EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 4−“CULTURE OF A MURDERER,” OF IVAN’S NOW PUBLISHED BOOK:
DOMESTIC GENOCIDE: THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF SOCIETY.
Growing up fatherless, I often gave thought to an opportunity to address my father’s murderer with: “Was it necessary?” Unfortunately, this question I’m sure there are those who would ask of me the same. For I too have created the sort of pain my family and I have had to endure since his murder. My actions I preclude, however, from the sort that was motivated to kill my father. I’ve taken life only to keep from being devoured by the vultures that hover the deathstyle I’ve entertained in the streets. Nonetheless, I cannot exclude my contribution to Domestic Genocide.
Once, I heard an actor say, “Kill a few men and you’re a murderer. Kill a few hundred-thousand, and you’re a conqueror.” I guess it is by this definition society has come to consider me a murderer; while the likes of G.W. Bush the conqueror. Yet I can only question: Does not my violence have the agenda of the conqueror? Is not violence a simple means to empower or control a certain situation? Given the certainty of these assertions, then like the conqueror I’ve sought only to manage the threats my circumstance has set before me. For America’s afflicted communities have long since bare witness to a staggering magnitude of violence that is spreading beyond our communities onto the most unusual settings.
For instance, across the nation Sunday schools and college campuses have now included in their course curriculum “HOW TO SURVIVE A GUN ATTACK.” These violence prevention workshops unquestionably are the telltale signs of the time and what’s to come. Whereas, a niche for violence has become increasingly infectious where despair manifests. No citizen is immune. And, ironically, the only prospect of hope stems from the mind of a killer.
We already know the script set by the medical community. They have informed us that there’s no set profile—murderers come from many different racial and cultural backgrounds. What has been common amongst them? Culture of a Murderer seeks to explore and reveal the seldom spoken truth of the violent world that created them.
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Somewhere I recall having read that what we call civilization is a veneer and a very fragile one on the brink of collapse. This seemingly is an undeniable truth considering how frequent it is we flip on the evening news to hear reports of yet another Columbine, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech or some other mass killing. Even more chilling and convulsive to digest, USA Today reports “the public has grown ‘numb to [the] mounting body count.” Arguably, this is a given considering the fact that “[s]ince 1976, an average of 18 mass fatal shootings occurred yearly” on American soil.
The Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, which questionably has been recorded as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, has been the most cited. A total of 32 people were killed by lone gunman Seung Hoi Cho. In the aftermath of this catastrophe Cho would take his own life in what has become a growing trend of murder-suicide to escape emotional distress, anonymity and the outcome of a murder trial. The phenomenon is one everybody, including myself, has weighed in on. Notably, columnist Stanley Crouch chimes in with a dreadful take on the mind of a killer:
…He is the man lost or hidden by the crowd, but he will not put up with it any longer. He has decided that happiness is more important in its pain than the lives of anonymous others.
But, most of all, killing as many as possible will draw him the attention he never got, and people will, perhaps, come to “understand” the depth of his anger or how much his failure meant as it transformed itself into the acid of absolute hostility within his mortal coil.
On that, what the medical community has termed as a “narcissistic disorder” has repeatedly been played out in the media as yet another confirmation telescoping into view a psychological precursor which drew Cho and others in for the kill. Here, Crouch sarcastically questions: “Do we actually need to know or learn much more about the mind of a killer or what happened in his early life?” While he believes that we do not, I believe we do. Because, it is not as if the medical community has failed by any measure to provide us understanding as to what goes on in the mind of a killer, rather they have failed to provide us the necessary insight to comprehend the manner by which political manipulations and the contradictions that come of them operate to label one the “murderer” while the other the “conqueror.”
Moreover, there it’s a seldom spoken truth that needs to be acknowledged here considering the fact that psychologists are quick to write off the causes of violent behavior to some troubling childhood experience ( e.g., Cho’s being bullied as a child) as the primal cause for such destructive behavior. Here, they largely ignore or seldom attribute man’s mercurial nature to the fact that violence has long since been a conditional, if not arguably innate (n.b., “fight or flight”), characteristic of his social development. Therefore, its practical uses (i.e., its socio-political uses) are equally, if not exceedingly, cause for violent behaviors.
To this end, we must question as Dr. Alvin Poussaint urged us in writing some forty years ago: “What has society done to our minds?” He goes on to add:
It is an ugly fact that the American experience has taught us that… violence is a way to success and manhood. Crime data indicate that Americans value guns and other destructive weapons. The whole frontier cowboy mentality sanctions and teaches violence. Television and movie folklore reinforce the popular conception that problems can be solved by violence. It is a rare occasion when the “good guys” do not triumph over the “bad guys” either by maiming or killing them.
Americans respect violence and often will not respond to the just demands of is citizens unless they are accompanied by violence. It was only after black riots and uprisings in the streets of our cities that whites were finally willing to listen to our grievances. Consequently, some of us have come to feel that the quickest [way] to solve any problem, personal or social, is through an impulsive act of violence.
