By Hakim Hazim
Doctor: And where do you live Simon? Simon (demon within offender patient May Hobbes): I live in the weak and wounded… doc.” Excerpt from the movie Session 9.
I often reflect on the fictional entity Simon—in the movie above, Session 9, when dealing with or studying violent offenders and criminality. Simon was an evil entity that attached itself to weak and wounded individuals—eventually taking them over entirely and compelling them to kill.
Let me state for the record that as a Black man and a Christian, I believe in evil and a devil as surely as I do in Christ and angels. Let me also be clear in this regard, people don’t need the help of dark forces to kill. It’s already in our nature. To spiritualize everything would be a mistake and bad theology.
Dylan Roof found a cause. He thought about it; embraced it and shocked the world. This craving for attention was simply manifested in the quickest way to headlines – violence. I refuse to make this solely about race. It is true he hated Blacks. It’s also true he is a terrorist and evil predator who found a cause.
Dylan is just one more case of a deviant, young lethal mind with the means and motives to carry out his mission. Their number is increasing, and this is much bigger than a race issue. Here’s why.
Homicidal folks are able to tell us why they chose their course action and often do. Our current explanations don’t match the diverse profiles of those who engage in these binges whether here in the states or abroad.
The mentally ill Cho Seung-Hui of Virginia Tech left us his rambling reasons about the wealth and indifference of society, and former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner followed suit in a diatribe about injustice and racism. Madman Anders Breivik of Norway was calling Europe back to its racially pure heritage. Their desire did not need to be unmasked; they clearly told us why. (Although Sandy Hook perpetrator Adam Lanza gave no reason for his sadistic actions, but it is clear he wanted to leave a statement and be remembered.)
We should also remember the Santa Barbara Killer, Elliot Rodger and his obsession with women and his hatred toward Black males. For these offenders, violence was the public vehicle to call attention to their arrival and the twisted views the publicized, hoping to imprint their image on public consciousness into the foreseeable future.
Recognition deviant killers feed off public spectacles of bloodshed. They seek to engage in acts that simultaneously traumatize and mesmerize viewers—us, while seeking to inspire or recruit those of a similar bent mind. As it is with all scientific inquiry, we now look for repeatable observable phenomena that will yield answers to the spike in mass murderers.
We should use these crises as opportunities to channel public outrage toward real solutions. The political, racial, and emotional dialogue that leads to finger pointing about the root causes of violence must be replaced with research driven approaches. Social science already reveals some answers and we need to heed the data.
There are lethal minds among us that commit these types of crimes and the majority of the participants are young, alienated, troubled males. They are “wounded and weak” on many levels. We should start there. We need honest analysis.
Often in crises it brings out our best and brightest, but it also brings out all types sycophants and their hidden agendas. We have to guard against this, or every crisis that befalls us will be hijacked by irrational solutions. My hope is common sense and research will prevail.
Hakim Hazim is the founder of Relevant Now and co-founder of Freedom Squared. He is a nationally recognized expert in decision analysis, criminality and security.