Archive for the ‘Sociopath’ Category

 

good_vs_evil

 

A few years ago I had a conversation at works with some co-workers. We would often have discussions that felt like a forum when there was downtime at the job. Our topics would range from religion to reality tv and so on. One conversation in particular we talked about was the idea that human society as a whole is becoming more evil than we have in the past. The question became paradoxical when one person made the argument that society is just as evil as it has always been, but since the internet and the world became digital, we have been able to transport information in a split second. The world is becoming more diaphanous and reflects our greatest and worst qualities within us.

Do we have free will to choose good vs evil?

Human choice has been something debated by philosophers and scientists since the times of the ancient Egypt. Is the idea of freedom and free will an illusion. Nothing more than an ideological equalivalent to a visual hologram. Cosmological determinism which is an ideal that everything is predetermined and predicted makes the notion of free will improbable. Neuroscientists made a discovery that our brains make our decisions far before we are actually conscious of them. This term called “Bereitschaftpotential” which means readiness potential describes a subfield the brain goes into prior to conscious awareness.

Scientists Kornhuber and Deecke’s used EEG scans on research participants. They found that during a test where the subjects were asked to move their fingers. Prior to the voluntary movement the motor cortex showed a negative slow potential shift right before. Benjamin Libet also ran experiments in the 1980’s that further reaffirmed the findings from Kornhuber and Deecke. This time the participants would watch a clock with a dot circling around it. Data showed that .35 seconds before conscious awareness the readiness potential began. He concluded that as far as the initiation of our movements, there is no free will. This can be “vetoed” at the last-minute he also noted. He also believed that the anterior cingulate motor areas of the brain, which allows us to focus and execute self-initiated actions and self instigated movements.

Neuroscientists are now using fMRI and implanted electrodes to study this phenomenon. Participants were asked to go into an fMRI scanner and then press a button with their right or left index finger. They had to remember what letter appeared on the screen the moment they pressed the button. What they found was that the BP occurred one second prior to the conscious awareness and sometimes up to ten seconds before. “The first thought we had ‘we have to check if this is real.’ We came up with more sanity checks than I’ve ever seen in any other study before.” Another test actually used implants of electrodes into a person’s brain to record the activity of the individuals neutrons. He found that the neurons lit up 1.5 seconds prior to any conscious awareness. They used this to give a prediction of the person’s actions with 80% sometimes 90% accuracy. The conclusion became that the neuronal assemblies, cross a threshold and that the medial frontal cortex can determine these decisions before a person is even aware of it.

The Mind of a Killer 

Mass shootings in this country have become problematic in our society. It seems that the more we find out about mental illness and the connection between the pestilence of these types of killings it has become more evident that evil is tangible in our way of life. In the last paragraph I talked about the absence of free will and the scientific analysis of the brain that pre-determines our actions. Could this in turn mean that out sociopaths/psychopaths are also commanded by some internal brain pattern.

In an article in Time magazine examining the minds of killers one investigator found that a man who killed 17 people and murdered and wounded 32 had a tumor and a vascular malformation pressing against his amygdala which is the region of the brain that controls emotion. A schoolteacher developed a sick compulsion for child pornography and began making advances towards his stepdaughter. He got arrested and then flunked out of a 12 step course,but when he went to the ER for a terrible headache and other neurological symptoms the doctors discovered an egg sized tumor on his right oribitofrontal cortex which controls decision-making. When the tumor was removed the urges stop, but the urges came back along with the re-growth of another tumor.

One experiment that was done on 96 male felons to study their impulse control and brain function. The test consisted of a fMRI scanner on them while they performed pressing a button when they saw the letter X,but had to refrain when they saw the letter K. The letter X was designed to appear over 84% of the time, which led to overclicking by the inmates who confused to the two letters. The anterior cingulate cortex(ACC) is the region of the brain that controls impulses. In turn that test found that those who did bad on the test had lower levels of ACC than those who scored higher. The correlation between the ones with lower ACC is that when the inmates were released back into society the ones with lower levels had been likely to be re-arrested four times more.

Another example of babies 6 monthsold born with a condition called cavum septum pellucidum which is a small gap in the forward left and right regions of the brain were more likely to develop behavioral disorders and exhibit criminal behavior. The question for us then becomes if someone is biological influenced to become a killer are they held accountable for the actions they committed. Dr Keihl’s who also studied prisoners in two high security facilities found that psychopath’s brains had low levels of density in the paralimbic system which is responsible for processing emotion. This connections results in impulsive personalities and show little evidence of feeling guilt, remorse of empathy.

A gene that has been studied seems to hold some answers whether evil is hereditary or not. The MAO-A (Warrior gene)gene seems to be the key to the question if evil within us and can it be passed down. A study done on Danish men found that identical twins when one had a criminal record the other twin had a 50% chance to have to also have a criminal record themselves. If there were non-identical twins they were 15-30% more likely to exhibit criminal behavior than an average Danish male. In the same scope children of criminal parents were more likely to become criminals even if the children were adopted and the foster parents were law biding citizens.

Can the Good turn Bad? 

In the summer of 1971 there was an experiment where nine students volunteered for a two-week paid study program in Stanford County Prison. The students were blindfolded, stripped naked, sprayed with powder and given short smocks and flip-flops, hair was cut and they were given a number instead of a name.They were all tested and passed to be emotionally and physically competent. Dr. Zimbardo who was a psychologist played a warden in the prison. Twelve more volunteers were given uniforms and mirrored sunglasses and were given the task to enforce the prison rules. The inmates had to be quiet during meals and rest periods.

