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Psychology of a Murderer

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Murderers spawn from the mind, not the soul, rendering them impossible to understand. Yet, society still struggles to comprehend their actions. What makes a man turn a gun to innocent, young children of an elementary school in Connecticut? Or any other place for that matter? The widely accepted evil of this act is the question of purpose. If there were a reason, perhaps the public would be slightly more at ease that the children of the nation were not at risk from spontaneous killings. In that single, tragic moment, the nation was also united with a single point of view.

The murders were molded to evoke different sentiments, depending on the source of media. All of them, however, expressed the incident as horrific. The nation remains blind to underlying causes. Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird has said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Thinking like a murderer is not a simple-minded, trivial task. The public shines light only on the deed and the ruthless, cold hearted killers. However, most murderers are not hardened criminals or pathological pariahs, but actually normal, day-to-day people in society. And in most mass killings, the murderer ends up dead, leaving no room for to answer the imperative question: why?

Truthfully, killings always occur for a reason, despite how obscure it may be. Often, an anticlimactic event may set that off. Perhaps the mind of the killer is psychologically disturbed, facing (but not limited to) insecurity, cynicism, or even superiority. Each mass killing is planned meticulously, except the attempt to escape. Destruction is not enough; there must be self-destruction as well. As most killers are male, the suicide almost acts as a way to prove masculinity, or, in a sick way, bravery and courage. These men are bonded by an attention-seeking motive, exemplified through their dramatic and conclusive suicides.

Although purpose behind mass murder is what is on debate, suicide is inevitably linked with it. In the Rio school shooting in Brazil, a gunman of 24 years, Oliveira, open fired on elementary school students, killing 13 students before killing himself. As a former student of the school, he had faced bullying and name-calling. Oliveira claimed that “our fight is against cruel people, cowards, who take advantage of the kindness, the weakness of people unable to defend themselves”. In his death letter, he asks for God’s forgiveness and requests his “house in Sepetiba which no family needs, there are poor institutions, financed by generous people, that take care of abandoned animals, I want this space where I passed my final months donated to one of these institutions”. Despite the “cold-blooded” murder, Oliveira’s last words and intentions are those of a devoted philanthropic.

In the minds of these murderers, revenge and scapegoats are legitimized and excused. Underneath the killings, Oliveira was seeking a form of acceptance and was unable to deal with life. He wanted to do good, and thought that killing was justified. Or, perhaps he knew that killing was unjustified, but did not think of how others would be affected. In the end, he did what he thought was well-intended, for the greater good.

There must have been some underlying cause to the shootings in Connecticut, to have innocent, young lives lost in the hands of a man who probably had no personal vendetta against the school. Not every mass murderer has to believe they have good intentions. They simply need to believe in their anger and emotions and their own perspectives. Just as the nation is blind to a murderer’s motives, the murder disregards or justifies the effects of death.

If those mass murderers were still alive, they would view their actions as accomplished. They managed to stir up the public, make a mark on the world, vent their anger, act on impulse, or follow their ideals. The distinction is entirely focused on perspective: the person who sympathizes with the killer and the majority who expresses strong opposition, the past where killing was survival to today where killing is a crime. A killer is a normal man with a purpose; humanity is entirely subjective; minds, from “normal” to “mental”, are psychologically disordered.

Evil is utterly in the eye of the beholder.

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iluvrockandroll2 said...
Feb. 15, 2013 at 8:51 am
i love how you used  the Atticus finch  reference :) brilliant article!!
Silent_MuseThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 15, 2013 at 10:25 am
Thanks! I was a little doubtful at first, since the literary reference might have implied a lit analysis. But, it all worked out okay :)
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