They are cowards and threat of legal action scares the hell out them because they don't want everyone to know what they are doing and what losers they are.

If you are going to fight back, fight back for Justice not Revenge!

It's a harder battle to fight but you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Your persecutor, on the other hand, has everything to lose.

To those of you who see this occurring? Stop turning a blind eye and justifying it by saying it's not your problem. Take a stand against the harassment and the harassers.

It's very important to let the person being harassed know that you are aware of their situation, don't agree with what others are doing and saying, and you are there for them. It's not that hard and that one kindness can make a huge difference to a person in this situation.

Let the harasser know that you don't agree with them and think that what they are doing is inappropriate, possibly illegal, and that you are supporting the person being harassed.

Yes, it is possible, even likely, that you will then become a target, but if a lot of people are standing by the people being harassed it becomes extremely difficult for the people harassing to maintain their campaign.

By doing this you will help someone out and contribute to preventing people from becoming shooters.

Turning a blind eye to the problem is the same as tacit agreement and you, by your silence, shoulder as much responsibility as those who instigate this type of behavior.

Be socially responsible and participate in the solution to the problem, not the creation of the problem.

My two cents worth.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Making Of A Mass Murderer

Please note that the following comments are not intended to justify or legitimize mass murder. We all have to take responsibility for our actions and shooting people, innocent or guilty, is not, under any circumstances, a legitimate response to harassment. There can be no excuses for this type of reaction, and those who do it belong in jail and should not be romanticized.

My intent is to simply explore the issue.

The Making Of A Mass Murderer

Get a shy, vulnerable, sensitive child, or, a child with an existing mental illness.

Add distant parents who, for one reason or another, either cannot or choose not to be there for the child (psychologically, emotionally, physically and/or a combination of these). Or, if the parents are there for the child, they aren't able to get the services the child needs, for any number of reasons.

Add teachers in overcrowded classrooms who are too busy to see the warning signs, and ensure there is no funding to provide teachers or staff to supervise the school grounds. Or, if an alert teacher does see the warning signs, the programs aren't available because they don't exist, they're full or they're too short term to be of any help.

Add schools which don't have zero tolerance policies against harassment and bullying.

Put the child in a school environment where he is made fun of, picked on, bullied, terrorized, and harassed on an ongoing and daily basis.

If he is shy and vulnerable, ensure that he feels alone, even more vulnerable and frightened, and that absolutely no-one cares about what is happening to him.

If he is mentally ill, ensure that he is not diagnosed and/or treated for his illness, or, don't ensure that he follows his treatment plan, and that he feels like absolutely no-one cares about what is happening to him.

If he is shy and vulnerable, he'll internalize all the hate directed against him and it will develop into a malignant hate which he directs against a world which his experience has shown him is a cold, hostile, unfriendly place, as well as those who abused him.

If he is mentally ill, and not properly diagnosed and/or treated, it won't matter whether the environment is hostile or friendly since he'll over react to perceived slights whether they in fact occurred or not. He is incapable of seeing the world in any other way.

A school shooter is born.

Do the same thing in the work place or in your community to create other types of shooters.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech Shootings

I'm shocked speechless. I've been watching the news and the story unfold.

All the special issue types have been out flogging their positions. And, frankly their positions don't matter because gun control, or not, or whatever other issues are being flogged, or not, this shooting could not have been prevented by a special issue law being passed.

The shooter was a young man who snapped. Why? We don't know and may never really know.

How do we prevent this? By keeping close contact with our children? Understanding their issues, and intervening when necessary? Unfortunately, the professors and administrative staff, counselling staff, etc. are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of students on campus. How can we expect them to know what's going on in the minds of one? Children are notorious and more than capable of hiding these issues from their parents.

2007/4/23. Update: According to the Montel Williams show, two of Cho's classmates stated that he was a shy boy who suffered through years of malicious harassment at his high school.

2007/4/19. Update: According to the Collegiate Times, Virginia Techs' Student Newspaper: "
A court order in 2005 declares Cho as an "Imminent danger" to himself and others. Another court order by VA. Special Justice declares Cho as "MENTALLY ILL."" The Head of the English Department made every effort to get him the help he needed, and to protect her students, within the existing laws.