The guards tormented the inmates, waking them up at to recite numbers they had been assigned, playing naked leap frogging with other inmates. If inmates rebelled they were punished with push-ups and even solitary confinement. Some of the guards fell in line with these cruelties while other guards were clearly the aggressors and thought of more and more ways to torture the inmates. The prisoners themselves seemed the most complacent and obeyed their orders with little resistance.

The experiment was shut down after 6 days when the lines were too blurred for the “guards” to make moral and ethical decisions for themselves and seemed to be apart of a single ispeity. The prisons became violent and some became docile and accepting of their prisoner indicative role. Dr. Zimbardo’s experiment failed the ideal argument that good people can maintain their moral high-ground even in a virulent environment.  So my question now can good people given the wrong conditions turn themselves into immoral corrupted individuals.

Religion Explains the Rise of Evil

One explanation of the more and more accumulating evidence of evil is the argument that we are approaching the “Last Days.” In Christian culture describe the last days when the sinners of the earth will be judged. The rejection of word as one article puts it is the reason why the world is heading on a one way train to armageddon.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. [Romans 1:24-32]

When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread: So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it. –Exekiel 5:16-17

“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. – Revelation 18:2

14-year-old Marcy Conrad of Milpitas, California, had been raped, strangled to death, and left lying off the road in the hills outside of town. According to the local paper, at least 13 students went out to look at her body. One girl picked up the murdered girl’s jeans, cut off a patch, and threw the jeans down along the side of the road. One student tried to cover the body with leaves. Another took his eight-year-old brother along to see the body. One boy went twice. Those who saw the body went back to class or to the pinball arcade. One went home to bed. Another student said he only cared about collecting the marijuana cigarette he had won on a bet that the body was real. As the newspaper reported: “The shock is the shock of the of the encounter with icy indifference, the indifference of the kids in the first instance, but much more importantly, of the culture that produced them… The depersonalization did not begin yesterday; it is not unique to this moment, yet it seems more complete – and they seem more alienated and isolated – than we have ever known before.

Public order has disappeared in “the new South Africa.” Crime is rampant. In Cape Town, a serious crime occurs every 17 seconds. Police have 1,227,047 unsolved cases under review, according to Crime Investigation Services divisional chief Johan le Rous. It is increasingly dangerous in South Africa to own a nice car since roving gangs of unemployed thugs surround nice cars at intersections, drag the driver and passengers out, beat them brutally, then drive off with the car – just for a wild “joy ride” in which the car is vandalized or wrecked.

“Since virtually all perverted behavior people engage in is now categorized under “natural behavior,” a door is now opened for more wicked sins. Just thirty years ago we would have been appalled, even outraged, by the decadence and debauchery that daily fills our streets, TV shows, movie screens, music and art, video games, businesses, and political bodies. But today we rarely give it a second thought. In fact, we often give it our approval, or a least fail to speak out against it. We have gotten used to it all, even though it is not a good thing to get used to. ”

“As a society, we have gotten used to illicit sexual relationships, adolescent promiscuity,abortion, cheating, lying, stealing, prostitution, rape, divorce, and even murder. We have gotten used to financial mismanagement on both civil and personal levels. We haveaccepted political corruption. We have rejected personal and social responsibility and learned to blame anyone or anything else for our problems and failures. We have traded in our infinitely valued divine image for a nickel-plated pagan shrine erected in honor of self-interest, immorality, and social apathy. The American ideal today is me first to do what I want, when I want, to whom I want, regardless of who or what it may hurt. These are the signs of a society gone wrong.”

I think the author nailed it one the head with this one. I really didn’t want to change any wording around. This isn’t the first time though Christians have cried out these are the last days and the sinners will pay for their wrongdoings in pestilence proportions. Truthfully was supposed to come by the turn of the century, then again Y2k was supposed to end everything as we know, then the Mayans prophecized Dec. 21, 2012 was the day the stars lined up and the Apocalypse was supposed to come down. I see the times are getting worse, but I have a hard time accepting this is biblical and we are heading for judgment. Just in case though a quick prayer………….Amen lol

serial killers

 

Imagine this you wake up disoriented in a dark, damp, cold room not knowing how you got there and scared out of  your mind. You scream for help only to realize your in a reticent room for a reason. You suddenly get memories flushing back when someone suddenly came from behind you and drugged you second before you passed out. What was that…..You hear the door screech open and footsteps walking toward you coming closer, but the room is too dark to see who or what it is. With you heart pulsating it seems the air suddenly is thinning as you gasp for breath trying to remain calm, but you can’t help but shake and cry not knowing what will happen next.

I gonna stop there, because that scenario seems horrifying to live through with just the glimpse of what I made visual for you. So why are we so fascinated to watch these scenarios play out on tv? What makes tv shows like Criminal Minds which is in it’s tenth season, The Following, Hannibal, Bates Motel, Dexter and other shows where criminals, psychos and the deranged run amuck so intriguing to us.

