Women's Issues

Stop Excusing The Actions Of A Murderer By Calling Him ‘Heartbroken’

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Four days ago, 14-year-old Jaylen Fryberg walked into his high school cafeteria and shot three girls and two boys before turning the gun on himself. Both of the boys were his cousins. Fryberg and 14-year-old Zoe Galasso died at the scene. 14-year-old Gia Soriano died from her injuries on Sunday. His three other victims remain in critical condition.

Fryberg walked into a school armed and ready to kill several of his peers and his own family members. Today it came to light that he texted all of his friends to invite them to lunch before he made his way to the cafeteria and shot them all. But he was attractive. And popular. And there was a girl involved. It’s amazing how much we are willing to forgive – and the narrative that will unfold—when the shooter doesn’t fit everyone’s idea of what a “killer” is – and when his intended target includes a girl who broke his heart.

Fryberg allegedly became heartbroken when a girl didn’t return his affections and started dating his cousin, Andrew Fryberg, instead. 15-year-old Andrew remains in critical condition after a gunshot wound to the head.

(Related: Parents Can’t Afford To Ignore Their Kids’ Social Media)

We could very well be calling Fryberg a depressed sociopath with a bloodlust for a girl he felt an unnatural ownership over. Instead, we’re calling him the heartbroken Homecoming Prince. There is a lesson here for parents of girls and boys alike; this is what happens when you neglect to teach boys that the object of their affection isn’t their property. And the way that we are speaking about this murderous rampage is sending a message to young girls everywhere,

Don’t be the girl who drives the boy crazy – you may wind up dead. And no one will speak of you or your right to rebut his advances or choose whom you want to give your 14-year-old heart to. You’ll be a distant memory to most – but your killer’s name will live on as everyone grapples to figure out how he could possibly have done it? When in fact, it’s the most obvious motive in the world. Women die at the hands of ‘jilted’ men at an alarming rate in this country. Ignoring the lesson parents should be learning here – to teach their children that people they like are not objects to be won or owned – is a grave mistake and makes the loss of these lives even more senseless.

(Related: The Worst School Shooting Since Sandy Hook Happened, And No One’s Looking For An Explanation)

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