By Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam
11 October 2017
In Las Vegas on 1 October 2017, it appears
that one man (although it might have been more) killed 59 people and shot and
injured another 241 (with almost 300 more injured while fleeing). The incident
got a lot of publicity, partly because the man managed to kill more people than
most mass killers. However, because the killer was a white American and had a
Christian name, he was not immediately labelled a terrorist, even though his
death toll considerably exceeded that achieved in many ‘terrorist attacks’,
including those that occur in war zones (such as US drone murders of innocent
people attending weddings).
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there
is now an average of one mass shooting (arbitrarily defined by the FBI as a
shooting in which at least four victims are shot) each day in the USA. By any
measure, this is a national crisis.
However, while there has been a flood of
commentary on the incident, including suggestions about what might be done in
response based on a variety of analyses of the cause, none that I have read
explain the underlying cause of all these mass killings. And if we do not
understand this, then any other suggestions, whatever their apparent merits,
can have little impact.
The suggestions made so far in response to
this massacre include the following:
1. Making it much more difficult, perhaps even illegal, to own a gun.
2. Drastically reducing the prescription of pharmaceutical drugs
(which are almost invariably being consumed by the killer). See ‘Drugs and Guns
Don’t Mix: Medication Madness, Military Madness and the Las Vegas Mass
3. Recognising and addressing the sociological factors implicated in causing
the violence. See ‘violence is driven by socioeconomic factors, not access to
firearms’ argued in ‘Another Mass Shooting, Another Grab for Guns: 6 Gun Facts’
and ‘a deep sickness in American society’ argued in ‘The social pathology of
the Las Vegas Massacre’.
4. Identifying whether or not the killer had ideological/religious
links to a terrorist group (in this case ISIS, as claimed by some). See, for
example, ‘ISIS Releases Infographic Claiming Las Vegas Gunman Converted 6
5. Identifying and remedying the ways in which constitutional
provisions and laws facilitate such massacres. See ‘Las Vegas Massacre Proves
2nd Amendment Must be Abolished’.
6. Recognizing the way in which these incidents are encouraged by
national elites and are sometimes, in fact, false flag attacks used as a means
to justify the consolidation of elite social control (through such measures as
increased state surveillance and new restrictions on human rights).
7. Limiting the ways in which violence, especially military violence,
is used as entertainment and education, and thus culturally glorified in ways
that encourage imitation. See ‘People Don’t Kill People, Americans Kill
However, as indicated above, while these
and other suggestions, including certain educational initiatives, sound
attractive as options for possibly preventing/mitigating some incidents in
future, they do not address the cause of violence in this or any other context
and so widespread violence both in the United States and around the world will
So Why Does Someone Become A Mass
Human socialization is essentially a
process of inflicting phenomenal violence on children until they think and
behave as the key adults – particularly their parents, teachers and religious
figures – around them want, irrespective of the functionality of this thought
and behaviour in evolutionary terms. This is because virtually all adults
prioritize obedience over all other possible behaviours and they delusionarily
believe that they ‘know better’ than the child.
The idea that each child is the only one of
their kind in all of living creation in Earth’s history and, therefore, has a
unique destiny to fulfil, never even enters their mind. So, instead of
nurturing that unique destiny so that the child fully becomes the unique Self
that evolution created, adults terrorize each child into becoming just another
more-or-less identical cog in the giant machine called ‘human society’.
Before I go any further, you might wonder
if the expression ‘phenomenal violence?’ isn’t too strong. So let me explain.
From the moment of birth, human adults
inflict violence on the child. This violence occurs in three categories:
visible, ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’. Visible violence is readily
identified: it is the (usually) physical violence that occurs when someone is
hit (with a hand or weapon), kicked, shaken, held down or punished in any other
way. See ‘Punishment is Violent and Counterproductive’.
But what is this ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly
invisible’ violence that is inflicted on us mercilessly, and has a profoundly
damaging impact, from the day we are born?