Dawson College's shooter (Montreal Canada) wasn't even a student, just another young man who snapped.

Focusing on security, on gun control, on other special issues is not going to stop the killing. It hasn't stopped the killing.

We have gun control in Canada. The Dawson College shooter had a legally registered and licensed gun which he used to kill and injure students and finally kill himself.

They don't have gun control in Virginia (as far as I know). The Virginia Tech shooter had 2 illegal guns which he used to kill and injure students and finally kill himself.

2007/4/18. Update: According to the Collegiate Times, Virginia Techs' Student Newspaper: "
The weapons found on the scene in Norris Hall have been found to have been legally purchased by Cho according to Virginia gun laws."

In my opinion, while the protection of our children is important and their security has to be provided for, the best protection we can offer, is to try to find out why some of our children are snapping in this way. What are the pressures they are facing and why do they see shooting, then suicide, as a reasonable option? What is driving them to snap?

How do we do this? I don't know, I don't have the answers. Those with the right expertise in these areas need to provide us with the answers and implement solutions. Until they do, our children will continue to be at risk of becoming shooters or becoming the victims of shooters.

No matter how much security we have, if someone is determined they will find a way to get past it.

How are we failing our children? They are crying out for our help. Let's get past the special issue agendas, find out what they need and provide it to them.

My condolences go out to the families of the children who were murdered and wishes that the injured children will heal quickly and well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Friday the 13th, Paraskevidekatriaphobia, Triskaidekaphobia and Superstition

Fear of Friday the 13th According to Dr. Donald Dossey, the man who coined this phrase, if you can pronounce it, you're cured :)

Fear of the number 13

An irrational belief that an object, action, or circumstance not logically related to a course of events influences its outcome.

We are a society inundated with superstitious fears.

A black cat crosses your path - bad luck; You walked under a ladder - bad luck; You broke a mirror - 7 years bad luck; "Step on a crack you break your mothers back, step on a line you break your mothers spine", and on and on.

Fear of the number 13 and in particular Friday the 13th is, apparently, one of the most widespread.

Why? Because, according to Norse mythology, and Christianity, some bad things happened associated with the number 13 and Friday the 13th.


What about all the bad things that happen on days other than Friday the 13th? Are they less important, less significant somehow? Or, is it the fact that since the belief already exists, a negative occurrence on that day just confirms the belief in some peoples' minds.

Then we have the more recent association between Friday the 13th and
psychopaths established through the Friday the 13th series of movies.

Of course, there are also those who take almost a perverse enjoyment in challenging the established belief system, like the bikers, who celebrate the day by getting together in droves at prearranged sites in North America.

While that approach holds a certain appeal to me ;), I fit into the category of the common sense types who recognize that these superstitious beliefs are based on fallacies and therefore the fears are unfounded (

What are the fallacies in thinking?

  1. Historically, just as many bad things have happened on other days, as happened on Friday the 13th.
  2. Not all ancient belief systems considered 13 a bad number. Pagan systems such as Numerology, Astrology, and the Tarot, do not consider the number 13 as bad luck per se. In the traditional study of numerology, 13 represents someone who is reborn into a higher level of consciousness and has reached a state of transmutation. It is also resolved to 4(1+3=4), which generally speaking refers to the virtues of work. In Astrology, the ancient Celtic traditions had a 13 sign lunar Zodiac based on the Druidic Tree of Life. In the Tarot, Card number 13 is the Death card, however, it does not represent physical death, but endings, conclusions to a cycle, or transitions and transformations. Many other pagan traditions like Wicca, etc. also cherish and celebrate the number.
  3. If you were to count the number of horrific and key events that occurred in the Bible only a few have been attributed to the number 13 or the date Friday the 13th, and that's assuming that the date calculations are, in fact, correct. Considering the fact that many significant dates attributed in the Bible have been proven to be incorrect ... like Jesus birthday....
  4. According to Christian beliefs 13 is unlucky because there were 13 at the Last Supper where Judas betrayed Jesus. However, if you believe the Gospel of Judas, recently uncovered and in the process of translation, Judas betrayed Jesus at Jesus request! So, it would seem, poor Judas has been given a bum rap. And how many times during the course of the time period represented in the Bible, did the 13 get together for supper (before the Last Supper) where really good things happened?
  5. The only association that I'm aware of between serial killer psychopaths and the number 13 is that a few (nowhere near the majority) have 13 letters in their name. Now I can see how a psychopath might try to use this fear against, or attempt to create this fear in, an intended victim, but generally speaking, psychopaths are too emotionally disconnected to have a phobia themselves. Their thinking processes are also too limited for them to appreciate the mythology or mystery behind the number. Their "magical thinking" processes are limited to their delusions that they are all powerful, and can't possibly get caught in whatever sleazy activity they might be engaging in.
And I'm sure others could come up with many more fallacies.

