Friday, 31 May 2013

Metamorphosis

Take a regular guy, unassuming and liked by all. His friends portray him as friendly, respectful and polite, far from the angry troublemaker, hotheaded rebel or sinister outsider. The kind of person who is from a good family, did well at school and held down a decent job for years. We all know someone like that.
 
Along the way 'something' happens to those young people that produces adults that I find absolutely chilling.
 
'Something' that turned the guy those people knew into a man with blood-soaked hands, holding a meat-cleaver and knife in the headlines last week. I'm talking, of course, about Michael Adebowale, alleged murderer of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, whose body had to be identifed by dental records. People say that Michael Adebowale was 'radicalised' - but what does that actually mean?
 
So how about Ariel Castro - the man responsible for keeping captive, Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight for over 10 years? Was he radicalised too? He was another normal member of his community even having the audacity to invite friends over for a beer claiming the noises they heard were dogs in the attic, when in fact it was the victims trying to escape. Ariel Castro gave money towards the search for one of the girls he himself had kidnapped. On another occasion he attended a vigil for a girl and stood with the grieving family knowing that a few hundred yards away she was huddled up and chained in his own basement. Those who knew him also gave him a glowing report. 
Many times there is nothing in a person's past that raises alarm bells as to what they might do in the future.
 
Is there some sort of a metamorphoses that takes place, or is it just the matter of them revealing who they really were all along, flashing their true colours after many years?
 
Sometimes we are so busy being focused on the bad guys that we're not concentrating on the so-called 'good guys'.
 
Now I ask you:
•    Can someone explain what radicalisation really is?
•    Have you ever been horrified to find out a person you thought you knew for years was something completely different? If so, can you share what happened?
•    Do you think it's possible to prevent this sort of thing happening if you intervene at an early enough stage?

I'd love to hear your comments, views and opinions on this.

79 comments:

  1. I think it shows that a persons mind is not always visible from the outside. Someone outwardly can look sane and calm but inwardly they can be crazy.

    People are always willing to say there is some good in everyone, but I think the same can be said about evil.

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    1. Sometimes the outward appearance in regards to how we behave can betray signs that something is wrong on the inside but not always - and this is where I get stuck, because without intervention anything can happen. Thanks The Anonymous Blogger.

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  3. I've had my theories about people like these, for some time now...

    I believe that it's not something that suddenly, or 'just', happens, to these people. I believe it is already there, present. From their very early ages, but goes unnoticed for some reason, and therefore lays quite dormant, until something triggers it....

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    1. You've got a good point Ziva. At times it can be a trigger that sets the ball rolling, but based upon something already present inside that person. Thanks for commenting.

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  4. You can raise a child in a normal and loving environment and give them all that you can, and they STILL turn out to be a monster. In cases like that, I think it is a genetic thing---a psychopath who has learned to mask the ugliness inside. Many psychopaths are very charming people in public--they have a large social group and seem to fit in well with others. But no one knows what is hidden underneath. And then there are those poor souls who have fine genetic backgrounds but they are horribly abused throughout life and something snaps in the brain--they become like wild, blood-thirsty animals. Fortunately I have never knowingly crossed paths with anyone like this and I hope I never do. Very chilling but well written post, RPD!

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    1. I completely agree with that opening statement Meno Mama. Society always frantically searches for someone to put the blame on, besides the perpetrator themselves. Usually parents. But sometimes they were good parents, and the unthinkable still happened.

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    2. Menopausal Mama, I get your gist in what you are saying here. I am very familiar with how a true narcissist (a condition closely related to the psychopath) behaves and to everyone on the outside they are nice, welcoming, social people who could do no wrong, but to everyone else in the inner circle, usually the immediate family, these people are simply very dangerous indeed. I have first hand experience and that's another story. I'm still thinking if it is a genetic thing or a learned thing. Always good to hear from you Menopausal Mama.

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    3. Spot on Black Sheep Mom. There are parents who do everything they need to do as good parents but yet their children steal, kill, rape, rob and murder. There is a point when you have to say that it's not due to how you raised your child, but it's due to the choices your child made. It's not always the parent's fault.

