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Submitted by Gonzalo Lira
Sodini piece -
The event was tragic. The unemployment was an "icing on the cake" for this man's deranged behavior. The truly frightening part of his stated history is that he never spent a night with a girl. Very, very troubled individual. I don't think that means he hated women, just that he wasn't getting any on a regular basis. That's enough to make any man nuts. It's wrong to say that his job situation created the psychological break down.
I don't know about that. I went for years without "getting any"! Never really bothered me, as god blessed me with two hands. I got no problem admitting I did that. Better than going stir crazy.
And no I did not hate woman, just did not desire their company for a spell. Had been let down too many times, and needed time to get over that.
Now I am married, been so since 1994. So things work out if you can leave the guns alone.
Why does everyone think that have to take someone else out when they decide to commit suicide? Terrible, and the reason I carry a gun everywhere I go anymore.
Is that the National Anthem I hear?
As much as I agree with the sentiment that employers are using this recession as an excuse to gain a significant upper hand on Employee compensation, I think that the author is stretching the connection between job stress and shooting rampage.
On the basic sentiment, I've talked to many who have had 401K matches removed, across the board salary cuts, Employee Stock purchase programs cut and other loss of benefits. This will eventually cause a reaction of some sort.
Capitalista, I disagree.
One of the primary social purposes of employment and a viable middle class is it keeps the marginally crazy busy. Restated, if the crazies have enough money, a place to live, and a job keeping them busy then the motivations to do horrible things are muted.
Typically content like this challenges American sensibilities because there are elements of social class being discussed. Instead, American's tend to label the guy a freak as a way to avoid social class discussions at all. This keeps everything going exactly as it has been.
"One of the primary social purposes of employment and a viable middle class is it keeps the marginally crazy busy. Restated, if the crazies have enough money, a place to live, and a job keeping them busy then the motivations to do horrible things are muted."
Thank you! Well said. Which is why stimulus does not bother me, while blank check bailouts to banks (who then go ahead and lay people off anyway) do.
Give me a freaking break. Sodini was a delusional paranoid. The idea that his diary "nailed" anything is absurd. And he didn't hate women? Seriously? I can't believe you're posting this garbage TD. I love your stuff on HFT, ect, but you've really jumped the shark with this Alex Jones style disillusionment crap.
...oh wait. Sorry. I forgot about all the delusional paranoid conspiracy theorists here on ZH. You know, the ones who are stockpiling guns and ammo for the next 1776 style "revolution". I take back everything I said. Sodini WAS right. He really WAS in touch with the anxiety that average Americans are feeling. He wasn't a lone nut at all.
See, I'm your side guys. Now, please don't kill me.
you disagree with a presented opinion. you are in your right to do so.
And I thank you for the opportunity to disagree.
I'm just saying - we're talking about a man that walked into a workout center and started shooting randomly at innocent women. Then he put the gun to himself.
Not the kind of guy I want representing my frustration.
That is exactly my point: I don't want someone like Sodini to represent my or anyone else's frustrations, either—but he in fact does represent and embody the frustrations and anxieties of millions of people.
THAT is what makes Sodini so frightening, and leads me to believe there will be a lot more tragedies like this one.
Your flippant disregard for the posibility of a deeper understanding of an obviously irrational individual is exactly the problem discussed in this paper.
You missed the point of the entire piece. It wasn't an exoneration, or some bleeding-heart Oprah style "feel bad for the poor fella", the point is that this is no longer an isolated event in some section 8 neighborhood of gang bangers and drug dealers. These shootings, if anyone is paying attention, are happening with much more frequency. I remember Columbine, the entire nation was paralyzed for weeks. Now, it's "just another psycho". Was the guy on any pharmas?!? We don't know, and likely the M$M won't tell us if he is, it's bad for the pharma biz.
Bottom line, the corporate feudalistic system that has ensnared the very fabric of politics, business, even our homes and private lives, is exacting a much deeper toll than any numeric graph linear algebra can quantify.
Agree with D.O.D. "Black and white, without acknowledging a gray area" thinking is what exemplifies our society today... the piece TD posted offers the ability to gain insight into the complexity of what motivates human behavior... not to condone that behavior. But there are many of us that post here who can slip easily into "black and white" or "good and bad" ways of looking at the world... but we must also reflect on the 'gray areas' from time-to-time which include causative factors.
