Friday, November 14, 2014

I want to clear some things about mass shootings in the US... Facts that are particularly hard to see when the news media is showing back to back coverage with constant commentary and bodies on every channel. 0.2 % of all homicides in this country are mass killings. Of that 0.2 %, only 10% are public killings (like Aurora, Newtown, etc) Though 2012 was a bad year, representing the highest number of these victims of this type of homicides (killed and wounded) since 1929, the average is 30 events a year, and that number has been declining steadily. It's also important to understand that Familicides alone are responsible for nearly half of the 0.2%. The majority are committed by a white, male, head of household. These killers are roughly 60% more likely to be suffering from a mental illness, but when you look at a crime that ends in suicide with no other strategy in place, you are more likely to be dealing with mental illness or what would be viewed in the aftermath as mental illness. Mass murder is not rising.
Another fact we need to clarify: the profile of this killer defies all the promises made by politicians and psychiatrists. The killer is most likely white, between 20-30, and unlikely to have many responsibilities. He is also unlikely to have a a criminal record or a lengthy psychiatric record. In short, Dr, Torrey has no more idea of what he is looking for than you do. They are not usually under the influence of narcotics, and they are frustrated, outraged, or disappointed by a series of slights or grievances that may be real and may be imagined. They target strangers, but they are not random. Their victims are a representation to them. It could be they embody what the killer covets or that the victim possesses certain attributes or characteristics that make he/or she important to the killer on a personal level. There is a stressor or trigger that occurs, but since it is just as likely to exist only in the killer's head there is really no way to be aware.

The 4 major characteristics are: 
  • they give little thought or concern to inevitable capture or death
  • they commit crime in public places
  • their motive is retaliatory; based in rejection, failure, and loss of autonomy
  • the offense is an effort to regain a degree of control over their lives Hickey

Gray et al. studied adolescent mass murderers and found the following characteristics:

  • male
  • 17 years old
  • described as "loners" by others
  • abused alcohol or drugs
  • had been bullied by others in the past
  • gave depressive symptoms and historical antisocial behaviors
  • recently suffered a perceived failure in love or school (Turvey 2008)
The FBI states that workplace violence is evolutionary in nature, but I think all violence, particularly heinous acts, are evolutionary. No one wakes up randomly, in the midst of a perfect life, and decided to murder multiple people and then, usually kill themselves. FBI studies have found that most actors in workplace mass murders are not psychotic at the time of murders, but obsessive compulsive characteristics are more common in mass killings that mimic serials. Mass murder is older and more wide spread than serial murder, but very little insight exists regarding motivation because most perpetrators kill themselves or commit suicide by cop before they can be taken into custody. 

These facts tell me that no amount of forced commitment or medication or psychiatry could have prevented them. That's a scary idea for a lot of people because it means there is no way to protect yourself. 

In 2012, DHS and ReadyHouston released a public service announcement on how to survive a mass shooting incident.  Their suggestions revolved around three things that can make a difference: RUN, HIDE, or FIGHT:
1. If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate
2. Evacuate whether others agree to or not
3. Leave your belongings behind
4. Help others escape if possible
5. Prevent others from entering the area
6. Call 911 when you are safe
1. Lock or blockade the door
2. Turn off lights and silence your cell phone
3. Try to hide behind large objects
4. Do not trap yourself or restrict your options for movement
5. Remain very quiet   

FIGHT (as a last resort)
1. Improvise weapons
2. Commit to taking the shooter down, no matter what
3. Act with physical aggression
4. Attempt to incapacitate the shooter

Remember that a mass killer may be very deliberate, and he may be random. 

And above all, remember that you are more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a mass shooter. The news media creates a false impression that these type of murders are a daily occurrence through back to back coverage and misinformation and fear mongering. 

Random truths:
1. Mental illness is only likely to show an increase in violent tendencies if it also involves substance abuse and only with severe mental illness, but normal people who abuse narcotics are also more notably more likely to be violent, and these characteristics on their own show such a small added risk that it can't establish clinical validity. In fact, any of these characteristics show either the same added risk or more: 

  • Growing up in a unstable, antisocial household
  • Parental history of physical abuse
  • Parental history of neglect
  • Parental history of both physical abuse and neglect
  • Binge drinking
  • Stressful life events
  • Being male

  • 2. Psychiatric drugs have actually been shown to increase violent and suicidal behaviors in patients. Most of the perpetrators of the recent "school shootings" were being treated for mental illness at the time of the murders.

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: Dr. E Fuller Torrey states, "Stigma is created by the sort of headlines that result when a person is not being treated for mental illness and shoots two Capitol police officers to death or pushes an innocent victim in front of a speeding subway train. Some 20 years of research, in fact, has proven this point."

  • This is effectively the same as demanding all men be placed on the sex offenders list because most sexual predators are male.

  • The rate of violence in the mentally ill has been almost constant level since the 90's.

  • "People with psychiatric disabilities are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crime (Appleby, et al., 2001). People with severe mental illnesses, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis, are 2 ½ times more likely to be attacked, raped or mugged than the general population (Hiday, et al.,1999)."

  • Fact 2: The public is misinformed about the link between mental illness and violence.
    A longitudinal study of American’s attitudes on mental health between 1950 and 1996 found, “the proportion of Americans who describe mental illness in terms consistent with violent or dangerous behavior nearly doubled.” Also, the vast majority of Americans believe that persons with mental illnesses pose a threat for violence towards others and themselves (Pescosolido, et al., 1996, Pescosolido et al., 1999).

  • Between 4 and 5 % of violent crimes are committed by the mentally ill in this country.

  • However, completely sane people who abuse alcohol or narcotics are 7 times more likely to commit acts of violence. 

  • Delvecchio said, “Violence by those with mental illness is so small that even if you could somehow cure it all, 95 percent of violent crime would still exist.
  • A cure of substance abuse would solve 1/3 of all violent crime in the US.
  • All of the statistics against the mentally ill go up substantially when they are calculated by someone who aims to make a profit from pharmaceuticals. (Most actually include the rate of suicides in with the rates of violent crime.) 

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