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  5. People change . Only change is permanent. We all change. Do you like same things which you used to like 5 years ago ? While changing sometimes we embrace bad things and sometimes we change into a good person. May be Michael was a good person when he was young but later he changed under whatever circumstances. I just want to say that may be people show their true colors. Although colors may keep changing.

    Love,
    Shainee
    apieceofshe.blogspot.com

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    1. We can change as time goes on and sometimes it's for the better and sometimes it's for the worse. Perhaps it is possible for a person to go from good to evil, or vice-versa. All we may have is a snapshot of that person during a particular moment of their journey which may not be enough for us to be able to predict their future actions. Thanks Shainee.

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  6. Its a difficult topic. A crazy world we are living in. But, although, there are people that are doing great for humanity. We just have to contribute with what we can and what we have for a better world.

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    1. Yes, we all want a better world, but what can we do to help those that might be wanting to harm us right now? How do we intervene to stop bad things happening now because next time it could be you or me or our loved ones that are in the firing line? Thanks Joy.

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  7. This is the ancient game between Good and Evil. We think we know them enough to separate one from other. Reality has show us we are wrong.

    As it is coming from so long ago, we have not knowledge of their source.

    The most ancient witnesses of Human History mention their existence and you can find as many explanation as religion, sects, secret societies, and communities exist on Earth.

    Most of the time these people who commit "Evil", are following paths that society in general has decided to be erroneous.

    Again the see-saw play of ethic-mores. We as a group decide what is good and what isn't based in the welfare of most of us, then assign each one of these acts, thoughts, and deed a place in our 'better' understanding.

    For strange it may sound, we really do not know what is this game about. We only decide that following a sequence of rules "seemed" right, and finally set an order of prizes and punishment to enforce that sequence.

    All this based on things that seemingly are adequate to our "ways" of life. It may be right, and probably it is right, but I do not know one single human being that follows that rules in identical fashion.

    Each one of the terrible acts that anyone of us can commit, may be explained easily by other trend of thoughts.

    Just not to let this subject in the field of thoughts, you have the example of cannibalism, which was, and sometime is 'normal' still in many places on Earth.

    Good-Evil, Evil-Good, we won't have enough knowledge of them during our life. And that simple fact only, is what determinate, as so many other things, that the truth is the voice of Majority, or in other terms: Vox populi, Vox Dei, which, it is said, was so near the heart of the Romans, creators of the People Rights, but who would be the first surprised by how have turned out most of the laws they supported.

    Oh! I know, this is craziness, but I always like to see the other side of the rock! It is usually dirtier, damper and full or little horrendous critters, but a lot more interesting, :)

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    1. I think this is where you and I have to respectfully differ, Od. It's true that our definitions of right and wrong may well shift from age to age or place to place, but surely, beneath that shifting sand, there is a core reality that some things are right and others are wrong. To use your example of ancient Rome, for them pederasty was perfectly normal and acceptable. In spite of this, nothing could ever convince me that it is not utterly and absolutely wrong.

      I just love the way you have with words and thanks for another well thought out comment.

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  8. The interesting thing about some recent cases of extremism is that the perpetrators were only radicalised after coming to the West and meeting rabble rousing home-grown preachers. And the rise of far right groups in the UK and Europe is extremely worrying.

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    1. Dale, I truly believe that there is a rise in far right groups in this country even though people don't want to recognise it. I also feel this is because too much is going on in regards to racism, immigration, free speech, etc etc and people are constantly trying to brush it under the carpet or label you as something you are not instead of openly addressing the harsh issues as they are, and this is causing great frustration and harm. What's not done openly will be done in the darkness I say, then it will be exposed.

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  9. I think you would get a kick out of the book Criminal Minds by Jeff Marriotte. It goes over the lives of some of our worst who started out fairly "Fantastical" people.

    As for my opinion, I honestly do feel that those we consider the "Good kids" aren't in fact good in kind, just good at hiding their true selves. It's like the old saying "Coming out of one's shell", which is referring to anyone who acts outside of what others consider the norm. Do I think these people were radicalised? Nope. Not in the slightest. I think others who knew them just wanted to say something that would make them feel better for not noticing the monsters under the bed.

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    1. I'm not a book reader Textoflex, but this one sounds very interesting to me, so if I come across it, I just might spend some dosh to take a look, so thanks mate.