Brilliant reposte. This is exactly correct. I'll let DOD's post work for my own.
DOD's "bottom line" is a major point. If you haven't yet drank the cubefarm koolaid, you'll understand the reference.
Seriously, ZH has taken a decidedly dangerous turn in the last week. Trying to fit one man's insanely narcissistic and homicidal act into your own ideology says A LOT about how far you'll go to rationalize your own paranoia.
You have missed the point of the essay. There is pervasive anxiety in the work place about getting laid off. And there is the truth that under the pretext of recession, companies are pushing so much work offshore. Those are facts and not conspiracy theory. In this guy's case the anxiety of getting laid off coupled with the angst of not getting laid plus the fact that he has access to guns resulted in innocents dying. That being said, ZH has definitely muddied the waters by getting into political issues - and it is getting hard to discern the signal from the noise. Hope there is some rationale to these kind of postings.
Sorry, but no external situation or circumstance justifies killing. Not even talking religion here, just ethics/morality. This only points back to the alienation garbage argument.
Depression can be treated with compassion and the right drugs until you get on top. Slow and steady. IT is a tradgey no less for our talk.
Unless its the mass killing of bankers getting big time bonuses after raping the taxpayers of their hard earned cash.
i forwarded the above post to an investigative unit of the FBI - they are focused on death threats against financial services employees. If they choose to, they will easily locate you. Death threats are a felony. good luck...
as you sit in your mom's basement fantasizing about informing on people and having them hauled off to the gas chamber, they'd do even better to look for a future Sodini in you. If they choose to, they will easily locate you. good luck...
On top of the existence of everything described by the author at my workplace, our office was recently defaced with gang graffitti. Add "looking over my shoulder while in the parking lot" to the list of things that suck right now.
Seriously.... If he had never gotten laid he shoulda just hired a hooker... at that point it's really not abuse, it's goddamn community service.
http://www.shootermovie.com/ + GS = liquidation of "assets"
What was the point of this guy killing the women? 20,000 guys did this before him and, 20,000 guys will do it after him. Does his diary reflect why he did not go shoot men? He is not a victim of the downturn in the economy. He used the economy as a justification to kill women. Just as he accused his employer of using the economy to fire people and reorganize the business.
I am not sure why Lira provided the post. It seems more like he was using the event as a reason to bash mainstream media. As though he was making an entry into his own diary.
this is one of the stupidest things ive ever seen. ok, he wasn't sick, he was just the victim of the shitty economy and the layoff forced him to go on a murder spree
td this article sucks and lessens whatever legit points you actually do have
TD: This is Off Topic, but have you considered whether the discontinuation of 30 year bond was a key part in what drove us into this mortgage mess?
Guy takes baseball bat to inferior Chinese goods while spewing hate filled rage at societal inequity = absolutely gifted hilarity, effective social commentary.
Guy takes gun to fitness center and kills innocent people while spewing hate filled rage at societal disfunction = worst expression of the human condition, unworthy of reinterpretation.
Um... yeah. Right on both counts. I hope that was your point. Given the level of sarcasm around here, I sometimes can't tell.
Not trying to be sarcastic at all. If you're going to use violence to make your point, the ONLY way I will give you my attention is if you do it in a way that doesn't hurt any one, any thing, or doesn't destroy property that you don't own.
If you can pull that off, and have something interesting to say, then I'll listen and enjoy it!
The difference is in the way how two types handle their supressed anger.
The first type is healthier in some way, because he releases his anger long before this makes him crazy. He may look crazy, but not that he is really dangerous.
Second type smiles to everyone, sits in cubicle for years, feeds his deamons inside himself, doesn't use any professional assistance, then something happens, which triggers an explosion. That type being hardly predictable is really dangerous, because people around hardly recognize that he has any problems whatsoever.
Reporting a killer and reporting it as unemployment news?
C'mon, akin to CNBC!
Correlation does not imply causation.
He lost his job, therefore he must kill?
What a joke.
He didn't lose his job, he actually survived two cycles of downsizing and got a raise. Now, that's a joke.
I think the point is that the economic conditions can push borderline types over the edge, and that shouldn't be a huge leap of faith from a logic standpoint. Good post.
