Archive | January, 2013

Eric Harris Response 2 at home

15 Jan

Reading Eric Harris’ journal has given me a much greater insight into the mind of campus/school shooter the likes of which I can’t claim to have ever before had or experienced.  He is both incredibly intelligent and greatly disturbed at the same time; both overtly egotistical and painfully insecure.  The parts of his personality that most interested me were his constant hypocritical tendencies and his incredible ego.      

He really likes to talk about how all humans just follow the pack and don’t take advantage of their god given skills.  He blames a lot of societal actions that he too even participates in for his own bad feelings about himself.  He can’t seem to hold back the self-hatred he appears to feel and instead withdraws fully from acknowledging his own flaws, saving him the burdens of such, and instead puts them on others in such a way as to take his anger out on them.  This statement alone, “The human race sucks. human nature is smuthered out by society, jobs, and work and school. instincts are deleted by laws. I see people say things that contradict themselves, or people that dont take any advantage to the gift of human life,” (Harris, 5/6/98), shows his blatant misinterpretation of himself, going as far to accuse other people of being hypocrites when he himself is the worst offender.  In quote he mentions “humans being smothered by society” and claims to hate the media and anything like it when in fact throughout his journal he mentions videogames, movies, TV, etc. in almost every entry and it can be clearly seen that these things have influenced him.

This trait of his allows for another trait of his to exist; his massive ego.  Convinced he is not only better than everyone else, but smarter, and more observant of the world, has given him some of the capabilities to go through with his shooting.  When writing to the audience in his journal he states, “its not to obvious to most of you stupid fucks but for these who think a little more and deeper you should realize it,” (Harris, 4/21/98), in reference to going to school and his belief that it simply turns people in to robots.  This ego all seems to crumble though at the slightest negative thought about himself that he has or another has and it is interesting to watch his internal struggle between his insecurities and his ego.

Harris appears to be writing to in general the entire human race.   This journal is a dictation of his “masterful” ideas and “proclamations”.  He ends or mentions in many of his entries with sentences like, “so until next time, fuck you all,” (5/6/98), showing his generality in who he is addressing.  He also does narrow it down on occasion to specific individuals but their names are always censored as it is related to a criminal investigation.



In Class Harris Response Passage 7/29/98

14 Jan

In this passage Harris firmly expresses his ideals of self-awareness and self-responsibility.  He doesn’t want to have someone else or something else blamed for his actions and would be offended if this were the case.  He also brings up that everything that happens really has no other reason than it happened, and this is his cause for taking all responsibilities for his choices.  He believes they are his choices and that’s the only reason he ever does anything, and one cannot look at the choices of others as simply bad or good but just as choices they’ve made completely un-influenced.  Harris writes, “Its MY fault! not my parents, not my brothers, not my friends, not my favorite bands, not computer games, not the media. IT is MINE!”(Harris, 7/29/98), and it makes the reader wonder how influenced he actually was if he felt such a need to deny it.  If Garbarino were to read this passage he would indeed say the exact opposite, and that Harris was greatly affected by his surroundings.  The persistent mentioning of video games and Hollywood and TV would point toward Harris being strongly influenced by these things.

Gabarino Response

10 Jan

In the first chapter Dr. James Gabarino’s book Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them, Gabarino argues that violence in youth is caused by some distinguishable factors and not just random bad seeds in the population.  He focuses very strongly on the noticeable difference between how white youth violence is treated and how African American and other minority violence is treated.  He believes that the violence in inner city areas, suburban areas, and rural areas all have different but valid reasons for why this youth violence is occurring and the root causes for media reaction to violence coming from different ethnicities.  Gabarino also uses this to argue that because of the violence shown by some of the youths can be excusable under certain circumstances.

For inner cities it seems to be the extreme poverty of the community that has been caused in some cases by past racial in equalities and poor planning by government agencies.   It puts many of the people forced to live in these impoverished neighborhoods in a place where sometimes violence is necessary for survival.  In suburbia he says there are trends of domestic abuse both mentally and physically (even sexually), and that children are affected in their young age and develop coping mechanism for their problems inside.  When they turn violent it seems is when they can’t cope anymore and either believes it’s too late and want to die, or are really using this attention to get the help they need.  In rural areas much of the aggressive nature can be described by the culture so ingrained in some the mostly rural southern communities.  Much of this culture stems from slave days and is not caused so much by African Americans as it is caused by the effects of slavery.  The southern culture and the religion that came with it was engrained into the rural areas and into the black community.  This caused a very strong “eye for an eye” feeling which came from the roots of the religion and into the culture, and this only ensighted more violence.

While reading and thinking about what Gabarino is arguing in his paper I couldn’t help but continue to agree with most the points he was making.  It’s not just that a lot of the youth violence is invigorated because of racial stereotypes and past issues but also because the American family is in detriment.  The statistics for parents being around their kids has gone done in both lower class and middle class families.  Children who are born pre mature are surviving at a higher rate and have a higher risk of having ADD or other neurological disabilities.  Gabarino means to say is that its not the violence itself which is the issue but the reasons for the violence that we should look at.  We can’t blame race because its happening everywhere.  We can’t blame the individual either because it may not be their fault but rather their upbringing.

Gabarino moves for more compassion for the children committing these acts, and still after much consideration I would agree.  If a child who seemed perfect and normal one day snaps and goes to a school to shoot his/her friends, then their needs to be an explanation other then “He did it so he’s guilty so well deal with him as such”.  These youths are most likely troubled souls who have been abused or witnessed to this violence in order to have this breaking point.  Because of all this it is my belief that whatever the issue may be, every case is different, and should therefore be dealt with as such.  No subjective sentence can simply encompass all these youths, and steps should be taken to help these kids.

Learning Goals

7 Jan

In the writing world one my of my stronger attributes is my ability to use other works I’ve read in my writing and mesh them almost seamlessly with my arguments. I say this because I understand the things I read very well, and have a great memory for detail. I can make assertions from parcels of writing that others may or may not see and find a way to work them into a more affective format in my argument. With rhetoric in mind I would say I also can use a piece of writing that says one things and turn it around for the sake of an argument to mean another, and this is one of the ways in which I like to argue some of my points in writing.
Another of my strong suits would have to be my ability to “write effectively in different kinds of situations”. I would not call myself the strongest writer in the world but I am imaginative and creative and can write well in many areas or kinds of formal or informal writing. I have had a lot of experiences writing different for different situations as I took a variety of English classes in high school which covered much of the writing spectrum.
I’d say my weaknesses in writing are my poor editing and revision skills. I edit I tend to miss a lot or not see as much need for change as is noticeable to someone else reading my writing. A lot of arguments I make that make sense to me (also I write off into tangents sometimes and I may think they are related topic but when reviewed they really aren’t) might not make sense to someone else and I can miss that often. This to me seems to also be the cause for my lack of skill in revising because I don’t wholly recognize the problem in the first place always. Once I have an idea of what needs to be revised though I can usually do a good job at fixing it, but I would say this is still an area that needs some work.