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The mind of the mass killer

Take someone who is mentally ill/unhinged, add rage, and paranoia, then weaponize this individual, and you’ve got a murderer/mass murderer on your hands.

The “rage + paranoia” is a highly incendiary combination. In these mass murders it strikes me that “paranoia” is almost surely present and necessary—the murderous individual believes that it’s “him against a world” that has “screwed him over,” the world (and everyone in it) becoming a global, generalized “object” and “target” of his violent contempt and rage.

His is a worldview in which he is the “outsider” and everyone else is “on the inside;” in his paranoia, immaturity and narcissism, he has divided the world into these rigid categories—himself on the “outside,” and everyone else “on the inside” (literally and figuratively “on the inside”); the latter become “fair game” for the vengeance he has accumulated and the plans he incubates to ventilate it.

This is how innocent people, and small children, seemingly inexplicably get lopped into the vortex of his rage: as members of the “inside,” everyone in his warped mind becomes a “target”–a generalized, deserving target of his hatred (again, by virtue of merely being “on the inside,” where he, alone, is not.)

I worked for two years, weekly, with a client who, two years after I last saw him at the community mental health center where I worked, gunned down seven children at a hotel swimming pool. He had been full of rage, paranoia and was mentally unhinged. He found himself some weapons, big surprise, with perverse ease. Having weaponized himself, he went to town and shattered the lives of these innocent kids and their families.

He was on the “outside,” perceiving himself to be alone there; where the world, and everyone in it, had it easy, he perceived himself as a “victim,” as an “outsider,” as not belonging, as ignored and persecuted; blatant paranoia and delusions warped his thinking terribly; his rage was chronic and rose as implacably as flood-waters, becoming uncontainable.

Finally, easy access to weapons was the final stage of what, in retrospect, seemed an almost inevitable outcome.

(This article is copyrighted (c) 2012 by Steve Becker, LCSW.) 

 

 

 


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Babs,
as much as I can relate to your thought process about profiling, the traits you mentioned could very easily apply to the victims of spaths. There is good reason for this, it is the intent of spaths to make us feel the way they do.

The difference between us and them, is that they wear the mask of sanity. They can hide their pathology when it suits them. If you haven’t read “The Mask of Sanity” by Hervey Cleckley, you might want to. It’s a free download online.

In this book, Cleckley describes about 16 different patients who fooled him repeatedly. They seemed like they understood what they had done wrong and how to fix it. He would release them, and almost immediately they would be back to breaking the law, hurting people and generally causing mayhem. They would quickly end up back in his hospital.

So he wrote “The Mask of Sanity” to describe people who can fool even an expert like him.

The experts are not the ones who will be able to profile the spath, it will only be the victim who can do this. When he is preying on us, he drops his mask and reveals the red flags. At this point there isn’t much we can do except to run away. The spath has already slandered us and made us look crazy to all the community. They prepare before they ever attack the unsuspecting prey, so that nobody believes us.

There is no easy answer, we just have to be vigilant, know and recognize the red flags. AND determine to NOT participate in their evil. Whenever we have the chance we must unmask them, shun them and refuse to play their games.

Skylar, 100% spot-on! The first several months out of the spath marriage, I could easily have fit Babs’ profile!

IMHO, it’s not a matter of profiling which is an attempt to predict a certain individual as being a certain type based upon collected data. It’s more a matter of altering HIPPA laws and the mental health professions to address dangerous individuals BEFORE they gain access (legal, or illegal) to firearms or weapons.

I am very, very curious to know what steps are available to mental health professionals when they’re clearly dealing with a disordered client. What are they “allowed” to do, and what does HIPPA legally prevent them from doing that might otherwise make a difference?

A very sticky wicket, to be sure.

Brightest blessings

Truthspeak:

I can speak from what my therapist told me. He was the one I went to for about six sessions. In the first or second session when I was a little reluctant to tell my story due to confidentiality reasons, he assured me that the only way he would ever say anything is if I said I was going to harm the spath or myself…then he had full right and responsibility to go to the authorities and things would be no longer confidential. Soooo, it looks like to me that is the law…therapists are required by law to report if you are a threat to anyone or yourself. At least in my state of residency.

Louise, I kind of get that understanding that they’re obligated to “report” threats, etc., to authorities, but THEN what? What steps are taken to address the issues? Are the clients arrested? Are they put on a “watch list?” Are they admitted to a psychiatric unit for more intensive treatment? Those are the questions that concern me, most.

Brightest blessings

Truthspeak:

I think the person is then evaluated; perhaps even kept at a facility for a bit. I have a girlfriend whose mom just in the past month was having some major mental health issues and she was put in a hospital mental ward (I believe), but after seven days they released her. Probably some type of law that if they check out to be “OK,” they can’t be held any longer than that. It’s all a messy web. I totally agree that there is no clear answer right now, but we NEED some answers to all the mental health issues out there. UGGHH. SIGH.

Louise, that’s precisely what I’m concerned with. There doesn’t seem to be a clear or concise way to “treat” people who may be a danger to themselves and/or others.

I’ve heard a number of stories about people being admitted to facilities, only to be handed a fistful of prescribed medications and released back into the community when they were clearly dangerous.

It does cause one to sigh out loud, doesn’t it?

Truthspeak:

I agree! It’s extremely frustrating. Perhaps you and I could be advocates and start a crusade?? 🙂

Did his psychologist fail him and society? Or is there just no way to tell when someone is going to break and do something bizarre? Guns are not the cause of violence, they are only a tool in the wrong hands. To prevent more mass killings, we need more armed citizens and fewer gun free zones. People tend to protect each other more often than the other way around.

Many non-violent mental patients are on the streets freezing to death because they would rather do that than become victims of the government system. Many potential mass murderers are living next door to someone who doesn’t have a clue. Mental illness does not equal mass murder. Perhaps we need to let the help for the mentally ill go private and keep the government out of our lives except where they help…like protecting us from illegal aliens and balancing the National debt.

And one big preventative measure government could do would be to stop letting these known psychopathic rapists, murders and child molesters out of jail.

Did his psychologist fail him and society? Or is there just no way to tell when someone is going to break and do something bizarre? Guns are not the cause of violence, they are only a tool in the wrong hands. To prevent more mass killings, we need more armed citizens and fewer gun free zones. People tend to protect each other more often than the other way around.

Many non-violent mental patients are on the streets freezing to death because they would rather do that than become victims of the government system. Many potential mass murderers are living next door to someone who doesn’t have a clue. Mental illness does not equal mass murder. Perhaps we need to let the help for the mentally ill go private and keep the government out of our lives except where they help…like protecting us from illegal aliens and balancing the National debt.

And the one thing the government could do to help prevent these crimes and will not do is to not let these psychopathic, murders, rapists and child molesters out to do it again and again. That is the insanity.

betsy bugs said

And one big preventative measure government could do would be to stop letting these known psychopathic rapists, murders and child molesters out of jail.

AMEN SISTA!!!!!

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