A homeschooled mass murderer

When someone goes into a housing development and starts randomly shooting people, my first thought isn’t “Must be because he was homeschooled.”

Johann Nel is a nineteen year old white male who walked into the Skierlik community in South Africa, killing four, including a ten year old and a two month old, and injuring several others.  He should find out his fate today (Friday).  The prosecution is saying the crime was racially motivated.

Nel had never been in a position to be exposed to other cultures, Kobus Truter [the clinical psychologist in the case] testified.

One of the reasons was because his parents, Hennie and Corrie Nel, had taken him out of mainstream school in order to home-school him.

“The idea of a rainbow nation did not exist there (in the Nels’ home) or in Swartruggens,” Truter said.  He is a sick boy (Couldn’t agree with the headline more!)

But then later we learn, from the same psychologist, it could have been anyone.  Basically, Nel was looking to randomly murder people.  Not that he wasn’t racist.  Shouting,

“Come out, you bloody kaffirs. I want to kill you today, you black bastards.”  Fear of swart gevaar drove Nel

While shooting randomly at all the people running and screaming will probably make sure any accusations that the crime was racially motivated stick, even if you were alternately contemplating stopping at an intersection or a nearby caravan park mostly populated by whites in order to go on your killing spree.

I don’t know that I agree with the prosecution’s claim that:

What makes it worse is that they were people of colour.

But clearly the guy is a little unhinged.  And his assertion that “others” are responsible for his behavior and that he shouldn’t have any consequences because he just wasn’t quite himself that day is a little unnerving.  But viewing their murders this way seems to be rather typical of mass murderers.  I wouldn’t doubt that there were some seriously disturbing things going on in that home, but who knows. Clearly, he was a very “sick boy.”

I must mention that I am very thankful that after he fired off his 125 rounds, local farmers refused to replenish his ammunition.

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It sounds as if there were some sort of mental illness involved, which would make it moot where or how he was schooled.


In all the criminal psychology texts and case studies that I have read, there has never been a mention of an educational method having anything to do with criminal acts. The most significant factor has been a dysfunctional home or abuse by a caregiver/authority figure.

Is it worthy to note that Ted Bundy did very well in high school and in college? Can we derive from that that schools create serial killers? But the public is being led to believe that this twisted logic should be applied to home education.


I agree completely. Dysfunctional family, narcissism, mental illness…they all kind of work together. And in younger murderers (this guy was only 19, bullying seems to come into play. And really, who is to say that the racial thing (which is obvious) wasn’t a symptom of serious problems rather than the direct cause of the murder? Blaming some target group for one’s problems and seeing the murders as something they brought on themselves is part of the profile of a mass murderer. Look at Cho with his “you gave me no choice.” If his family was abusing him, it is at… Read more »

I don’t know why, but something about firing off 125 rounds and expecting local farmers to replenish your ammunition really seems to indicate that this young man was not in touch with reality.

T F Stern

“the guy is a little unhinged”

No, really?

Scott, A Dad First
And yet, because he *was* homeschooled, the media and public at large will ignore all the OTHER people who have committed heinous crimes and were not homeschooled, and will instead focus on this one caveat… But this comment…: And his assertion that “others” are responsible for his behavior and that he shouldn’t have any consequences because he just wasn’t quite himself that day is a little unnerving. But viewing their murders this way seems to be rather typical of mass murderers. This comment almost struck me as funny. Not in a good way. This is the trend of society in… Read more »

I know it is shocking, T.F. Stern, but I do think that people who murder are “unhinged.”

And you are right, Scott. I do think this is on a totally different level, and that it takes more than teaching people that we are a product of our environment to make a murderer, but it is a disturbing trend nonetheless.