No, No, No, its akin to hyper reactonary reporting ZH now equalling the depths of CNBC.
Sounds like a point in favor of a strong social safety net and stronger gun control laws.
Wait now, Let us not point our plagerizing nail chewed finger at TD. ZH's success is based on TD not censoring opinions. Lira had the right to post here as any of us do. ZH has an obligation to make that post.
If Lira can't post here, none of us can.
We as commentators can post as commentators. We cannot post as GUEST POSTS - they are chosen by ZH, and that post was WRONG, on every scale.
I retract my position as uninformed. Thanks for the clarification
Have you attempted to guest post on ZH? How are you aware of what posts we allow or do not allow, or our process in general. Maybe if you actually tried submitting something instead of blindly presenting what you believe to be a fact, you would be surprised.
Simply, a post of this kind is not needed here. YOU chose it as a guest post, and it was akin to CNBC, FOX, Kneale and their like, a post that highlighted one event to drive YOUR viewpoint!
Are you trying to tell me that you do not have editorial control over guest posts? Then why did you attribiute your title?: On The Sodini Diaries, And The Anxiety Of The Employed
I was going to call you out as a big whiny douche, but I thought I'd be constructive instead...
Why not post something in the forums, then we can all read it. Hell, we could even vote on it! If it doesn't get posted to ZH as a guest post... Why then, you can post it to your OWN blog and put a link here! Viva el libertad del hablador!
First of all, it has been puzzling me about the English - Douche: I mean what the hell? In French it means shower and I have read what the English means - a vaginal shower, perhaps you need one?
As for ZH, of course I respect, I wouldn't be reading, I wouldn't be commenting if I did not respect - HFT, Flash, HatOff!
The format in his chosen style is blogger. As such, people comment, some of them in your opinion are 'whiny'. In my opinion they all add to a democratic, opinion led, discussion.
Almost all these comments seem to be missing the point....was the guy disturbed yes...did his fear of unemployment add to his distress...according to his diary...yes...might this happen with other people given the current economic environment....you decide.
Highlighting any 'sociologically, disturbed indidual' incident on a usually finance driven blog, is wrong, especially when the incidence is indivual - not mass socio-poltical-financial.
It reeks of Fox, NBC, Kneale - highlighting one event to drive a viewpoint!
May I recommend you consider adding a "block poster" feature that allows visitors to your blog to block posters based on their IP address (since you permit anonymous posts). Some folks insist on posting the same point of view over and over and over. On other blogs I just skip posts by members whose opinions I do not value, however, again, since you allow anonymous posts...
Almost all these comments seem to be missing the point....was the guy disturbed yes...did his fear of unemployment add to his distress...according to his diary...yes...might this type of event happen with other people given the current economic environment....you decide...my answer...more than likely.
Crappy piece of empty rhetoric, better suited for TMZ.
Tyler, by presenting an opinion you implicitly believe it is has merit (and is not merely an alternative view).
Lifelong downward spiral:
Childhood with no good male role models breeds no confidence in himself.
No confidence in himself flashes warning signals to potential mates.
Negative feedback loop ensues.
Most people can pull themselves out of this via self reflection & doing the work. This guy didn't.
controlling mother who didn't love and nurture.
lifelong yearning for this relationship but not able to attain.
...otherwise he would have hired a hooker.
sounds like a trader.
I beg to differ. "We", you and I did not create this society. Let's be very clear on this. Those in an Oligarchy have not only created this society throughout the Third-World but now here in the US. Read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine. It makes very clear that "we" did not create the disaster we have today.
Not sure about this case - but there is no doubt that gainful employment is VERY important to a person's (especially a male) sense of worth.
So it goes to follow that people who already have a low self-image, and who harbor anger at real or perceived societal injustices, will be MUCH worse off if they lose their jobs. And for the lonely, job loss also severs what may be their only meaningful contact with other people.
Something to think about every time the market "cheers" more job losses.
Like so many ZH readers.
Sodini was obviously a very sick and deranged individual. Period. In a perverse and twisted way, the author is somehow trying to place responsibility on others, be it his job, the very basis of our system of commerce around the world or the MSM.
