The griefers say, basically, that they do it just for laughs.
In some ways they are similar to many in Second Life. Both of us are here because our own, real lives are unsatisfactory in some way. We are both here, in Second Life, because we are trying to have a little fun. The main difference is what they consider “fun” is causing distress and pain in others.
They don’t really see it that way, of course. Many griefers simply dehumanize their victims, for whatever reason. Perhaps they feel a sense of superiority because they know the dangers and exploits out there while others are too “stupid” to know about them. This mentality is similar to those who plant viruses on the internet. And anyone too stupid to know what “physhing” is deserves what ever they get. It doesn’t occur to them most people aren’t as computer obsessed as they are, and just want to go online to have a little fun or to learn things. There are people who, horror of horrors, couldn’t care less about computers.
Some do it as a kind of power trip. I can picture a bunch of 14 year-olds (or adults whose emotional maturity has not grown beyond 14) laughing their asses off because they strap on some kind of giant penis, walk into a sim, and watch everyone scurry around like ants. Again, they dehumanize. The feelings and emotions they provoke in others are not valid to them, because THEY think its funny, and therefore EVERYONE should think its funny, and if they don’t, well, they don’t count anyway. And, of course, they expect to be banned, and sometimes removed from the game. That’s hilarious to them, as well. “Ha ha ha,” they laugh, “those stupid turd-heads. I’ll just make another alt and do the same thing. In fact, I’m so smart I write software that turns out alts for me by the hundreds, and I can use them whenever I need them! LOL!”
And then there are those who make destructive objects…sim crashing, SL crashing objects. The same mentality as those who make viruses, and exploit whatever imperfections they find in the system. A false sense of power. “Look at how smart I am!” The more damage they cause, the more powerful they feel. Again, they dehumanize. They couldn’t care less about the consequences of their actions…lost money, broken-up education sessions, friends unable to join, meetings unable to meet, business unable to get done. They don’t do any of these things, so what do they care about the people who do. Dorks! LOL.
And then there are the griefers who spoiled the ending of the Harry Potter books. “Ha ha ha! I think this is a stupid book. You must be stupid for reading it. Stupid people don’t deserve to enjoy themselves. The feelings of Stupid people don’t count…only my opinions count. So who cares if I spoil their fun…their feelings aren’t valid to me, anyway. LOL!”
The reason that such behavior is called juvenile is that the ability to truly empathize and understand that people other than themselves have feelings begins to occur in early childhood and is supposed to develop and refine itself until they become adults. Progress in empathic development often becomes negative during the teenage years, where the child's own emotional changes overwhelm them and they withdraw from empathic feelings in an attempt to cope with their own. This, generally, cures itself with maturity. For many, however, the level of maturity required to re-attain empathy never emerges. Just as teenagers consider themselves fully mature and all grown up from the ages of fourteen to eighteen, there is no telling these emotionally immature grown-ups that they still have some growing up to do.
- “The niggers aren’t human. They’re stupid. Let’s burn crosses on their porches, terrorize them, and go back to the clan and have a laugh about it afterwards. Ha ha ha.”
- “The kikes are subhuman. They are greedy and exploit people. Let’s torture a few, send them off to the gas chambers. Power. Grin of satisfaction. I am smarter and more powerful than they are. They are not worthy. Who cares if they die or not?”
- “I’m smarter and stronger than all women. I have needs. Who cares if they scream and cry as I rape them. Isn’t it funny watching the terror in their eyes as I put a knife to their throat. They’re feelings don’t matter. I am powerful. They were so stupid as to let me capture them. They deserve what they can get.”
- “The Americans aren’t human, because they are not Muslim. They have tried to impose their evil ways on our people. They deserve the worst we can do to them. Let us blow them up in cars, fly airplanes into their buildings and kill them by the thousands. Let us exterminate them. They are not worthy in the eyes of Allah, as taught to me by my human teachers. Let us destroy the animals, and smile and chant happily in the street when we do it. For their feelings and lives do not count. Again, they are not human, so my God will reward me for doing this.”
I’d give more examples, but writing this stuff has put such a repugnant vile taste in my mouth that I can no longer bring myself to type the words.
Am I comparing the actions of griefers to murders, racists, and rapists? Of course not. I would think it extremely likely that the typical griefer would find the above acts as repugnant as I do. Most are educated, and they would often consider themselves to have a strong sense of social conscience, albeit perhaps distorted.
Nevertheless, the mentality that allows the griefer to do what he does is the same basic mentality that has caused the worst atrocities the world has ever known. Dehumanization. Invalidation of others. Feelings of, “they deserve whatever they get.” The moment we invalidate the feelings of another human being and consider those feelings to be less valid than our own, we create the environment where such atrocities are possible. For although almost no griefer would ever expand their actions to anywhere near the extreme of the above examples, then environment of invalidation perpetuates itself through the acts of invalidation.
And "telling" them this accomplishes nothing, 'cause they are after all, smarter than we are.