  • Killers are Humanized– It’s hard to despise a psychopath when you watch a drama filled show and see their life unfolding in front of you. You might even become sympathetic to the characters who dismember and murder knowing they were abused or tortured as a child.
  • Killers are Glamorized– Our culture unfortunately romanticizes serial killers too much, the Ted Bundy’s, Charles Manson, Jack Abbott all have made last impressions on society for all the wrong reasons, yet even today anyone of these individuals have cult like followings that have immortalized them.
  • They put on the Charm– Suave, debonair, elegant, intelligent charismatic, cultured, meticulous and take charge. hardly the description you would think applies to a bloodthirsty, cold-blooded killer. The tv does such wonders for a killers ego huh? I just finished watching season 2 of The Following. Joe Carroll did a masterful job seducing a cult into his own meshwork agenda of anarchy and death that had his followers extol for him.
  • Bad is so so Good – In society rules and order are needed for the population to function. Sometimes though the decree and all the regulations can be overwhelming and create disorderly factions. Killers and those who appreciate them disobey the rules, are not understood by regular law biding citizens. This brings an element of “cool” and popularity and we’ve all heard the saying “Good girls like bad boys”.
  • Society has a hankering for blood– If you seen the movies like Gladiator, 300, Spartacus and other movies like them then society as a whole has a long history of turning someone else’s death and dismemberment into entertainment. Much like what the Romans did for “fun”, we get the same thrill from seeing the blood splatter on the walls and watching the arms getting torn off. It’s greatright?
  • Killing can be Sacerdotal – Even religion sanctioned killing in so way, shape or form. Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT-…….”you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock.  Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it.”  “ A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death.”  Leviticus 20:27 NAB
  • Television adrenaline junkies – Long gone are the days the Alfred Hitchcock style killings where you see knife about to stab an unsuspecting woman in the shower and see the silhouette of her body being bludgeoned to death. In the constant need to exceed audience expectations of shocking cinema, it’s not enough to imagine the murder viewers wants to see the fear in the victims eyes, the blade as it lacerated that innocent woman, the sense of melancholy as a grieving loved one sees their family member lying still for the last time.

I just gave a few reasons why watching death on tv and movies has become such a big part of our entertainment in our day-to-day lives. I can’t help but think that we are becoming more and more desensitized to killing and brutality in this country. If you seen movies like The Purge and The Hunger Games and look past the prismatic outfits and the face masks of terror you can see our society heading towards these dark unfathomable futures. The question is and always has been is life intimidating art or is art intimidating life?

behavior

Have you ever wanted to know if someone was lying to you,but couldn’t prove it? Have you ever wanted to learn what profilers know to profile somebody? One of my favorites shows on tv to watch is Criminal Minds. It’s not because they can people that are insane, or because their put into demigod like status they way they use their intelligence, bravery and strength together. It’s because know the art of profiling a suspect from tiny clues they obtain. I they know the “unsub” likes fishing they might say the “unsub” is a calm patient killer who enjoys the hunt more that the actual kill.

If you wanted to know how cops, spies and psychologist know someone is lying pay attention. They look for physical clues such as body language: sweating, fidgeting. Look for particulars in a story, if a person is lying they usually lack detail. “Liars are noticeably less cooperative than truth-tellers,” found psychologists Bella M. DePaulo and Wendy L. Morris in a review of studies on deception. “Liars also make more negative statements and complaints than truth-tellers do, and they appear somewhat less friendly and pleasant,” they write in The Detection of Deception in Forensic Contexts.

According to former CIA agent Moran and NYPD officer Parker a subject’s failure to make eye contact is often a sign of deceit. Dilated pupils and a rise in vocal pitch were common more in liars than people telling the truth according to psychologists Depaulo and Morris. Listen for a pause in a story if a person has to take a second or two, that means they are usually gathering their thoughts and need time.  Ask  person a second or even a third time for them to tell you their story.  Look for inconsistencies in the story, but be aware they may still be able to keep the details of the lie in their heads. “Smart people maintain the consistency of lies better than dumb people,” says psychologist Robert Feldman, a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts.

Suspect someone who is making you think they are being honest too much. Most people assume they will be trusted most of the time. If someone constantly uses a phrase like “to be honest”  may more likely be lying. Know thyself is the lst measurement. Don’t look for what you want to hear, listen to the story as accurately as possible and take out of the equation that you may want them to be telling the truth and just listen.

In the book “Dangerous Instincts: How our Gut Instincts Betray Us” the author Mary O’Toole a retired FBI profiler says that we tend to look at someone who goes to work on time every day, shovels the snow when it comes, asks about your children, is polite and keeps a tidy home and  lawn for most people are indicators they are “normal”. O’ Toole says this same type of person she found out can also be a sexual sadist and prey and torture women in his backyard small trailer. She interviewed such a person who was a 60-year-old park ranger at the time. He had been torturing his victims for years and no one knew cause he was a “regular guy”.

O’ Toole stresses the fact that people should be good listeners and observe odd behavior.  “In order to be A good reader of behavior, you have to watch and listen,” O’Toole said. But if you’re too busy talking the whole time, you may miss key pieces of information. She adds not to be intimidated by authority of religious figures that can cloud our judgment. Admiring someone title can hinder your judgment which is known as “icon-intimidation” where we assign onto them admirable qualities such as intelligent, courageous, compassionate and thereby harmless.

Also be aware about your own emotional state when reading someone else. If you’re depressed or lost a loved one and grieving, this puts in a vulnerable state. One myth of her profiling skills has debunked is the “myth of he straggly haired stranger”. Society tends to think it is the unkempt, dirty, unemployed, uneducated and creepy are the ones that stick out like sore thumbs and are guilty. Meanwhile it is the ones who blend in and look like “regular guys” who are the ones who can be extremely dangerous.  Another myth is the ones who “snap” all of a sudden and act violently. O’ Toole explains these have been there all along, the person may have had ways to suppress or minimize the presence of these behaviors.

