The Disease of Our Times

There’s an interesting article in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, “The ‘Pseudocommando’ Mass Murderer: Part I, The Psychology of Revenge and Obliteration” that has some relevance to the events of the last several days. Here’s a bit from the abstract:

The pseudocommando is a type of mass murderer who kills in public during the daytime, plans his offense well in advance, and comes prepared with a powerful arsenal of weapons. He has no escape planned and expects to be killed during the incident. Research suggests that the pseudocommando is driven by strong feelings of anger and resentment, flowing from beliefs about being persecuted or grossly mistreated. He views himself as carrying out a highly personal agenda of payback. Some mass murderers take special steps to send a final communication to the public or news media; these communications, to date, have received little detailed analysis.

It’s been said that each age has a characteristic psychological malady. So, in the Middle Ages that malady was hysteria and in the 19th century depression. If we have a psychological malady that characterizes our own age, it may well be narcissism, the disorder that contributes to “pseudocommando” mass murderers.

206 comments… add one
  • A truly profound form of “anomie”?

  • PD Shaw

    Sounds like muckers:

    “Mucker” is a word coined by the science fiction writer John Brunner in his great novel Stand on Zanzibar. The word derives from “amok,” which will require a bit of history. It is a Malay word, and a person who goes violently insane, rushing through the village and murderously attacking everyone in his path, is said to have “run amok.” In what was an egregiously idiotic statement, even for him, the eminent French critic Georges Bataille called running amok the purest manifestation of revolt, “the movement by which man rises up against his own condition and the whole of creation.” (Bataille never ran through the streets of Montparnasse madly slashing with a kris, so he either lacked the courage of his convictions or was a hypocrite with a small – a very small – modicum of brains.) The Malays, inevitably, were and are more sensible: they kill those who run amok.

    A “mucker,” then, is someone who runs amok; the times havin’ a-changed, now they use guns. As always, they are people driven to murderous madness by intolerable frustration, repression and conformity, whether in an isolated kampong or the Postal Service. So far muckers seem to have been mostly Americans, but just the other day the radio carried news of one in Germany.

    Armed Liberal

  • michael reynolds

    I’ll buy narcissism as the mental disease of our age. I think it’s intertwined with the concepts of “cool” and the reduction of humans to consumers, and is connected to a move away from spirituality or intellectualism and toward the most narrow and brutish versions of short-horizon self-interest.

  • @michael

    I guess it could account for this bizarro sense of entitlement I’m seeing so frequently in the next generation. But where did it come from?

  • Connected to the basest human impulses of selfishness and greed. And not one of the kids I’m referencing was anywhere near deprived.

  • Tomorrow’s Christmas festivity will be the Christmas program at the First Baptist Church in Natchez. They’ve a large and capable choir.

  • Andy

    Which generation Janis? I think it started with the boomers. I’d like to say my generation is different, but I can’t.

  • The parents I’m thinking of would be Boomers, but all of them have a clear-eyed view of what it takes to live. Their children have gone off the rails, regardless of their rearing.

    I’m including my husband’s here. He was the Boomer par excellence — September 1946.

  • Often, you’ll find one perfectly fine child and one rotter in the same family.

    Moral degenerates of the worst kinds.

  • Michael inherited a half million dollars and wanted to mooch off his stepmother.

  • Or assets worth that. Not cash.

  • We must have spent $40,000 on legal bills for that snotwad. Drugs, mainly.

  • Not to mention the $20,000 car that was confiscated.

  • Or the $4500 one that he trashed.

  • He’s gonna blow through his inheritance like a lottery winner. He was already making plans to take a loan against his bank stock to open a restaurant, of all things.

    Hell, he can’t handle five days a week as a bartender.

  • I frequently did six.

  • i was hired off the barroom floor by the telecom co. in the same building.

  • I could speak proper, plain English. They thought I’d be a good technical writer.

  • They liked my work. Plus I made 100 on their basic engineering test. It was open book, for goodness’ sake.

  • I documented their modeler. The program was written in (gulp) FORTRAN.

  • So I don’t care for pissants.

  • And you’re obviously not one of those, Andy.

  • And your wife sure ain’t.

  • So where does it come from?

  • (A little more time, and Sam the Indian near PhD would have taught me FORTRAN, too. He taught the other woman who worked with him. The company was sold to General Telecom in Kansas, and we all went in different directions. Eventually became Sprint.)

  • Sam and I were great friends, never lovers. He loved the other woman who worked with him. She was married, though.

  • To an Eidt. They were married in New Orleans. Ed and Mary Eidt built the house next door.

  • That was Cos on the phone, she’s stuck worrying about her 27-old-year grandson, a meth addict. He’s in rehab.