Unquestionably, violence is an ingrained feature of American life and the American psyche which cannot be easily eradicated. Thus, to detract from this fact by assigning the cause of violent behavior to some personal problem arising from psychosis is a euphemism that only allows for an escape goat. This is especially true for those who have been labeled murderers and thus befell a political pretext designed to conceal the imperfection of mankind’s mercurial nature. Because this is a social problem of greater proportion beyond the scope of the individual act, if, and were this fact ever to become unequivocally clear, it will shatter that veneer we call civilization and bring about its collapse. This is so because to acknowledge the foregoing as truth would invite chaos were those political and moral manipulations, which strive to distinguish the murderer from the conqueror, became transparent.
Considering the fact that society’s education and morality (i.e., its training) are political products (Chapter 5—The Unorthodox Teacher), they are lead away from exploring such a fact—arguably so for the sake of mankind. Therefore, they are lead to focus instead on the distractions, the trivial aspects of behavior and social background of those like Cho who, for example, as a child and teen was left to the vices of being coy and submissive when challenged by the more aggressive children. Here, the manner to which his background has been exploited by academics to explain his actions serves to illustrate just how society has been distracted from making the aforementioned discovery. Now society has been hoodwinked to accept bullying as a social cause that may affect one in ways which later in life produce violent behavior.
Here, I must digress to say I do not necessarily mean to detract from the theory that bullying or any other abuse may be damning in affect. Indeed, it is challenging and can potentially leave a child scarred for life. They have been teased, beaten, and pushed around at a primal stage of social development. While unquestionably devastating to a healthy self-image, especially for the shy, I can only doubt whether these intrusions are of the magnitude which cause the murdering of 32 innocent people. My reservations here are not made in vain, because I too was a shy kid and subject to this sort of treatment. And I’m sure there are many others reading this that went through the same thing and did not grow up to be mass murderers.
Though I fought back, it seemed as if a never-ending battle getting rat-packed by my New Lima classmates. It is difficult, even as I write this at age 39, to grasp the fact that as early as fifth grade it was on-and-crackin’. Because I never ran or reported these incidents to authorities, I took one bruising after another. I felt desolate and only wanted to be accepted by my peers. Their rejection would indeed serve to prompt me to question my self-worth. However, despite all this, I never thought of taking the lives of innocent others.
There was no psychosis, narcissism, or a paranoid view of the world either. Nor did I suffer the conscious belief I was a victim. I guess what psychologist would like for us to believe is, because Cho was bullied and obviously suffered some lack of celebrity considering he sent photographs and videotapes of himself to NBC before going on a shooting rampage—he met all the makers of a lunatic? If that be the case then what of Hitler, G.W. Bush or other American presidents and world leaders who have paraded themselves before cameras before going-on-one. Needless to say, all of them have been said to have suffered from these very same mental disorders. Better yet, where did Cho get the notion that violence was the cure-all to his problems if not from the violent world before him?
And to think that Cho and those of the like have been credited for Americans having grown numb to the mounting body count? Please! What then of the affect of the millions of Africans slain during America’s infamous slave trade? Or the 1800 or so Black Americans lynched during the Jim Crow era. That’s not mention the genocide of Native Americans or that to which America has sponsored the world over.
Yet and still, each time such tragedy occurs America scrambles about hopelessly to find impossible methods to prevent the next catastrophe from happening or looks to someone to blame. For instance, they faulted Virginia Tech for not locking the school down at first sign of trouble. But did that solution prevent the January 2012 double homicide at that campus? They even faulted the judge who recommended that Cho receive outpatient treatment rather than being involuntarily hospitalized. The implication being: Those citizens who suffer from the slightest sign of mental distress or illness should be locked away. Here, I cannot help but compare this reasoning with the hysteria that befell Europe during the Middle Ages. During this period an estimated eight million people were burned alive, hanged, or otherwise put to death for being a little off their rocker. Then there are the advocates for stricter gun laws who never fail to capitalize on these ordeals by faulting legistators’ refusal to enact tougher gun laws. Did the law prevent those kids at Columbine from getting their hands on weapons? Better yet, do countries like Mexico, where gun possession is illegal, or the District of Columbia for that matter, prevent cartel and street gang gun violence by banning the sale of firearms?
All this, yet and still, the medical community remains adamant to admit the violent world we live in plays a far greater role in the shaping of violent behavior opposed to any prognosis of mental disorder. I can only wonder if this denial, this so-called doctoring of the mind, is all done in an effort to market and promote the sale of their services. When considering their conclusions are largely absent of the fact that the world we live in has always been and possibly always will be controlled by either threats of or actual violence, then it is not too far fetched to conclude that they are doing just that—selling their services! For the very fact that it is the violent and often abusive encounters and projections of the world that induce such mental disorder—unquestionably, speaks to the point in context.
Thus, I do not care how many reports or studies are made about what causes and prevents violence; what sort of conditions promote it; who is more likely to commit it—the fact of the matter is, we can analyze it, categorize it, medicate, punish, execute, and attempt to restrain it with other measures, but at the end of the day, despite having done all this, if we continue to allow ourselves to be misled by these so-called professionals we will never get around to dealing with the reality we have created which sanctions violence as the socio-political resolve to all our problems. That said, the world will continue to see the child who is born only to become the next Cho, Adam Lanza, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.