O’ Toole uses an example of a couple where the male is physically abusive, obsessive and jealous. The behaviors has become increasingly volatile so the female decides to end the relationship. The male comes from a well off family background and has many friends through sports he plays and social gatherings as well. O’ Toole urges parents and those in this situation not to underestimate the situation and to this kid of behavior did not come out of nowhere and this person may have a history of violent and even criminal behavior.

Some red flags to look for when you are observing behavior is when someone becomes easily angered or talks about violence.  “violence is the answer to everything no matter what they’re talking about.” If a person has road rage, then they have anger outside of the car as well. If a person is physically aggressive or abusive to others. If they have a tendency to act like a bully, this can also transcend over into other aspects of life. Another detail is if they blame others, the example used is if you’re on a date and the person says their ex was the reason they broke up solely.

The last piece O’ Toole mentions is if someone has a lack of empathy or compassion that they can be dangerous as this is an important indicator of their character. If someone has the tendency to take over the conversation and refocus it back onto them no matter the previous content of the conversation. Psychopaths make up 1% of the general population and 10% of the prisoners in jail usually lack empathy. Some may pretend to use empathy and have feelings for their victims, but O’Toole says, “Asking a psychopath what remorse or guilt feels like is like asking a man what it feels like to be pregnant. It is an experience they have never had.” If you keep asking a psychopath about their feelings (such as “How do you feel about those victims?”), they’ll become irritated, and their façade will start to crack, O’Toole said. For psychopaths, “emotions are a pain in their rear end.” They see them as problems, not something worth having.

Jim Clemente a retired FBI profiler helped police in an investigation looking for a suspect who killed three shop owners in the Brooklyn area. He says sketching a profile of such a killer combines art, science and psychology will be used in every aspect of such a case like this. “An offender picks a particular victim at a particular place and strikes at a particular time and location,” said Clemente, who still works as a professional profiler. “It tells us a lot about him. That’s what we call leakage.” Profilers look for “behavioral cues” such as, who their victims are and where they decided to murder and the manner in which they did. “What profilers can give you is an idea of what they’re like in the rest of their life,” Clemente said. “We look at the behavior exhibited at the crime scene.”

Profilers try to deduct a killer’s confidence level and if the killer is familiar with murder investigations. “He could be criminally experienced, or trainedor watched a lot of crime TV shows,” Clemente said. “Maybe it’s something this person has been thinking about for a long time and put a lot of effort in this.” Profilers sometimes use an algorithm to find out where a criminal may live in relation to the crime.“We look at the hunting zone, where he’s actually committing these crimes,” Clemente said, adding that killers usually don’t venture too far away from their home.“(The suspect) has to get back to safety,” he said.

Please note that this does not certify you as a profiler and you still have to go through years of training and practice to obtain and refine the skills necessary to profile a killer. I like this sort of topic because in my mind I can think I am a profiler, but I have to remind myself just like I made a note for you that it takes alot more than just noticing your neighbor is aggressive to positively ID them as a killer.

Image

I remember Dionna Warwicks attack on hip hop from its derogatory lyrics add references to violence on a constant basis. Being a child of the culture I thought to myself she and anyone who thought like her was wrong and were only using attacks on rap music to get back at the fact that they were old and out of touch with what was current in music. Now that the child has grown up in music I honestly say now Mrs. Warwick may have been right all along. Not just with music, but with movies and video games have become more aggressive and realistic. I also feel they are subconsciously fulfilling a psychological primate need to kill and create destruction that is within all of us. I recently saw the movie “The Purge” which led me to ask, “How far off are we from this becoming a reality?”

What does science say about listening to music?

A few years ago a team of Montreal researchers were trying to pinpoint “the potent pleasurable stimulus” that music creates. The study was published in Nature NeuroScience online magazine. The research was based off of taking a study group of 217 that was dwindled down to the top ten who most reliably got “chills” listening to instrumental music. The group was then asked to bring in a playlist of their favorite songs. Combining the methodology of both PET and fMRI they were able to accurate snapshot of the activity in the brain while you listen to music. The first discovery is that dopamine is released in both dorsal and ventral striatum when triggered by music. Both regions of the brain have long been associated with pleasurable stimuli. The result in the listening to music is we get a sense of happiness normally listening to music we like. My question to that is could the same effect music has on the dopamine release also trigger drops of seratonin the chemical responsible for violent aggressive behavior in certain individuals? Something to think about.

I know it’s a stretch to think that just listening to music can make you a killer. On the other hand Tyler Hadley(17yrs old) told his friend Michael Mandell that he had done exactly that. Become a killer I mean, Tyler confessed to killing both his parents with hammer hours before he had over 60 people over his house for a house party. Don’t worry the room where he killed his parents was locked and only Tyler and Michael knew why the door was locked and blocked off. Mandell states Hadley told him that the devil possessed him along with rap music and constant arguing with his parents. Tyler also confessed to taking the drug ecstasy. Mandell was in disbelief about the whole event. “After he told me, I didn’t believe him because he’s been my best friend forever. I would never suspect anything like this,” Mandell said. “I was looking around, he told me if I look enough I could see signs. I looked on the floor and could see signs of blood.”

