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Did bullying inspire massacre?

photo by flickr user ken lund

On Saturday, Jan. 8th, a mass killing spree broke out in Tucson, Arizona. The gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, killed six and injured thirteen. One of the people injured was U.S. House Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  After being shot through the head, she sustained extensive physical damage, but she seems to be making steady recovery. The six victims include a wide variety of people, the oldest being Phyllis Schneck, 79, and the youngest being 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green.

Many people have questioned Loughter’s motives. Loughner is said to have been physically and mentally bullied as a child. This may have affected the way that he viewed his life and the world. Dr. Susan Lipkins, a child psychologist that specializes in bullying and has been featured on Oprah, among other shows, claims that bullying can cause depression, loneliness, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.

When asked how she thought bullying affects people, Kalia ’15 said in an email, “I think that actions speak louder than words. It sounds like this guy was seriously harassed as a child, so he probably still remembers it now. Bullies probably made him feel like dirt, so maybe he wants people to know now that he is something, but he had a really devastating way of showing it.”