      I understand what you are saying, but now I'm wondering if those that knew them just turned a blind eye when they noticed things were wrong because, for example, Michael Adebowale's parents moved him to another city precisely because of their concerns about the effects that exposure to radical Islam was having on their son. It seems as though he was hell bent on his path in spite of their forewarnings and best efforts. But, how many others would or have done the same? Nice to hear from you Textoflex.

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  10. I think that it is always there... hidden away until they can hide it no longer...

    It is unbelievable what some of these people have done to other human beings... there are no words for the victims and their families... just tragedy... :/

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    1. When I hear about the graphic details of what a human person has done to another one, it makes me think who are the real animals here, but in reality I'm insulting animals because they don't act as bad as some of us.
      Now I'm thinking about some of the atrocities that has been done all over the world by mankind. Good to hear from you Launna.

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    2. Great post as usual. I was just in Ghana visiting what used to be a slave castle, and it was atrocious to see the rooms the slaves were kept in and not just hear the conditions they were living in for weeks before being shipped as slaves to foreign countries, but stand in the dark basements, in such darkness and heat. The guide asked us what words we would use to describe the way the slaves were treated, and one person said "like animals." When he asked me, I said I was pretty sure animals were treated better, and the guide agreed. It was not only atrocious conditions, but it was not even hidden. It was in the out, completely tolerated, as if nothing was wrong with slavery. Very sad. And as for the way children turn out, I do really believe it is unfair to blame parents. Kids from same families turn out so different. There is only so much a parent can do. And unfortunately some criminals are not even responsible for their acts. They are truly sick.

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    3. All this slavery that went on for decades around the world sends chills down my spine, so I can imagine what you must have seen there in Ghana.
      I always say that parents should teach the young ones as they grow up, but it isn't always fair to blame everything on the parent when the children become adults. Some parents have sacrificed so much to raise them but we all must face the consequences for our own actions. Good to hear from you OneBigMistake, andSome.

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  11. Hi Rum

    I don't think I can answer your questions but I have had lots of experiences with people who wear the mask of 'the great guy/girl' and fool everyone into believing they are nice people when on the sly are doing/saying the most horrific things. I think this is mostly for power and image, it's a game to them to play with people and they never feel shame or remorse just anger that they have been 'found out' - I'm sure these are signs of psychopathy.

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    1. But Jade, this is what gets me. After some of these people are caught, there are never reports that they were psychotic or crazy and we don't seem to hear about any psychiatric or bad reports from their past, but quite the opposite. I wonder if this is what makes them so damn dangerous.

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  12. first of all, as you know from my posts on Blog Catalog, you know I'm from Cleveland. So, I want to extend sympathy to you for what London and the UK is going through. Pain. Disbelief. Outrage. it really bothers me and ALL of us here in the area that Ariel Castro was so well respected as a local Latin musician, he has played on the same news stations reporting all of this - all the time he had the girls locked up.

    http://fox8.com/2013/05/09/ariel-castro-appeared-on-fox-8

    How could have one man lived such a double life? How could another man somewhat calmly want to tell a stranger his reason for killing with blood on and weapons in his hands? If I'm not mistaken (and I might be), wasn't he a born in the UK? Why is he talking about another 'homeland?' I could almost understand non-violent protest if he had a specific issue and was not born there.... it's confusing and too much to decipher in a blog comment.

    However, I am reminded of the Boston Marathon bombing in April - another case of surprise accomplices.

    They were not born here, but moved here very young, and their family got just about every social, health and financial benefit aid they qualified for. I'm not one of the half of of States that think everyone on assistance is lazy and taking advantage. It offered my mother a lifeline after my father left until she got out of school and had a full time career.

    However, this family took every social benefit, the mother left the country after a long record of shoplifting valuable items, the younger boy earned scholarships to attend school. The older one found an a girl from the States who bore him a child and worked 70 hours a week while he could learn to make bombs.

    I don't get it.

    I am also reminded of the Boston marathon bombing in April.

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    1. Thanks for the sympathy Charlene, but I have no doubt that we in the UK will have much more to go through. We are simply a target and it is what it is. Thank God that some of the attempts have been stopped but it only takes one person to get through and the police/government can only deal with what they know.
      Homegrown? Either way, I'm disappointed that people who do such things do not earn some money in the UK and then take their families to live in a country that abides by their own moral/conscious rules or codes of conduct instead of using sheer violence to get us to do what they want us to do with fear. This way everyone will be happy.