The author posits that having a good paying job, $250K in the bank and being middle age is a basic flaw in the “current scene of American Life”. You must be kidding. Life is what you make it. It is not an American life, or a Chinese life, or a Wall Street Banker life or a life as an office worker – it is life. Troubles always follow when you can’t separate what you do in life from life itself.
Thnak you - some sense.
In this new undramatic slow-bleed phase the internalized shame will fester as our broke and laid-off flotsam try to reconcile meritocratic fairy tales with their class and status freefall. Bet we have our first homegrown suicide bomber this year.
This has nothing to do with society at large.
Workplace shooters, family annihilators, school shooters -- all have in common: Anger, paranoia, "negative attributional bias" (assuming the worst even in neutral situations, like if someone has a blank expression, assuming they are angry and they hate you);low frustrational tolerance, a total lack of ability to have introspection, and "externalizing" behavior, or always blaming someone else. Combine with a sense of extreme entitlement -- that they've not only been done wrong, but that they've been treated unjustly by being denied something that's their birth right -- and there you go.
It's brain wiring, a white matter disconnect, organic brain tissue. No counseling or meds will help, unless they're extreme sedatives to make the person not quite so energetic.
The biggest thing is anosognosia, a total denial that anything is at all wrong. Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) to this day denies any kind of mental illness.
How come no one knew earlier? Who knows.Seems to get worse with age.
White guys seem to get by the longest, probably because everyone gives them a pass at being weird.
you're definitely earning your grade in psychobabble 101
Disparage if you want.
If more people learned about this then maybe there would be fewer Virginia Techs, LA Fitnesses, the guy who shot up his ex wife's family on X-mas in LA, Buffalo shooter, and the list is too long to name.
Perhaps a larger point to consider---and what better time to discuss it than during a slowdown when we have a chance to assess our priorities---is what we do as a country that creates the environment where events like this have become so common.
Everyone who thinks about it might have an opinion, but parallel to this is the undeniable fact that the overwhelming majority of these types of events occur in the United States. Yes, Germany has had one or two, as has the UK, and a tiny country like Finland has had many, but the US has the majority far in excess of its size relative to the world as a whole.
Maybe we do not riot over perceived slights about 1500 year old religious differences like folks do in the world of Shi'a vs. Sunni, and do not engage in violent strikes---all participants adorned in headbands---against not enough garlic in the kimchi in the office canteen as they do in South Korea, but Americans slaughter perfect strangers at a pace that dwarfs anywhere else in the world.
Going Postal is more our National Pastime than baseball. Why? Some might say easy access to guns. Some might say too much junk food (remember the Twinkie Defense?) or too many prescribed pharmaceuticals. Some might say it is the alienation caused by Madison Ave's successful push to have us believe everyone except YOU spends his weekends drinking beer with beautiful people, or that life's only goal should be to accumulate the latest and hippest of every material toy or device. Take your pick. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.
The FACT remains: random slaughter is what we do. Random slaughter is in far too many cases in the US a time bomb waiting to go off. It might take a job layoff to detonate it. It might take a a lover's jilt. There's a lot of triggers. They are far too many time bombs.
Most of you reading this website are American. Why is this violent and senseless behavior so much a part of our culture? When did it start? What started it? We're not the poorest, we're not the most sex starved. We're not the ones with the fewest options in life. We don't face the struggles for survival so common in at least a third of the modern world.
We DO think that most problems are best solved through some kind of confrontation, usually violent. We ARE the fastest to resort to ad hominem attacks against any "idiot, moron, parasite, loser, clueless POS, fuckhead, digital dickweed, etc." who in any way shape or form has an opinion one iota different from our own.
Anybody know why? What have we made of ourselves? Is this what the American Dream means, that it must exist amongst so many American Nightmares?
The answer is not easy to find. We will not look, because we are so inured to this sort of thing that it will be merely a bad memory by the weekend, or until the next American goes Postal. We also do not want to admit that there is something wrong with us that the rest of the world does not share (similar to how the abundance of morbidly obese Americans is always a "glandular ptoblem" and not simply lack of personal discipline and responsibility).
So it will happen again. And again. And again.
Baseball, Apple Pie, and Going Postal.
I still, today believe in the human spirit. Even if the Great Depression happened again, I believe with friends, family, loved ones and people that we didn't even know (or gave a shit about before) would still pull together and make things work.
