Depressed man smoking a cigarette.

Recently, there was a guy that went on a rampage killing girls at UCSB because they reject him (and men because he was jealous of them). Why? He was a virgin and without friends. He felt lonely, rejected, sad, confused, angry, resentful, and like a victim. To handle it, he developed a righteousness and superiority complex, and his ego and narcissistic tendencies arose as a coping mechanism to rationalize his worth – since nobody else valued him.

He meticulously thought of ways to seek his revenge and show these students his worth and wrath through killing them; to be judge and executioner for their crimes against him (and humanity, due to a sense of grandiosity). Perhaps then, for a moment, the roles would be reversed, and they would know what it felt like to be on the other end. Then the brief moment would pass, and he would finish them – doing humanity a favor by removing these cruel people from the world.

Sounds pretty sick, right? How do I know exactly what was going through his head?

Because that guy was me.

10 years ago I was in high school and was in the exact same position. The rejection, loneliness, bitterness, anger, and confusion tore my soul apart. I begged to some benevolent power to never deal with the legions of kids who despised me (for some mysterious reason) – ever again. My mind flooded with images of going into school and beating up, killing, or torturing all the kids who bullied and teased me. To have a moment – however brief – where I reclaimed my power and gave them a taste of their own medicine. I was longing to be free of the pain, hate, teasing, and torment from the daily ritual of school.

I prayed for the day that either these kids – or myself – would die. Suicide was most definitely an option.

Fortunately, I was too scared of the consequences to do either. I was too much of a wussy to do anything, really.

But the truth was, this isn’t what I really wanted – this isn’t what this guy at UCSB (or any other school) wanted either. What he, I – and ironically his victims wanted – was to be accepted. To just be liked for who we were. To feel loved, appreciated, connected, and safe.

The root cause has nothing to do with a lack of gun control, mental disorders, pickup artists, or drugs – it has to do with a lack of love. A lack of self love, a lack of empathy, a lack of compassion. Both from and too the victims, shooter, and all of us. I can promise you that only love could have  – and will ever – solve this.

There are now people who are angry, hateful, and looking to blame someone for this tragedy. And righteously so. But anytime you point the finger, you’ve got three pointing right back at you, every time.

The problem is, that’s the EXACT SAME THING that the shooter did. Wanting to kill or hate on the shooter is perpetuating the exact same cycle of fear and hate that caused the massacre in the first place! Hate can’t solve the problem it began, only love can.

I know this is true, for I have healed myself of hate and fear. I was a nerd, a loner, had no friends, lack many social skills, and would have probably been medicated as well if we could have afforded it. But I made a choice; a choice to figure it out and get better. I’ve spent the last eight years of my life healing, learning, and learning to love and forgive myself and others.

Guess what? It worked.

Nobody, not even my family, would think that I was once in similar perspective as a psychopathic killer.

The deep truth is that I didn’t really want my classmates to die or to shoot them up – I simply wanted them to love me. I wanted all my sadness and anger and resentment to dissolve into peace – a peace that, at the time, I could only see through a lens of hate down a path of revenge. But then what? What happens after that? It would have only been less love and acceptance, thus continuing the original cycle and attracting even more rejection and hate into my life (and the world)… just like what happened here.

This is not the path. Love, empathy, forgiveness, and compassion is.

I am saddened that this happened. Saddened that this person wasn’t accepted. That he didn’t love himself. That he couldn’t forgive, ask for help, and become a better person. That his hate and fear consumed him; devouring the bait of a warped, monstrous ego. I’m saddened that his peers couldn’t see him with love and acceptance either. That they too became victims and met death. That a lack of love and understanding has caused hundreds of more friends and family members to suffer. I am saddened.

I am grateful that this was not me. That my life didn’t continue down this dark and hateful path. That I transformed my life and did whatever I took to find love in myself again. That I could forgive and move on – nay, actually embrace my experiences as a gift and be thankful to my bullies for what I learnt. That I can share my journey to bring hope to others and empower them with tools, wisdom, and inspiration. That I have a real chance to prevent horrible things like this from happening. I am grateful.

I am hopeful that we can reach out to offer and ask for help. That the world can use events like these to see more and more through the lens of love and empathy so that these cycles can stop. That more and more of us serve the world with our gifts and bring light to places that need it the most. There’s a time and place for justice, but release that burden from your shoulders – it’s not yours, nor was it his. I am hopeful.

Please think twice when you gossip or bully. Please think twice when you hate yourself or others, even if you think it’s warranted. And never think twice about showing love, compassion, or forgiveness.



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