In essence, ‘invisible’ violence is the
‘little things’ we do every day, partly because we are just ‘too busy’. For
example, when we do not allow time to listen to, and value, a child’s thoughts
and feelings, the child learns to not listen to them Self thus destroying their
internal communication system. When we do not let a child say what they want
(or ignore them when they do), the child develops communication and behavioural
dysfunctionalities as they keep trying to meet their own needs (which, as a
basic survival strategy, they are genetically programmed to do).
When we blame, condemn, insult, mock,
embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, goad, guilt-trip, deceive, lie to, bribe,
blackmail, moralize with and/or judge a child, we both undermine their sense of
Self-worth and teach them to blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame,
humiliate, taunt, goad, guilt-trip, deceive, lie, bribe, blackmail, moralize
The fundamental outcome of being bombarded
throughout their childhood by this ‘invisible’ violence is that the child is
utterly overwhelmed by feelings of fear, pain, anger and sadness (among many
others). However, parents, teachers and other adults also actively interfere
with the expression of these feelings and the behavioural responses that are
naturally generated by them and it is this ‘utterly invisible’ violence that
explains why the dysfunctional behavioural outcomes actually occur.
For example, by ignoring a child when they
express their feelings, by comforting, reassuring or distracting a child when
they express their feelings, by laughing at or ridiculing their feelings, by
terrorizing a child into not expressing their feelings (e.g. by screaming at
them when they cry or get angry), and/or by violently controlling a behaviour
that is generated by their feelings (e.g. by hitting them, restraining them or
locking them into a room), the child has no choice but to unconsciously
suppress their awareness of these feelings.
However, once a child has been terrorized
into suppressing their awareness of their feelings (rather than being allowed
to have their feelings and to act on them) the child has also unconsciously
suppressed their awareness of the reality that caused these feelings. This has
many outcomes that are disastrous for the individual, for society and for
nature because the individual will now easily suppress their awareness of the
feelings that would tell them how to act most functionally in any given
circumstance and they will progressively acquire a phenomenal variety of
dysfunctional behaviours, including many that are violent towards themselves,
others and/or the Earth.
Moreover, this emotional (or psychological)
damage will lead to a unique combination of violent behaviours in each case
and, depending on the precise combination of violence to which they are
subjected, some of them will become what I call ‘archetype perpetrators of
violence’; that is, people so emotionally damaged that they end up completely
devoid of a Self and with a psychological profile similar to Hitler’s.
These archetype perpetrators of violence
are all terrified, self-hating and powerless but, in fact, they have
23identifiable psychological characteristics constituting their ‘personality’.
For a full explanation of this particular psychological profile, see ‘Why
Violence? ‘and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and
Practice’. Of course, few perpetrators of violence fit the archetype, but all perpetrators
are full of (suppressed) terror, self-hatred and powerlessness and this is
fundamental to understanding their violence as explained in ‘Why Violence?’
Rather than elaborate further in this
article why these perpetrators behave as they do (which you can read on the
documents just mentioned), let me explain why the suggestions made by others
above in relation to gun and drug control, socioeconomic factors,
ideological/religious connections, constitutional and legal shortcomings,
resisting efforts to consolidate elite social control, and revised education
and entertainment programs can have little impact if undertaken in isolation
from the primary suggestion I will make below.
Once someone is so emotionally damaged that
they are effectively devoid of the Self that should have defined their unique
personality, then they will be the endless victim of whatever violence is
directed at them. This simply means that they will have negligible capacity to
deal powerfully with any difficult life circumstances and personal problems
(and, for example, to resist doctors prescribing pharmaceutical drugs), they
will be gullibly influenced by violent ideologies, education and entertainment,
and they will have virtually no capacity to work creatively to resolve the conflicts
(both personal and structural) in their life but will do what was modelled to
them as a child in any effort to do so: use violence.