Science and films

Neurocinematic studies aim to find out the secrets our brains holds during share experience behind movie watching. “Movies are highly complex, multidimensional stimuli,” said Uri Hasson, a neuroscientist and psychologist at Princeton University. “Some areas of the brain analyze sound bites, some analyze word context, some the sentence content, music, emotional aspect, color or motion.”In one study, for example, they used functional magnetic resonance imaging—or a procedure that measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow—to watch volunteer’s brains as they viewed Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Alfred Hitchcock’s Bang! You’re Dead and Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. They also showed participants unedited clips of a random scene filmed in Washington Square park in New York City, which they thought would most closely reflect a cinematic experience of reality. They then compared all of the viewers’ neurological responses to calculate an inter-subject correlation, or the degree to which brain processes aligned between viewers watching the same film.

Not all movies elicited the same cranial reactions, they found. The highly structured Hitchcock film similarly engaged nearly 65 percent of the viewers’ cortexes (the outer layer of the brain that plays a role in processing memory, attention, awareness, thought, language and consciousness), for example, while the segments of reality taken from the park engaged the same responses in only about 5 percent of the viewers’ cortexes. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly ranked similar to Hitchcock, at 45 percent, while Curb Your Enthusiasm fell to 18 percent.

In other words, highly controlled films, in turn, exert a higher level of control on viewers’ minds than unstructured clips that are closer to our day-to-day experiences of reality. When Hitchcock directs our gaze to a bloody knife or an open door, we all look together. In real life, however, our attention is diverted, focusing at will on the guy with the newspaper, the woman wrestling with her shopping bags or the wind in the trees, with little rhyme or reason. Neurocinematic studies while it is still a young field may in theory use movies to study the behavior in the brain.

We have discussed the science behind movies and the studies that may lead us into finding out if movies can actually direct us to kill. While that is still for the future to let us know, movies are being blamed for crime and murder today. The Colorado shooter James Holmes was quoted as saying “I am the Joker” when he was caught by police. Holmes also mimicked the Joker by booby trapping his own apartment. A couple in Chicago tried to rob a bank wearing nun habit’s and ghoulish masks. The couple was said to have gotten the idea from watching the movie “The Town” where the robbers wore a nun’s habit, semi auto’s and a big bag for the cash. The couple walked away with $120,000 dollars before getting caught.

Kyle Shaw a teenager who was inspired by “Project Mayhem” from the movie “Fight Club”. Shaw was able to set off a bomb made out of fireworks, a plastic bottle and electrical tape outside a starbucks in NYC back in 2009. One of Shaw’s classmates said that Shaw was well-known for his obsession with the book and movie. In Iowa one male student bit over 10 girls in one month after watching the Twilight films. His father knew about the boys over indulgent love for the film and the boy was sent to juvenile corrections. Who did see this coming? The popular show Dexter has at least one fanatic that claims they highly influenced by the show. Andrew Conley(17) strangled his 10-year-old brother by choking him out. Prosecutor Aaron Negangard says “The fact is, he has said on numerous occasions he had fantasized about killing people,” In fact, an hour into his first interrogation by police, Conley said, “I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it’s called ‘Dexter,’ and it’s on Showtime. And I feel like him because he’s a serial killer of bad people but I just feel like him.”

Films like Natural Born Killers, Mortal Kombat, Doom and The Basketball Diaries were accused of inspiring murder including the mass shooting that happened at Columbine High School. Lee Boyd Malvo was convicted of murder in 2002 for sniper attacks in Washington DC. It was stated that Malvo was gripped by the idea that he was in a blurred reality and was being mind controlled. The idea came from the groundbreaking special effect autochthonous film “The Matrix”, he even wrote in his cell “Free yourself of the Matrix.” The “Matrix Defense” was also used in the case of Vadim Mieseges a San Franciso man who dismembered his landlady and told police he was sucked into “The Matrix”. He was found not guilty by plea of insanity.

Thierry Jaradin who was 24 years old stabbed his neighbor Alison Cambier who was 15 years old 30 times while wearing  a black robe and ghoulish mask worn by the killers in the Scream movie. It is said that Jaradin killed Cambier because she did not want his sexual advances. John Hinckley Jr. was said to have been inspired by the movie “Taxi Driver” Hinckley who was fixated on Jodie Foster’s character attempted to shoot President Reagan six times, but only 1 bullets hit Reagan at the time. Reagan’s press secretary was hit in the head by another bullet meant for the President. Hinckley, who was later found not guilty by reason of insanity, said that the shooting was “the greatest love offering in the history of the world,” and that “Everybody, but everybody, knows about John and Jodie.”

Science behind Video Games

Specific types of video games may have a multitude of effects on and improvements and visuospatial attention.  Video games differ on a range of dimensions and use different cognitive, affective and behavioral systems. Evidence is growing that emphasizes that video games effect social and antisocial behaviors, cognitive styles and affective processing. Laboratory studies of the relationship between exposure to video game violence and aggression demonstrate that exposure( as little as 15-30 min) to violent content during game play can result in increases of aggressive thoughts and actions.

Further research examining the effects of video game violence on aggression can be understood within the context of the general aggression model(GAM). GAM is a bio-social-cognitive theory designed to account for short and long-term effects of exposure to media violence. Continued repeated exposure and reinforcement of aggression can lead to the negative development of aggressive beliefs, attitudes, perceptual schemata, expectations, behavior scripts and desensitization to aggression. The end result is a possible increase  in aggressive personality and changes in situational variables including peer groups and social activities.

