School Closings and Violent Youth: A Potential Link

BY PAUL ELIAS ALEXANDER  MAY 25, 2022

Our greatest fears have now seemed to materialize. The school closures, social dislocation, the two years of isolation, the lockdown psychosis, plus dehumanizing masking and the resulting anxiety, depression, and despair, may have unleashed and may have enhanced depraved and murderous behavior. 

Two major incidents have been in the news but the trend is larger. The FBI reports that deaths from active shooter incidents have soared. In 2021, the number of deaths reported as a result of active shootings (103 total) was a 171% increase from 2020. The relationship to lockdown policies should be apparent to any objective observer. 

Socially malevolent behavior is potentially driven by the severing of the social contract, socialization, social bonds, and support normally operational in a functional society. The lockdowns and school closures shatter a sense of the future, of belonging, of ‘mattering,’ a sense of loss and hope and dreams of tomorrow that then can drive depravity and wickedness. 

With pliable minds in young people, these prolonged restrictive policies facilitated tragic pathologies. 

Consider the 18-year-old kid who shot up an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 young children, a teacher, and his own grandmother. Information is emerging by the hour, and we are still waiting on the motivations, but we already know the core problem: the gunman, filled with rage and hate, had been locked out of his school for a long period, denied essential social contact, support, and interaction that might otherwise have checked evil impulses. 

With an open school and maskless students, with normal school days and no forced isolation, the teachers and administrators would have had a better chance at flagging him. In the midst of all the chaos and confusion, most people in his community came to believe that he had simply dropped out. The human being (potentially with or without already evil impulses) had become a monster who then revealed himself with massive carnage. 

Similarly, a few weeks ago, a deranged 18-year old entered a TOPS grocery in Buffalo, New York and shot a reported 14 and killed 10 people. He was white and they, the dead, were black, though there are reports that two or three of those shot who survived (thus far), were white. He shot principally people based on their racial-ethnic makeup, being black. Raw, vicious hate. 

Jeffrey Tucker of Brownstone Institute has perhaps done the most justice to these senseless acts and helped focus us onto a key implication of the failed COVID lockdowns. Tucker’s article focuses on the ravaging societal implications and how much the social isolation of the pandemic’s response can take a prior healthy mind and poison and destroy it, as it seemingly did with the Buffalo shooter, driving depths of racist depravity. A primitive, racist depravity that emerged after a sense of loss, social isolation, diminished and weakened hopes and dreams in the future, and the shattering of all that was normal and stable in a person’s life. 

Before slaughtering people, the killer wrote: 

“Before I begin I will say that I was not born racist nor grew up to be racist. I simply became racist after I learned the truth. I started browsing 4chan in May 2020 after extreme boredom, remember this was during the outbreak of covid…. I never even saw this information until I found these sites, since mostly I would get my news from the front page of Reddit. I didn’t care at the time, but as I learned more and more I realized how serious the situation was. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore, I told myself that eventually I was going to kill myself to escape this fate. My race was doomed and there was nothing I could do about it.”

Tucker says that the Buffalo shooter conjured up a sense of belongingness via an “imagined artificial solidarity” with others of his clan with whom he had little if any contact; it was all in his deranged head.

Think of those who brought about these inhumane lockdown conditions. The laptop class operates so far removed from the consequences of their actions and disconnected from experiencing the ill effects of lockdowns directly, that they were willing to dispense with sacred rights and liberties of others. In so doing, they decimated societal rules, norms, moral codes, and social mores that took us several hundred years to fashion as part of good societies. 

In addition, facial masks may have had a role in the actions of the depraved killers in both Buffalo and Uvalde. The constant mask wearing while in public may have broken the mind and severed the human connection, ending the silent but necessary communication that takes place between human beings.

So very much communication, emotion, care, tenderness, and non-verbal cues can be seen in each other’s faces. Unable to interact with others and unable to see faces when one does, we necessarily blunt compassion, connection, and empathy. It is entirely possible that young people were placed into sheer terror and loss as their entire social existence and connectedness were thereby shredded. 

We now must mourn and grieve these tragedies and for the lost souls and their families. It is pain that defies any human discourse and it is now that we must turn to our gods and to each other for understanding, support, solace, and healing. It is our faiths and our communities that will get us through these senseless acts. 

Is this Buffalo teen shooter and the Texas teen shooter the last such shooters? I fear not, as we may have damaged the minds of many people irreparably. There are grave consequences due to lockdowns and school closures, not only from a weakened immune system and the vast economic damage, but also due to the wrecked psyches of many young people. 

Had the governments, policy makers, and covid Task Force officials heeded the early warnings on the disastrous lockdown and school closures, we may have been able to circumvent such tragedies. It is imperative now that we have urgent discussions that are broadened and include experts who bring alternative viewpoints to the table.

We may have opened Pandora’s box with these crushing school closures, forced masking, and lockdowns. The ramifications are beginning to emerge. Lockdown policies have damaged society, structurally and psychologically, and for a very long time to come. It might take the rest of the 21st century or longer for society to recover from the devastation of lockdown policies.

Author

  • Paul Elias AlexanderDr. Paul Alexander is an epidemiologist focusing on clinical epidemiology, evidence-based medicine, and research methodology. He has a master’s in epidemiology from University of Toronto, and a master’s degree from Oxford University. He earned his PhD from McMaster’s Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact. He has some background training in Bioterrorism/Biowarfare from John’s Hopkins, Baltimore, Maryland. Paul is a former WHO Consultant and Senior Advisor to US Department of HHS in 2020 for the COVID-19 response.