And by now you have probably realized that
I am not just talking about the mass killers that I started discussing at the
beginning of this article. I am also talking about the real mass killers: those
politicians, military leaders and weapons corporation executives, and all those
other corporate executives, who inflict mass violence on life itself, as well
as those others, such as academics and those working in corporate media
outlets, that support and justify this violence. This includes, to specify just
one obvious example, all of those US Senators and Congress people who resist
implementing gun control laws. See ‘Thoughts and Prayers and N.R.A. Funding’.
In essence then, if the child suffers
enough of this visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence, they will
grow up devoid of the Selfhood – including the love, compassion, empathy,
morality and integrity – that is their birthright and the foundation of their
capacity to behave powerfully in all contexts without the use of violence.
Instead, they will become a perpetrator of
violence, to a greater or lesser extent, and may even seek employment in those
positions that encourage them to support and/or inflict violence legally, such
as a police or prison officer, a lawyer or judge – see ‘The Rule of Law: Unjust
and Violent’– a soldier who fights in war or a Congressperson who supports it,
or even an employee in a corporation that profits from violence and
exploitation. See ‘Profit Maximization is Easy: Invest in Violence’.
In addition, most individuals will inflict
violence on the climate and environment, all will inflict violence on children,
and some will inflict violence in those few ways that are actually defined as
‘illegal’, such as mass killings.
But if we don’t see the mass killers as the
logical, if occasional, outcome of (unconsciously) violent parenting, then we
will never even begin to address the problem at its source. And we are
condemned to suffer violence, in all of its manifestations, until we inevitably
drive ourselves to extinction through nuclear war or climate/environmental
If you are looking for a lead on this from
political leaders, you are wasting your time. Similarly, there are precious few
professionals, particularly in the medical and psychiatric industries – see
‘Defeating the Violence of Psychiatry’ – who have any idea how to respond
meaningfully (assuming they even have an interest in doing so). So why not be
your own judge and consider making ‘My Promise to Children’?
In addition, if further reducing the
violence in our world appeals to you, then you are also welcome to consider
participating in the creation of communities that do not have violence built
into them – see ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’– signing the
online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ and/or
consider using the strategic framework on one or the other of these two
websites for your campaign to end violence in one context or another:
Nonviolent Campaign Strategy and Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy.
In summary then: For the typical human
adult, it is better to endlessly inflict violence on a child to coerce them to
obey. Of course, once the child has been terrorized into this unthinking
obedience, they won’t just obey the parents and teachers (secular and
religious) who terrorized them: they will also obey anyone else who orders them
to do something. This will include governments, military officers and terrorist
leaders who order them to kill (or pay taxes to kill) people they do not know
in foreign countries, employers who order them to submit to the exploitation of
themselves and others, not to mention a vast array of other influences
(particularly corporations) who will have little trouble manipulating them into
behaving unethically and without question (even regarding consumer purchases).
Or, to put it another way: For the typical
human adult, it is better to endlessly inflict violence on a child to coerce
them to obey and to then watch the end-products of this violence – obedient,
submissive children who are powerless to question their parents and teachers,
resist the entreaties of drug pushers, and critique the propaganda of
governments, corporations and the military as well as the media, education and
entertainment industries – spiral endlessly out of control: wars, massive
exploitation, ecological destruction, slavery, mass killings…. And to then
For these terrorized humans, cowardly
powerlessness is the state they have been trained to accept, while taking
whatever material distractions are thrown their way as compensation. So they
pass on this state to their children by terrorizing them into submission too.
Powerfully accepting responsibility to fulfil their own unique destiny, and
serve society by doing so, is beyond them.
The great tragedy of human life is that
virtually no-one values the awesome power of the individual Self with an
integrated mind (that is, a mind in which memory, thoughts, feelings, sensing,
conscience and other functions work together in an integrated way) because this
individual will be decisive in choosing life-enhancing behavioural options
(including those at variance with social laws and norms) and will fearlessly
resist all efforts to control or coerce them with violence.
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending
human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to
understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist
since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is
email@example.com and his website is here.
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