      Don't spit in the plate you eat from, I say or bite the hand that feeds you, if you get my gist.

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  13. I think we have to take some time to distinguish between evil and mental illness. I think there's a difference between how we need to intervene, depending on which we're dealing with, and I think there's a difference between what the consequences should be, again depending on what we're dealing with.

    Evil is someone who acts with intent. They need to be punished, removed from society.

    Mental illness often negates the ability to act with intent. Although mentally ill people who have acted out violently also need to be removed from society, then need to be helped, treated.

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    1. Oh I fully understand that some people suffer from mental illness but many times mental illness has played no part in what they have done. It's just simply a case of one day Johnny woke up and sprayed the town with bullets. Now where did that come from? No signs, no warnings etc. But at what point did Johnny think to do this? Or did something trigger him to act this way? Or can anyone of us do these heinous crimes tomorrow? Just a thought Karen and I appreciate your comment.

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  14. I read once that terrorist leaders quite often enlist (radicalise) people by targeting those who are segregated from other groups i.e. those people who don't feel like they belong in society. If you imagine it like a student at school is bullied and left out by everyone, that student's desire is to belong as is every (something everyone feels) if someone then comes along who is friendly to them that student will most likely try to do everything in their power to stay friends with them and 'belong'. Now for instance if that person teaches the student radical views knowing that the student will follow them to 'belong' the student is then radicalised. I'm not saying this is always the case but it's a way of radicalisation. Sadly where some Muslims will be segregated from their communities (due to what extremists/ radicalised people have done) they'll more likely become more of an ideal target for extremists to radicalise.
    In regards to psychopaths as I think I've mentioned to you before, not all psychopaths are killers a lot of them are in positions of power (CEOs, politicians etc). A psychopath is defined by something they have called a warrior gene which makes them selfish and ruthless whilst also making them charming when they need to be in order to get what they want. A psychopathic mass murderer on the other hand generally sustained abuse or witnessed abuse at an early age. Not all murderers are psychopaths, clearly some people have had lives laid out before them that lead them to finally make them crack but I'm not an expert on that and there's probably some intricate details that affect it.
    In regards to whether things can be halted I'm guessing you'd need to be there at the right time, in regards to a psychopath though I'm not entirely sure whether you can or not

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    1. The disturbing thing about the people in my post and indeed Mohammad Sidique Khan, leader of the 7/7 suicide bombers is that they were all people who were well integrated into society and without any past of trauma etc. So that's what got me thinking to write this post. It's just so hard to explain!

      Grooming definitely played its part, but what made them susceptible to it? I appreciate your comment Jamie.

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  15. Sad to see these kinds of things happen. Whether it's the environment surrounding these people, mental illness, or just inherent evil that influences these people we can never truly know what happens to make beings behave in this way. For some it's about power. For others it might be vengeance in a warped way. For others it's some sort of higher calling in their minds as they believe. It has happened to people like this for thousands of years, and will happen again in the future. Sadly.

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    1. I get your point that there are many potential causes. But I wonder if this is the case with the ones whose behaviour is unforeseen. Or is it a particular case with them? Thanks for stopping by Phil.

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  16. Does evil exist as a spiritual force in battle with the spiritual force of good?
    Is evil an overpowering mental illness put into action by circumstance and upbringing?

    I'm working on publishing a novel I've just finished writing which touches on this topic:

    After he follows the instructions in a mysterious book, a man tries to escape the evil he has unleashed.

    Tom Bianco is not satisfied with his life. One night he visits a bookstore where he finds a book that promises to change everything. Not taking it seriously, he makes a solemn agreement and performs the ceremony described in the book to finalize his commitment.

    When his life is drastically transformed into a series of nightmarish events, he believes at first that he is losing his mind. He is later convinced that he is bound to his oath by mysterious powers and is being groomed into becoming a serial killer.

    This is a very frightening topic.

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    1. Your book sounds like a proper page-turner, but I wonder if that is the explanation? That these people are in league with spiritual forces to the point of becoming their puppets? And how would we distinguish this sort of behaviour from mental illness and 'hearing voices'? It takes it back to the earlier topic discussed in my post called:
      An Evil Presence
      Thanks John, and make sure the next time you stop by, you let people know how they can get hold of your book.

