April 24, 2004

Inferiority or superiority? David Brooks has a meditation on misunderstanding the Columbine murderers (who suffered, the evidence now shows, not from feelings of inferiority but feelings of superiority):
[I]t is striking how resilient this perpetrator-as-victim narrative remains. We still sometimes assume that the people who flew planes into buildings — and those who blew up synagogues in Turkey, trains in Spain, discos in Tel Aviv and schoolchildren this week in Basra — are driven by feelings of weakness, resentment and inferiority. We cling to the egotistical notion that it is our economic and political dominance that drives terrorists insane.

But it could be that whatever causes they support or ideologies they subscribe to, the one thing that the killers have in common is a feeling of immense superiority. It could be that they want to exterminate us because they regard us as spiritually deformed and unfit to live, at least in their world.
Interesting how he turned self-blame into an "egotistical notion." I'm sure the self-blamers will find a way to say that the distorted sense of superiority grows out of a feeling of inferiority--mania is a mood swing away from depression.

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