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Thursday, 2 April 2015

Germanwings flight 4U9525: suicide OR mass murder, including suicide ??

To be honest with you, I have been flabbergasted by the media, describing a plane crash with 150 deaths as a suicide mission by its co-pilot. It doesn't make any sense to me. Finding examples of documented suicides that turn into mass murder is like searching for a needle in a hay stack. Such ignorance even makes you wonder about the quality or reliability of any other information.

Depression is now used to label this event as a suicide. Depression does not turn someone into a mass murderer. "Even doctors invoke “depression” to explain anything a reasonable adult would not do. For instance: Act completely blasé, then lock the pilot out of the cockpit, and deliberately crash a plane full of people. I don’t know what that is, but it’s not depression". Source: Slate.

Terrorists typically have political or religious motives and these acts of violence are usually claimed for by their organisations. Clearly, that is not the case here. That leaves mass murder.

Psychologytoday states that there are many different types of motive for mass murder, ranging from revenge to despair, to free-floating rage at the world. And also: "pressure to identify a simple reason is a mistake. A motive for planned violence of this magnitude generally simmers for a while, absorbing support from multiple sources until it reaches the boiling point. If we want perspective that could help us understand and prevent, we’ll need to be patient. It’s unlikely that immediate post-incident observations will be definitive."

site for profiling mass murderers gave me a lot of useful information and leads me to conclude that the co-pilot was a disgruntled employee taking revenge on his employer. According to FBI data, about 20 mass murders occur every year. The rate is not increasing or decreasing. In fact, it is one of the most stable crime rates among all types of crime. No society, no city, no culture, and no country may claim a special immunity from their occurrence.

The collection of general statistics and characteristics about mass murderers is informative. We find that the mass murderer is almost always male, almost always White, and is in his 20's or 30's. He loves weapons, particularly guns, is a loner with no friends and few acquaintances, may be a drifter with no responsibilities, and probably has no criminal record or any lengthy history of mental treatment. (Source: same as above)

Five types of mass murderers have been identified: disciple, annihilator, disgruntled employee, pseudo commando, and set and run killer. The disgruntled employee is often a former employee or someone about to lose their job. They are sometimes on medical or mental disability leave. They appear to enter and move around the workplace with a target in mind, but they almost always kill randomly and indiscriminately as they wander about. Often, this type has been a long-term employee, but it can be a new employee too. It's believed they are lashing out at some perceived unfairness, although lax management can be just as much involved as strict management. (Source: same)

Perhaps this event was labeled as suicide as we Europeans still view mass murder as a typical US phenomenon (see my earlier January 18 blog) and we are afraid that labeling this event as a mass murder may cause others to plan similar actions. Please don't patronise us!