One instant where life imitates art too well is where a 8-year-old boy from Slaughter, LA(that’s a real town) shot his 90-year-old caregiver in the back of the head. Police say the boy was playing Grand Theft Auto shortly before the boy murdered Marie Smothers with one shot. In the state of Louisiana anyone under the age of 10 years of age cannot be charged with a crime. “You have a child that does not know the impact or the consequences of the act that he has committed,” Sclynski Legier, an attorney, told WAFB-TV. “He truly doesn’t understand that.” It was never made clear how the 8-year-old got access to the .38 caliber weapon that was used in the slaying of the woman the boy says had a “normal, loving relationship.”

In 2007 sixteen year old Danny Petric shot both his parents because they banned him from playing Halo 3 in their home. The father found out the teen bought the video game and kept it over a friend’s house after the father forbid him from playing it. The father then put the game in a locked gun cabinet. Danny gained access to both the gun and video game and shot both parents after they sat down to watch a baseball game. The father lived and later blamed the crime on Halo 3.

In 2008 in New York City six teens went on a crime spree in Grand Theft Auto fashion. During the spree there was a reported mugging, motorists were robbed  and smashing vehicles with crowbars and baseball bats. After they were eventually caught and arrested, Det. Sgt Anthony Repalone said “It was determined that they were emulating the character in that Grand Theft Auto game, going on a crime spree.” and “’We got certain admissions’ from the boys.” There is no word on the final sentence of the boys. We can be sure that their Grand Theft Auto defense probably didn’t help sway anyone in their favor in court.

To bring this article to a close, there is substantial evidence mounting against video games, movies and even music to a degree. All three of these mediums contain mind altering and mood altering traits that have been blamed on increased aggression in our society and our culture. For some people it is a stretch to believe that playing a game can end up killing someone. Personal responsibility, ethics, morals and values has to weigh in at some point on this complex, immeasurable quagmire.With that in mind if all people needed was a push then the increase aggression and the other negative attributes would be just that right nudge.  As always what do you think???/

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In my last part I talked about pollution and the effects of chemical dumping may have had on generations to come to contribute to the escalation of mental illness and mass shootings. My other theory for the motivation behind mass shootings maybe the lack of human compassion. The ability to devalue another human being in order to rationalize the reason why killing them with no remorse is acceptable. We have gotten all to comfortable with placing a label on them such as psychopath/sociopath. What they won’t tell you is similar characteristics of these types of killers share profiles with a small percentage of soldiers, early settlers to the New World, Slave Masters and even CEO’s of corporate America.

Let’s start with soldiers I first must emphasize that this only applies to a small percentage of them and does not reflect in any way on the brave men and women who gave their lives as an ultimate sacrifice. To those I salute and say a prayer for the families. The ones I am talking about are the ones that have enlisted because they want a legally kill and even mutilate people in the name of war. One example of how non-compassionate soldiers can be is when a soldier was interviewed during the 1991 Iraq war. He described waiting to wipe out Iraq soldiers during an ambush was like waiting to kill cockroaches while other compared it to killing turkeys and even sheep that had been let out of the stall. If you can remember back in 2004. The Abu Graib prison scandal where soldiers would pose with dead Afghan that were later published in “Rolling Stone” magazine before the US army censored the remaining material. According to Robert Hare a celebrious psychologist says 1 out of 25 people are psychopaths,but can go through life undetected by society. So if those numbers are true it wouldn’t be a stretch to say these psychopaths could obtain leadership positions in various industries that feed their demented bloodshed cravings.

A post world war II study proposed that 2% of soldiers were aggressive psychopaths who did show remorse or trauma associated with killing. The study also mentioned that these soldiers were an “asset” on the killing fields. The sociopath will exhibit a under controlled aggressive personality type. They have low internal controls against violence and will use quarrelsome behavior unless constrained by outside controls. The military provides ample displacements outlets for this behavior through physical training, field maneuvers and weapon ranges. This adds to my theory that these killers that cause these mass shootings have the same traits and behaviors shown in the low percentages of the US military.

Traits of these psychopaths were evident long before US soldiers. There are cases of early American settlers killing and eating each other. One case in particular took place from 1609-1610 in Jamestown, VA. During that time was a deadly winter where settlers ran out of food and eat mice, dogs, snakes, shoe leather and even the dead. George Percy who a colony leader described this time as ” a time of miseries”. He even wrote about people digging up the dead and eating them when nothing else was available. In one case he commented how he had to stop a man from salting and eating his pregnant wife. Another tried a recipe for his significant know as “powdered wife”. “one amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered her,  and had eaten her before it was known…….”Now she was better roasted, boiled of carbonado’d (BBQed) , I know not, but such a dish such as powdered wife I never heard of. One case of cannibalism involves a 14-year-old girl where her body was dismembered including chops to the front and back of the head. Scientists confirmed the dismemberment of the body and then the removal of the tissue to eat. The settlers even tried to open the skull since at that time animal and human brains and also facial tissue were desired meats.

One thing I feel brought out the most sadistic, despicable, psychopathic ways out of a person was slavery. Slavery in America was used for three primary reasons: capitalism, racism and individualism. When the first group of Africans were abducted and forcefully brought here they were used as labor and strip of their human rights and replaced with a lifestyle of servitude and obedience to their white counterparts. The slave was labeled inferior even after slavery was abolished. Even though conditions for the slaves were grotesque during slavery lynchings were more common after they were set free. It is estimated that from 1882-1968 there were 5,000 lynchings of freed black people. Many lynchings happened because they wanted to protect white women from “potential” rape. During the lynching is where I these people had no souls. Black men would have their penis cut off immediately. Then hung up on the pole, but not before he would have his ears cut off. Once they set fire to the victim they dismembered him and sold his entrails for souvenirs. The towns people who attended the lynchings would often take pictures with the charred remains of the bodies of those lynched. The lynchings didn’t just apply to the men. Women and children were often lynched for disobedience. The women were often raped before they were tarred and feathered. At the time lynchings was more of a sporting event where people would take pics and send postcards to relatives if they could not attend. Understand the same traits it takes to cut open a person and burn them alive after torturing them, making it a celebratory act rather than a tragic event takes the same non-compassion, non-remorseful, non-emotional mentality to be a sociopath/psychopath.

