In Buffalo, We See the Effects of Ignoring the Mental Health Crisis Among Our Children – Opinion

Schools in New York State were closed for COVID-19 during the week of March 16, 2020. They were closed throughout the school year. Many districts across the state either closed for good or suffered repeated closings. The situation is similar across the nation.

My May 5th post was about the dangers of our mental health crisis. A large part of what we’re seeing, particularly among our youth, is due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and the policies that forced our kids into isolation. The pandemic and those policies did contribute to pushing more and more of our kids into new, more dangerous social circles — those on social media.

A teenager opened fire at a Buffalo supermarket on Saturday. He was from a predominantly African-American neighborhood. The terrorist drove for hours to his Conklin home, New York. It is very possible that this act of terror was preplanned and executed in accordance with that plan.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is partially correct in blaming “social media” and its influence, but the focus is largely superficial. She wants law enforcement to find any and all examples of “hate speech.”

Letitia James of the NY State Attorney General urged people to put aside anger and love. She also said they will be continuing to “investigate social media” and that her office would be focused on that, as they have been “the last few months.”

Governor Kathy Hochul picked up on that tack, as well, saying they needed to look more into “social media” and algorithms to identify “hate speech.” She said they were going to be sitting down with social media companies to see if they were doing everything they could to shut down hate speech. She termed the attack “white supremacy terrorism.”

The problem isn’t “hate speech” or “social media” in general. They happen every day and although they are vile, it rarely leads to violence by the racists making the speech. I realize that, given the raw emotion of the moment, it’s difficult to nuance policy wishes on such things, but it’s important to understand what’s going on.

Our children — and, despite being 18 years old, the supermarket shooter is still emotionally and socially a child — have turned to various social media platforms to find their “community.” In the vast majority of cases, it’s harmless. It’s just kids looking to find acceptance online. This growing need to accept others is leading many children to take on more risks in order get that acceptance.

To get acceptance, they are resorting to identity changes, sexual behaviour, and even worse, changing their gender. We can see the potential for mental illness in children who are susceptible.

‘A school official reported that this very troubled young man had made statements indicating that he wanted to do a shooting, either at a graduation ceremony, or sometime after,’ a government source told the Buffalo News.

Gendron was taken to the hospital for a mental assessment and counselling after police investigated the matter.

According to classmates, he sometimes acted out of character and held extremist views about politics.

One former student recalls that Gendron wore a Hazmat suit for one week to school last year. She believed it had something to do with protecting himself from the coronavirus, but she didn’t rule out the fact that he was making a joke.

‘It was the most extra thing that I ever saw him do,’ a former classmate who asked not to be named said.

There were other indications of Gendron’s fragile mental state.

 During a class exercise in political class in which the students created their own countries with the government of their choice, Gendron’s pick was an autocratic regime that the classmate described as ‘Hitler-esque.’

‘His views were extreme,’ the student said. ‘You could pick any form of government that you wanted and he picked a totalitarian government.’

This kid seems to be a child who has fallen through the cracks, and not a political extremist. Remember, he’s 18 years old. He was just a child when the pandemic started. Like many other children, he was a child with problems whose lives were turned upside-down. Particularly when it comes down to health and social learning.

It is possible to conclude that his affiliations online were true. Online rhetoric sites such as 4chan have become a breeding ground for radicalization, but they don’t actually try to recruit members to neoNazi cults. There are users who may be looking for recruits, however, as there is not enough moderation to make it easy for them.

Incidentally, it appears that the Left’s immediate leap to blaming Tucker Carlson, Fox News, and the GOP for the shooting — rather than the shooter’s mental health — was very premature. According to PJ Media, his manifesto was against conservatism.

At the age of 12, I was deeply involved in communist ideology. Ask anyone at my high school about me, and they will tell you. However, my tendency to move to the right has been consistent from age 15 to 18. According to the political compass, I am in the moderate-moderate authoritarian right category. I prefer being called a populist.


But I prefer being called a populist. But you can call me an ethno-nationalist eco-fascist national socialist if you want, I wouldn’t disagree with you… [C]It is corporatism disguised in onservativism. I will not be a part of that.

In fact, he attacked right-leaning figures directly.

This isn’t some radical conservative. He’s also not some radical leftist. This is an extremely disturbed person who filled his social isolation with extreme ideologies and communities. It was disgusting that he made it so political as did the Left. This is especially shocking from someone who doesn’t care about the consequences of people on their side doing things such as this.

But for someone like the supermarket shooter, someone who clearly has some psychological issues, taking that person from membership to martyr for some online cause doesn’t take much. Because they feel isolated from traditional social groups or society, kids like these seek acceptance from stranger groups. They will go to any lengths to gain that acceptance.

This is the behavior of a mentally-ill boy, forced by many people into social groups he wouldn’t normally seek. As a result, people of horribly offensive opinions influenced him and he did the unthinkable.

This is not the issue. It was an innocent child with obvious issues who fell between the cracks in the system.

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