So, practice pronouncing Paraskevidekatriaphobia (pair.uh.skee.vee.dek.uh.tree.uh.FOH.bee.uh), then go out on Friday the 13th, and Have a Great Day! :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Racism: Canada vs US

We Canadians are a very insecure lot. We suffer our insecurities like a badge, and it's for that reason we always feel it necessary to prove, to show the world, that we are better, wiser, more democratic, more humane, more politically correct, less racist, etc. than our American neighbors and our British forbears.

Our American neighbors, on the other hand, barely know that we exist, and in most cases, don't particularly care what we think about them, or, about anything else. To them, we're like the little brother, who is regarded with affection and a pat on the head when we do something that appeals to them, other times a complete irritant, and most of the time not really acknowledged. The Snowbirds and Frostbacks conundrum.

After all, Mama Britain had to cut our apron strings, we didn't revolt like our big brother Americans and assert our Independence.

Britain just used to consider us a wayward child. Yes, Canada, you can have the BNA Act back if you really want it. I don't know why it makes any difference to you, but here it is ... now calm down, child. Of course you're free to create your own Charter of Rights and Constitution, but this one has been good enough for this long, don't really know what the problem is. And now, I doubt they consider us at all. They've pretty much let go.

This insecurity, this need to prove that we are better and different, is ingrained in our culture, in who we are. Part of our problem is that we still, after years of trying to establish a unique identity, haven't really figured it out. All we know for certain is that we want to be different from Britain and the US, so we establish policies, governing styles, culture, etc. from that point of view, and then flaunt them to the world to establish our uniqueness.

Herein lie the roots of our Multiculturalism policy, a policy which, in my opinion, is racist and divisive.

Yes, I know, Canada's Multiculturalism policy, is one of Canada's Holy Grails. People who criticize it are evil and/or racists blah blah blah.

This is another one of our shortcomings. Try to talk about certain issues, question them, criticize them, and rather than debating the issue, things just degenerate into name calling. How dare you say that our policy is racist, it's intended to eliminate racism. You must be evil, and/or a racist.

Well ... frankly ... the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Canada's Multiculturalism policy is a good example of that.

Neil Bissoondath, a well known and well respected Canadian author, whose family origins, like mine, are from India, said it best in his book,
Selling Illusions, The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada:

"Multiculturalism has, over the years, acquired aspects of a holy cow for many, a cash cow for some. Both are dangerous creatures. Standing on consecrated ground, they resent being disturbed and, when challenged, are inclined to bite. But a society that wishes to remain healthy and to grow must, from time to time, stare the holy cows down; it must probe and question them, and decide on their merits and usefulness. To fail to do so is to atrophy."

"There are many ways of approaching a laudable end. It is incumbent on those who seek it - the end, in this case, being a truly pluralistic society - to define their vision with words weightier than vacuous expressions of good will. It is also vital that they not settle into the kind of self-righteous complacency that summarily rejects criticism, for to do so not only calls their vision into disrepute but also proves inimical to the fabric of the society that vision seeks to serve."

Mr. Bissoondaths' book is a good read for anyone interested in this topic: Selling Illusions, The Cult of Multiculturalism in Canada.

Now, why do I object to this policy of Multiculturalism?

