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Perhaps not the best way to prevent mass shootings..

February 18, 2018

I just read an article on facebook about a technique that may help prevent mass shootings.

What is this technique? Noticing those around you who are socially isolated, and befriending them.

Sounds great, right? If you become friends with them, they will not be socially isolated anymore.

After reading the article, it didn’t take me long to spot the major flaw of this technique.

Some people are difficult, destructive, even dangerous, and are better left alone – and observed from a safe distance.

I’ll give you a couple examples..

Back in college, I had a friend named Wendy, who was one of the nicest, most social people I ever met. She probably knew at least half the people on the campus of the community college we attended.

But she wasn’t too careful about who she talked to. Also, She was quite attractive, and always wore stylish, sexy clothes. She wasn’t sleazy at all, and didn’t look that way. She had a classy, sexy style.

Frankly, I’m surprised nothing seriously bad happened to her. She did end up with two guys that were following her around. But, she knew me and some other guys who were looking out for her. We didn’t even have to directly threaten the two guys who were starting to bother her. It helped that I’m 6’3″, my brother is 6 feet tall, and our friend Randy, though a little shorter than us, was stocky and a known martial artist.

What if Wendy didn’t have friends like us? She should have been more careful. Us guys, her friends, talked to her about that, and she learned from the experience. Not everyone is safe to talk to.

One other example, from a job I had many years ago..

There was a guy where I worked. He looked quite nuts – unkempt, wearing purposely bizarre clothes, reading dark poetry and horror novels, and hanging out by himself, all the time, avoiding everyone.

I thought I’d be nice to him, so I started talking with him. This woke him up. He was quite social after that. And this was not good. He was a genius at being a verbal bully – the sort of person who knows no one will likely hit him just for using words, and that he is better at using words to harm than anyone else. He tormented me and others for months, and was one of the main reasons I quit my job.

It didn’t help that he teamed up with the other socially isolated guy who worked during my shift. That guy, almost always silent, was far bigger than the first guy, (even bigger than me) and acted as a sort of bodyguard for him. The smaller guy kept harassing people. Especially after he found a protector.

Do I think he would have shot up our place of work if I hadn’t talked to him? I doubt it. Should I have left him alone? I think so. He would have kept to himself, and likely not bothered anyone.

Something else to consider – women should be especially careful about trying to befriend those who are socially isolated, especially if those people are men.

Even isolated women can be dangerous, or at least, unpleasant.

One woman at a cafe where I spent a lot of time at during the ’90’s turned out to be dangerous. I and the other regulars, who at first talked with her, left her alone because she was verbally mean. She didn’t like being left alone, and started hitting people at random. She slapped me in the back of the head a few times while I was climbing down some stairs. She got tired of being shunned, and eventually stopped going to the cafe.

Another example of a negative consequence of being in contact with an isolated woman..

Two people I know, a man and woman who were close, and appeared to be a couple though they were not, ended up with a female stalker. This woman was someone they tried to be nice to. She got a crush on the guy, and followed him and his female friend around for months. My friends got a restraining order. That helped. The woman gave up, and is probably stalking someone else now.

Befriending a socially isolated person is a great way to end up with a stalker, or worse.

Are all those who are socially isolated dangerous? No. I am somewhat socially isolated, and not dangerous (unless someone physically attacks me or a loved one – then yes, I’m as dangerous as the next person).

Sometimes I LIKE being socially isolated. I like to read, write, cook, listen to podcasts and music, study random subjects, play with my dog, and practice my ukulele. I spend most of my free time at home, and I am never bored. When I’m feeling lonely, I have people to talk to – so might the person who appears isolated.

Yes, this technique of trying to engage isolated people might be helpful, but it could also bring harm to one’s self and others. I know from experience.

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