Police Psychology | It Isn’t All About Islam
by Geoff Dean, Ph.D. (Australia) and Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. (U.S.A.)
What causes people to shoot up a gay nightclub? Or, shoot up a holiday party of co-workers or drive a truck into the middle of a crowd celebrating independence day killing a lot of children? Or shoot innocent people going to work or attending college classes. We want to believe it is the Islamic faith and gaining the love of virgins in the afterlife. Not quite that simple.
AS MOST THINGS IN LIFE, MASS MURDERS ARE A COMBINATION OF A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT FACTORS. Some of them are through the filter of mental illness. He was described as unhinged and unstable. His reality is going to be very different from a normal person because of his mental illness. Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, was a steroid user, abusive and secretly gay. Many mass killers have at least some mental health issue, were damaged when they were younger, or are desperate enough to sacrifice themselves to make an impact in a world they will never see. Their view of the world is skewed, affected by their mental state. Add to that some of the propaganda set forth by groups like ISIS. The murderer may be open to different interpretations of the world, even though it is not so bad for him. Extreme thinking is not too far for Omar to go as he swore vengeance on Americans because of airstrikes in Libya and Iraq. The guy who drove the truck into a crowd of civilians in Nice, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhel, was seriously depressed and lonely, and this stimulated him to have a different filter for his perceptions. What is important is that filter for the perceptions forms their interpretation of the world, and the extremeness that they think they face in their daily life. It determines the belief system they use to organize their world. It determines the perceptions of the world as a terrible place, and justifies terrible acts like mass murder. How are these perceptions formed? (more…)