In the 1980s, I was going to college part-time to build credits for a university degree. The courses I took were first year introductory Psychology. One of my assignments was to set up an experiment on paper, on any issue I was interested in researching. I chose Stereotypes. Since this was an experiment on paper and not one which was actually going to be implemented, my conclusions had to be based on existing experiments which had been performed in this area and their results.

Stereotypes was an area that had been well explored in the 1930s and 1960s in North America. One conclusion which came out of these experiments consistently was that emphasizing differences contributes to stereotypical thinking and divisive attitudes whereas emphasizing similarities brought people together and built understanding, acceptance and community. This is an oversimplified and very basic explanation. I'm not going to get into quoting all kinds of references here, this isn't a research piece, just an opinion. My purpose for explaining this is to simply explain how I came to the conclusions I came to.

In the 1980s, Multiculturalism was a well established policy. It was established in the 1970s, in response to the many complaints of systemic racism which was the norm in Canada at that time. The hope and intent was to build respect for the many cultures that made up Canada by all Canadians.

However, to give those who put this policy together, the benefit of the doubt, I have to assume they weren't familiar with the available research and its results on stereotypical thinking.

The Official website of the Canadian government describes the policy as follows:

Canadian multiculturalism is fundamental to our belief that all citizens are equal. Multiculturalism ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging. Acceptance gives Canadians a feeling of security and self-confidence, making them more open to, and accepting of, diverse cultures. The Canadian experience has shown that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and cross-cultural understanding, and discourages ghettoization, hatred, discrimination and violence.

Through multiculturalism, Canada recognizes the potential of all Canadians, encouraging them to integrate into their society and take an active part in its social, cultural, economic and political affairs.

Canadian Heritage - Government of Canada Web Site

The same website provides the following statistics:
  • 36 percent of visible minorities feel they have experienced discrimination and unfair treatment because of ethno-cultural characteristics;
  • nearly 50 percent of Blacks reported discrimination or unfair treatment. By contrast, 33 percent of South Asian and Chinese respondents reported discrimination or unfair treatment;
  • when broken down by gender, there is a slight increase in reports of discrimination by Black men (53% compared to 47% for women). There is a similar increase reported by South Asian men (38% compared to 27% for women);
  • according to a 2003 Ekos survey, 46 percent of Aboriginal people living off-reserve reported being a victim of racism or discrimination at least once over the previous two years;
  • research by Ipsos-Reid (2002) suggested that more than six-out-of-ten Canadians (61%) think that racism separates Aboriginal peoples from the rest of society; and
  • roughly the same proportion (59%) felt that Aboriginal peoples are discriminated against by other Canadians.
Canadian Heritage - Government of Canada - Statistics Web Site

Now, one would think that, based on these statistics, they might clue in to the fact, that Multiculturalism isn't working. I would also go as far as to say that discrimination is under-reported in the South Asian population because I know from personal experience with this community, that new immigrants in particular, often do not recognize (or acknowledge) certain acts as racist, acts which North American blacks will correctly identify as racist.

My attempt to find the equivalent statistics for the US failed since they tend to break their stats down to specific categories such as housing, employment, etc. and in the documents I found, made general statements instead of giving specific percentages. However the impression I'm left with is that their situation is pretty much the same as ours except that the discrimination against South Asians has increased and is much higher since 9/11. However, since there was far less discrimination against South Asians before 9/11, my guess is that rates are likely the same or similar now. If anyone out there has the stats feel free to pass them on and I'll add them. Not having these stats makes it a little more difficult to argue my point, so I can't really get into whether the American melting pot concept is better or not. When I get that information I'll update this section.

However, the reality is that the concept of Multiculturalism hasn't eliminated racism, far from it.

The requirements for a society which claims to have eliminated racism is inclusion. Inclusion comes by emphasizing similarities, commonalities, and making differences incidental.

Multiculturalism has ghettoized Canadian society. Minorities stay within their own groups and interact with society from that base. Politicians from those groups represent the special interests of those groups and not necessarily their constituencies. We even have situations where lobby groups are created to represent the special interests of the foreign country from where these groups originate or are tied. The loyalties of these lobby groups is to the foreign interests they represent and not to Canada. Multiculturalism encourages this.

