As initial news coverage of Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter emerged, a portrait of his brother in disbelief was broadcast. The brother said he could not foresee his brother doing such a thing. My immediate thought was, “Either the two brothers were estranged or the brother interviewed was clueless or in denial.” Recently, news revealed that the brother had a record in child pornography.
Abusers just don’t surface out of thin air. They are a product of their environment. We all are a product of our environment. That is not a stereotype. It is fact! According to renowned psychiatrist, Alice Miller, children who were abused later become abusers to self and others (Hart & Caven,, 2013).
Alice Miller’s study was sparked by the need to understand what creates a Hitler. Her findings show that Hitler’s father had a quick temper and demanded compliance. She explained that Hitler’s father viciously abused him and his mother emotionally abandoned him. Hitler learned to accept his daily beatings and numbed himself to the pain. In addition to learning to be obedient, Hitler also learned to be cruel.
Truly, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Poisonous trees produce poisonous fruit. Let’s start with today’s fruit, get their trees involved and create a foundational root to a new culture of non-bullying.