This week a disgruntled, seemingly troubled man decided to exact his revenge on his former employer by committing murder on television. He made his own “reality tv” show.
The recent murder of the two journalists by their former co-worker raises many questions and more concerns as this epidemic of exhibitionism seems to grow. The shooting yesterday has many tragic aspects, but one cannot deny the exhibitionistic quality of it. The shooter recorded it and got on television for committing murder. He planned the whole thing!
We live in an age of self-obsessed exhibitionism. That can be seen on all the social media outlets. Constant pictures, comments, thoughts, fantasies and even capital crime are shared with the world without a filter. And then we have all the mainstream media giving it 24-hour coverage. While this shooting is a very tragic story that can be discussed from many different perspectives i.e. mental illness, gun control, personal and national grief, and other psychosocial viewpoints, we must take particular form of this act also as an outgrowth of a culture in which showing off has become common place. This killer got his own show.
Mental illness certainly can cause gun violence. But a psychiatric diagnosis cannot predict that someone will choose violence or become a shooter. If that were true, this would be a much easier problem to solve. Here are some facts we know about mass murderers. We know that the typical profile of a mass murderer is that of a single male who is somewhat isolated, maybe depressed, and possibly feeling revengeful after a rejection perceived as an irreparable destruction to his life. Losing a job could certainly fit within those parameters.
The availability of guns is a common part of the discussion and, although I personally prefer better gun control laws, I still have not seen direct evidence of gun availability as a whole causing these heinous acts by individuals. We have learned a lot by studying the individuals that have committed these crimes, but not enough to accurately identify a potential mass murderer.
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.