I believe the article is an isolated event, there may be more isolated events in the future, but we as individuals will bond if the worse comes to the worst.
In many ways recessions should come to fruition, they shouldn't be bailed out, or surpressed for a hope that we can have the 'good' times again. They should be allowed to instill, so that rights from wrongs can be learnt.
There was no fight club to go to and vent, so he went to the health center...
I just read this guy's diaries, and it is obvious that he was just a nut who hated women. His work life was one of the few good things - recent promotion, good salary, lots of vacation time, etc. So I don't think employment or the economy factors into this AT ALL.
That's not to say that unemployment couldn't be the thing that pushes another wacko over the edge.
you make someone feel like a rat in a cage with no way of changing the politically correct system, everyday another 8 hour shift doing meaningless work, wasting time surfing the internet in a jail of an office, steal their retirement, repeat the same thing for the next twenty years, no blow jobs for the past twenty years and you wonder why he went ballistic?
They used to call it "going postal".
Interestingly, once the first 'postal' incident was publicized, postal on postal killings went ballistic. Yes, I did that on purpose.
I think this guy is off the mark. The murderer was anxious about his job on the day he wrote that entry but subsequently was given a raise and that would portend some security in the job area.
The words "The future holds nothing for me. Twenty five years of nothing fun. I never even spent one weekend with a girl in my life, even at my own place. Also unlikely to find another similar job. I guess then is when I take care of things. I don't have kids, close friends or anything. Just me here. If you have nothing, you have nothing to lose."
Other than the mention of the job which would now seem more secure, those feelings are the driving force. This guy was less worried about his job than others may be. Obviously, the job was not the trigger event and I guess we don't know what that event ended up being.
Yes, people are anxious about their jobs and people have killed themselves and some have killed their families as well as themselves but in this instance he may have felt like he was unloved and unlovable as proven to him by his perceived circumstances.
Unfortunately, being a man, he externalized his feelings of rejection and killed innocent people. In a way he killed his desire. A real tragedy for all.
Thank you TD for choosing this guest! I do not know if you TD could guess in advance what comments it would produce, but skimming through the comments have given me an insight into the American soul that is quite frightening.
There is a lot of exciting research going on among anthropologists about the "normal" behaviour of homo sapiens. Some research indicates that the "natural state" is very close to one out of five men being killed in violence. For those who think that incidents like this one is about "freaks" or "disturbed people", I will recomend to read an article in the latest issue of The American Interest, http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=621 on "War and Human Nature". We abstain from killing each other when we benefit from the peace and order.
If your looking for 'normal'. Its not here!
First, the guy said he never spent a weekend (two days) with a woman, not that he never had a one night stand.
As far as business, they have been screwing employees for the last decade. They have no loyalty to the idea of what is good for this country, every business is now a self styled international organization. What is good for business is no long what is good for America.
They have gotten too haughty, it is time to bring them back to reality.
This is the first miss on a post, but you are still batting high 900's.
The problem with this story is he didn't even lose his job, he received a raise and liked his new boss, and he didn't lash out at his co-workers or employer (the source of his supposed frustration if he felt he was wronged and for this post to have any merit).
It is a stretch of logic or correlation to say his stressful job caused "X". Everyone with a job has stress, some have more stress than others, and I understand people vent and cope in different ways . If we entertain every story like this, we will decend into a cesspool.
He clearly is just another psycho that wanted attention, by reading that I gave him too much attention - probably on some medication that helped him go psycho. I don't disagree with the conclusion that there may be more shootings in the future as a result of the economic situation and desperation, but this story fails on linking the two.
I don't buy it. At all.
I read his diary. He was a complete misogynist who had been planning to kill women at his gym for nearly a year.
He did have anxieties about being laid off, but he also had 250K in savings. He wasn't going to be starving in the streets. In my opinion, his anxiety with regard to being let go had more to do with not wanting to have to network and do interviews or tell people he was unemployed because of his anti-social, narcissistic nature.
It's possible that this anxiety gave him the final push, but he makes it clear in his diary that this was something he was going to do eventually, regardless of his circumstance. He also said that even getting laid would only cause him to temporarily delay his plans.
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