    His best friend just blew his brains out last night. Worth $200,000, from a settlement from his father’s death.

  • Poor woman’s a 75-year-old widow. Her husband died at 65, too, 11 years ago. My husband’s best friend.

    The Grey is named after him.

    Where is that boy’s father in all this? Why is Cos having to shoulder that burden?

  • Little ratf***s.

  • That boy’s brother is a little slow, but good as gold.

  • I don’t understand.

  • I still think following the commandments, all eleven of them, is the best prescription for a decent life.

  • You don’t even have to call yourself a Christian.

  • I found a knifeblock of Chicago Cutlery for $25 at Walmart today.

    I bought that for the Stewpot, too. I’ve been concerned about storage.

  • They don’t have bolsters, so they’ll sharpen better.

    Next year I plan to give them a Chef’s Choice knife sharpener.

  • And time is getting on, I need to go ahead and volunteer again for prep.

  • Not having to drive to Houston released a little money.

  • And that’s your Joyce for today.

  • I suppose I could sew them a knife roll.

  • I have yards of upholstery fabric.

  • I might be French-Irish, but I have a German sense of order.

    I need to do that DNA deal.

  • TastyBits

    @Janis Gore

    Morals are one of the things that distinguish humans from animals. Morals are not natural, and a moral system must always be maintained to keep it from devolving. In nature, structure devolves into chaos without any external influence.

    When the underpinnings of a moral system are compromised, the system will begin to crumble. Since a moral system is unnatural, the underpinnings are always faith based, but this faith does not need to be religious based.

    Morals are a list of proscribed behaviors, and the list must be maintained and enforced. As a society becomes more affluent, morals become detached from the underpinnings, and the importance of their enforcement is forgotten. The result is decadence.

    This is why being told “no” is important. This also why “because I said so” is a valid response to “why?”

  • To further your thoughts, TB, I think the eleventh commandment is misstated, it should be:

    “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

    Justice will come.

  • And it ain’t pretty, if you haven’t lived well.

  • It ain’t pretty, even if you’ve tried.

  • Michael said, “What are you gonna do in this big house, alone?

    I said, “Enjoy it.”

  • It’s only 2100 sq. ft. for God’s sake.

  • Personally, when people live together, I think they need about a 1000 sq. ft . per.

  • And that’s when you’re intimate.

  • I like some space.

  • I honestly think he thought he’d have me.

  • Stupid bastard.

  • Honor your father.

  • I told him and the congregation that, too.

  • The Church of Aged Whores and Derelict Alcoholics.

  • We loved each other.

  • “Cleave unto your husband. Cleave unto your wife.”

  • That’s why I don’t like the Catholic Church, per se.

  • I am catholic.

  • A Christian mystic.

  • This has been going on for more years than I can count.

  • The Alpha and the Omega.

  • So, how are the kids?

  • The damn toilet in the master still isn’t working right.

  • Men are such fools.

  • So take up the yin-yang suckers.

  • Is that good enough, Mr. Dave?

  • TastyBits

    You just think you have plumbing problems.

    The money I was saving for windows or floors will be going to fix under slab broken pipes. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.

  • My Merlin.

  • My loves.

  • I’m so sorry TB. I think I just might need to make an adjustment.

  • Frickin’ Mayan calendar.

  • Led to all kind of stupidity.

  • Twits.

  • So, how are you going celibrate Christmas? I think I’ll start the first fire of the year. And watch the flames.

  • I’ll be eating with my brother. He plans to have Bingo Starr cater.

  • TastyBits

    We can use the back bathroom. The roof is not leaking. The bills are paid, and I am almost back on my feet financially. It could be a lot worse.

    I have Toto toilets in both bathrooms. They work great when the plumbing is not acting up, but they are not cheap.

  • Phht. Mormons.

  • Peg got a Toto in her house. She really liked it.

  • My tacky ones are from 1962. I sort of like them, though.

  • I tell you, those South Louisiana boys have great charm.

  • My boy was central.

  • It’s all that easy, Master Dave.

  • You’re a lucky man. You love the Mrs.

  • Whatev.

  • I’m your Galactic cowgirl. Your outrider.

  • Isn’t that fun?

  • TastyBits

    Keep those ’62 toilets. One flush is all they need.

  • Admit it, you always wanted a daughter.

  • Didn’t think she’d look like though, did you?

  • My typing sucks.

  • The pharmacist is married to man that does bathrooms. Top-notch. I had him come to here to look at the doors on the tubs. They glide well, and have some hard water stains, but he said to leave the bathrooms alone.

  • Always ask experts.

  • “Who,” of course.

  • “Funny Girl.”

  • But I don’t do Streisand. I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

  • My husband was pretty good.

  • And the beat goes on.

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