Now here are two personalities I thought would never go together, but according to researchers they share some of the same traits. Psychopaths and CEO’s have similar attributes more than 4% higher than the population. Both CEO’s and Psychopath have no remorse, empathy and share glibness, superficial charm and manipulativeness. They also share the need for constant stimulation, high intelligence and predispositioned to boredom. Now some would easily dismiss this theory as hearsay. I ask you to think about what it takes to layoff hundreds if not thousands of loyal employees knowing this will have disastrous effects on families, communities and such. Think about the characteristics it takes to charm a boardroom of business owners to buy into your product. Think about the drive and initiative it takes to be a visionary and take a company forward. It takes a sense of uneasiness to reject assuagement when it comes to competition among other businesses. Think about the lack of empathy it takes to produce wanted results for greedy stockholders they answer to. To me I can see the correlation in the two types.

There is an ethnology in this society that not only uses the traits of psychopathology but they get rewarded with promotions, bonuses, pensions and medals in some cases. We’ve taken the worst characteristics of ourselves and incorporated them into our industrial, corporate and military industries. Unfortunately what happens to those individuals who haven’t made it to being a CEO or the person who didn’t make it to being an US recruit of the military. When you have these traits with nothing productive to use them for, you may have a void that may not  get filled until they find human targets inside a school, or other public facility. I believe the creation of these minds who ignite these mass shootings could come from same social conduct cumulative gene pool that we created in this civilization  and it is what we fear most.

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Mass shootings are becoming “The New Normal” in a desensitized, disassociated society. It has become an epidemic plague that investigators and psychologists are desperately trying to find the common denominators among the deviants responsible. I know we are becoming all too familiar with the narrative story line of the shooters. “Troubled teen/individual” “Mentally Unstable” “Anti-social” are the usual descriptions of the damnable invertebrates who with no conscious who slaughter men/women and children. Here’s the thing with me and my way of thinking!!! This year alone there have been over 250 mass shootings with a victim count of over 4 people.

According to “The Huffington Post” on average there is a mass shooting at least once a day!!!!!!!!! I’m sorry with these type of scary numbers It’s hard for me to believe that all of them share the same vignette. I want you to come along with me and think if it is possible that other common factors have equivalence. It is my theory that two other factors play a role in these killing sprees. The first one is could be these chemical dump sites over the last 100 years and the pollution our country has played a part in. The other half I want to talk about is the nullification of ethics, morals and values when its applied to the value of human life.

Ask yourself a question what are the effects of pollution? We’ve seen the physical effects of them. Contaminated beaches and shores. Oil drenched animals that were in the water during an oil spill. Our own ozone layer has also suffered and has been depleted. So much so that global warming is more a reality than ever. One thing that I haven’t seen clearly addressed is the effects on brain function during long-term exposure of these pollutants. For example nitrous oxide, a chemical known to us commonly as laughing gas. The reason this chemical is so harmful is because it is one of the chemicals responsible for the breakdown of the ozone layer. In 2009 scientists blamed nitrous oxide as the number one ozone depleting man-made chemical. My question is if this chemical has been mixing with the ozone and other harmful chemicals in the atmosphere can it be possible us breathing in these chemicals may have mind altering effects on us. More so the babies and children who are developing their immune/respiratory/skeletal/digestive systems. Too much nitric oxide in the system has been attributed to stroke and dementia according to an article in “Science Daily”. One of the stages of general anaesthesia involves euphoria, spontaneous muscle movement, hallucinations(auditory and visual). The chemical has been used as early as the 1840’s. I know it’s a stretch to say this is the single element that is the root cause of these mass shootings. To be honest I believe it’s a combination of causes and this maybe one of them…yes.

Another concern for me would be pyrethroids. You may know this chemical to be insecticides commonly. It’s used to treat vegetable, grain and fruit crops. With over 70% of the population exposed to this chemical and children are the highest threat. Little is known about the effects of these chemicals in humans. Although it has been documented that animals have shown neurological, immune and respiratory damage. An article in “Scientific American” notes a study done using urine samples from over 5,000 adults and children between 1999-2002. The results they found were 75% showed at least one trace of pyrethroid metabolites in their system. The highest concentration was with the children with concentrations 50% higher than adults. Since pyrethroids don’t breakdown easily in the air they often travel with dust and settle on areas on the home. Scientists think that since children have more mouth activity and spend a lot more time on the floor could be the reasoning why this concentration is higher for kids than adults. This chemical is also used on gardens, lawns, parks and other public places. With the unknown factor of not knowing the full effects of this chemical and other insecticides used before it we may have been inadvertently poisoning our babies for generations to come.