Inclusion results in all parties respecting each other and opens doors for full participation in each others lives and in the society at large. People are free to make their choices regarding their belief and value systems but the belief and value systems of others are no longer a deterrent to building a relationship based on other common interests. Instead of encouraging isolation of people in the communities which represent their origins, people are encouraged to break out of those bounds and get involved with people outside of their communities. They become Canadians.

Ask most Canadian minorities (including many who are born here) what their nationality is? You'll get a hypenated response. Indo-Canadian, African-Canadian, etc. This, in my opinion, indicates a ghettoized psychology. Why not just Canadian?

When people ask me, I say I'm Canadian. The ghettoized psychology of Multiculturalism usually prompts the question, where are you originally from? My response? Canada. Where were your parents from? Canada. Where does your family originate from? India. Finally the hear what they expect to hear. I'm not criticizing those individuals, like I said, it's the psychology of Multiculturalism that encourages this and people respond accordingly.

My grandfather came to Canada in 1908. My father grew up here and raised my siblings and I as Canadian. He believed in integration. His logic was that our family had been in Canada so long that what was the point hanging on to the past. So, while we understood our roots, and respected the culture, values and belief system of our homeland, we also moved into the future and integrated fully into Canadian life.

The stereotypes encouraged by Canadian Multicultural policy only serve to prevent, block this process of integration and inclusion.

My family, the Hundals, are completely integrated into both the Canadian and American fabric. A fact of which I'm proud. We also have a proud heritage in my homeland on both my mothers and fathers side of the family. Another fact of which I'm proud.

My grandfather settled in Vancouver in 1908, his brother, my grand uncle settled in San Francisco at the same time. Our legacy is integration, inclusion, represented by intermarriage in both countries. The youngest generation of my family is almost entirely represented by children who are mixed. We have almost every race and religion represented. Narrow minded bigotries and stereotypes have been stamped out. Everyone is included and accepted.

When I was growing up, I would ask my friends what their national origins were, and was always greeted with responses like: Well I'm part Irish, French, Scottish, or I'm part Italian, English, Norwegian, etc. You will get a similar response from the kids in my family. I'm part Jewish, Indian, Scottish, or, I'm part Indian, Mormon, Spanish, etc.

This is what North America is. We're all part something, or we might be one whole something, but we are first and foremost Canadian or American (or sometimes both ;).

The Internet has, by its very nature, created an inclusionary virtual world. No one knows what anyone looks like, what their nationality, religion, etc. is, or whether they are disabled, unless they choose to share. People don't discriminate because they don't know what to discriminate against until they get to know you. And if they have taken the time to get to know you, the things they might have held against you no longer matter. That's not to say that the Internet doesn't also have it's virtual microcosms of hate, it does. It also has it's communities based on nationality, religion, etc. The difference is that no-one restricts themselves to those communities.

On the Internet, people are free to explore and get to know other people without the bars that normally exist ... and they do.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Google's New TiSP Beta

To those of you who have taken advantage of Google's very generous TiSP offer but are having trouble installing your systems, help is available!

Just go to: Google TiSP Discussion and the wisdom of the tech masses is at your fingertips.

Great advice and suggestions to get you through your installation troubles!

Check it out if you haven't got it: Google TiSP

Special features available for the deaf: Deaf Base TiSP

Video presentation on installing the system is available here:

The following suggestion from "illuminus" was quite helpful in getting my system running but has worsened my dropped packets problem.

"You have to use the eXtended Length Ansynchronous Transfer, (or
X.L.A.X.), to stream packet heavy data. I get a little bit of gurgling
with VOIP, but for torrents I'm getting lots of seeds from my peers.
Bandwidth caps out at about 1 Gpp / sec. "

Any suggestions?

With new technology comes new challenges so I've developed BactVirScanner (to sterilize the data stream) and GFlush Drive to store solid datapackets. Available free for download on request ;).

Don't you just love Google? ;) Too funny!


One more Installation Video