Pre-dating the use of pyrethroids are organophosphates. These chemicals were also used for insecticides since World War two. Even low levels of exposure can effect the nervous system. Peaches, apples, pears, grapes, green beans and other vegetables eaten by children contained organophosphates. Children can be exposed through the food, air, dust, soil and pets. Researchers have found links to impaired short-term and memory development, increased reaction time and reflexes  and worst of all mental and emotional problems with adolescents. Other long-term effects to this chemical are ADHD in children, reduced levels of testosterone and other sex hormones in males, leukemia, lymphoma even increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Could these chemicals be the silent partner in a sociopath’s mindset when they go astray and plot to kill?

Water pollution has also a left scar of immeasurable proportion on ourselves. From back in 1972 when the US congress passed the Clean Water Act because of events like the 1969 Cuyahoga River fire. Where an oil slick in the water caught fire that was polluted from decades of industrial waste. Sadly this same river caught fire multiples times for the same reasons prior to this incident. Pollutants dumped into the water was a more common practice decades ago, but the effects left waters unsuitable to swim or fish for nearly 40 years later. How about this!!! from 1988 to 1998 there has been 30,000 beach closings and advisories due to water pollution in 47 out of 50 states. Chemicals in the water rendered the fish not to be consumable for a long period of time.

Now I know that my reasoning behind my conclusions are not easily palatable due to lack of direct connection. It’s a stretch to believe that because of chemical dumping of pollution that happened decades it might reap the consequences of today’s mass shootings and their frequency. To me this is the dirty little secret not only behind sociopath and psychopaths mentality, but mental illness as a whole. If we were to connect the dots chronologically from the time of the dumping of chemicals, to the contamination in the food and water supply to the passing of the contaminants into a pregnant woman’s body, then to the child and then passing this poison onto their unborn children we have to wonder is it possible? Now I’m not making excuses for the actions of James Holmes and others like him. I am however saying we as a society are failing when we overlook the possibility that we ourselves may bear in the responsibility when someone is mentally ill. Instead of being dismissive and writing it off and say “Oh well he’s crazy, a tragedy like this was bound to happen” That to me is unforgivable. We blame the illness without asking how did they get the illness in the first place. Am I onto something or should I just shut my mouth???????? Let me know

school shootingWe have to change the culture and attitude of this country regarding the second amendment and treatment for mental illness. I just read on the news about a  twenty year old male walking into another elementary school with a assault rifle. The suspect is now in custody named Michael Brandon Hill fired over half a dozen shots at police in Atlanta. Surprisingly no one was hurt this time. Thank GOD.

Before he got capture and eventually giving up he was able to hold captive two employees of the Ronald E. McNair Discover Learning Academy. It seemed he was looking for a standoff with police instead of killing innocent teachers, staff and children. There seems to be no clear relationship with the suspect and the academy itself or any of its staff. Once the suspect was apprehended he was charged with; aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

So now the question should be raised again. How do we keep our kids safe? I think we need to change the second amendment so people with criminal and mental illness backgrounds are flagged earlier. Those individuals who own guns need a mental stability evaluation held by a psychiatrist. The evaluation should be a written and face to face meeting with the psychiatrist to examine if the person who owns the gun is likely to fall under pressure and lead themselves into a chaotic episode like the ones we’ve seen played out over the last few years. We also need cutoff access to assault rifles unless they are for the military or law enforcement with a license to carry.

Some might say no this is not the answer. The problem is not the guns or access to them but solely the individual and the problem is that the schools, malls, libraries, etc. are not secure enough. Instead of fewer guns we need more good guys with guns. To me this approach is not the answer. Definitely not in favor of teaching school staff how to carry and fire weapons. Here another tidbit there have been amendments changed in the past. In 1933 the twenty-first amendment repealed the eighteenth amendment which mandated the prohibition of alcohol nationwide.  I just brought up that fact because ratifications happen because the people want a change.

I am a firm believer though this society is becoming more and more insensible. The moral compass in this country is really askew. In addition to the shooting attempt in Georgia (Thank GOD the kids and staff are safe.) three teenagers two of which are being charged with murder in the first degree and the third teen is facing charges of accessory and firing a weapon.  Christopher Lane who lives in Australia but was visiting his girlfriend in Oklahoma was gunned down. Not because he know his killers and had an altercation. Not because he was troublemaker or anything like that. He was killed according to the statement by one of the teens because “We were bored and didn’t have anything to do. So we decided to ill somebody.”

How demented and detached from human emotion so you have to be to just randomly want to kill someone and then actually do it. The three teens James Francis Edwards (15 yrs), Chancey Allen Luna(16 yrs), and Michael Dewayne Jones(17 yrs) shot Christopher Lane in the back. How gutless are these guys? This society through glorification of violence and psychopaths, where we are desensitizing our generations with graphic sexual and horrific images daily. Lack of parenting also plays a role in this as well. These were just kids shooting this man. It wasn’t clear how the teens got a hold of the firearm, but my guess is they had access to a gun and wanted to “do something” cause they were bored. In my day if were bored in the summertime we had super soakers. Yeah we would shoot each other, but the opponent got wet not dead.

My last issue I want to have changed is the stand your ground law. There is a brilliant commercial online by the PSA that uses actual audio from the night Trayvon Martin died. The George Zimmerman trial sparked a national conversation about race, about violence with guns and about the Stand your ground law itself. Since the verdict acquitted Zimmerman the attention has been put on lawmakers in states that host this law to change, or even repeal the law. The commercial shows a young African-American boy laying lifeless on the ground. The camera then slowly shifting to another side of the screen showing other young Americans laying dead as well. Above the bodies a state would show. The states who have stand your ground laws. I think will send a powerful message to cause.

What do you think?