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  17. Another interesting question for which I have no answers. I wonder if we'll find out what really makes people tick? Luckily, I don't know anyone who turned out to be different than they seemed. At the same time, that could change in an instant. Here's hoping it doesn't.

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    1. Thanks Janene. I think everyone is looking for answers and/or solutions to be able to stop some of the wicked things that happen unexpectedly. Maybe one day, or maybe not.Good to hear from you again :)

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  18. There was this teacher that I have known for years, and she seemed to be really nice. She was always kind when we see her around. Then 10 years later after I moved away, I found out she got in trouble for doing something wrong to the kids. They pulled away her teaching license and she lost that job. I was totally shocked. I had no idea, something was wrong till I found out about it.

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    1. Yes, you did mention this before Susana. I wonder what she did, though it must have been extremely serious to revoke her licence! And thanks for your comment.

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  19. When I was growing up, I often heard the phrase, "people aren't born bad, they are made bad." I guess that meant that they were made bad by circumstances or events that happened in their lives.

    However, whilst working with children, some just a few weeks old, I'm not so convinced about the fact that people aren't born bad. There was a child who was not yet two, who would purposely try to suffocate the much younger kids. I would catch him lying across their faces with the full weight of his body. But what was most chilling, was the fact that he would check to see that they couldn't breathe, that both their mouths and noses were covered completely. Though I reported it, nothing was done. And I've seen quite a few examples of very young children exhibiting very distressing behaviour throughout the years.

    So does something happen along the way to make a person change, or have they always been that way and it's just gone unnoticed. :)

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    1. What that child was doing was very concerning, especially as he was checking their breathing. I'm always appalled when authorities don't at least take a little time to check what is going on and as a wild guess, I wouldn't be surprised if some of these kids go on to do worse because it wasn't nipped in the bud when it presented itself.

      This is a great example to support the argument that nature, and not only nurture has a significant part to play. Thank you so much for commenting Lily.

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  20. This time, I shall spare you with a relatively short comment. I shall just touch on the one point of radicalisation. Of course, a number of factors can make somebody to change so drastically. Environmental, both via genetics and nurture. Yes, the nature, nurture debate. However, let me look at just one angle of this. Some folks are more susceptible to brain-washing. Controversially, I think religion is a form of brain-washing. I prefer free thinking. Those who become obsessed in a radical angle, have closed their minds to other possibilities.

    Oh well, I rambled. Another fascinating topic. However, I beg you, can you post up something a bit less challenging to my poor brain?

    A good Sunday to you, whoever you might be :)

    Gary

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    1. You never ramble Klahanie, and you always make a good point.

      When it comes to these topics, I'm really not trying to cause you brain-ache. It's just that sometimes I feel like Penny, sinking her teeth into a nice big juicy bone, though it's the comments that help me get to the marrow. Thanks for stopping by Gary.

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  21. RPD, I don't think that people who commit "evil" deeds start out as evil people. In other words, I don't buy the "bad seed" explanation for people who abuse and terrorize others. For whatever reason, people crack under different ideological influences--religion, psychology, politics, family weirdness, etc--and decide to take it out on others. Whether they're impulsive or preconceived, acts of violence and rage involve a decision to translate thought into behavior, and reflect deficient or absent coping skills more so than "mental illness." I agree with the poster above who wrote about good vs evil and social mores, and how human emotion and behavior is pathologized. Who's determining what's normal and who falls outside of the bell curve? Everyone is capable of wonderful and terrible things, yet we react with such surprise when terrible things happen; it's a kind of complacency where (perhaps) we fool ourselves into believing that some of us are morally superior to others. I don't think there's an easy answer to your question. As for radicalization, it is a form of brain-washing, and there's always an ideology behind it. The only way to avoid traps like that is to think for oneself and follow one's heart.

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    1. I agree that there's a danger is assuming moral superiority based upon majority consensus or some arbitrary line drawn in the sand. But at the same time, there must surely be some absolutes, as I said to Od Liam. Otherwise, how could we have a society based upon law and right? I'm going to stick my neck out and say that kidnapping people and holding them for sexual pleasure or attacking a stranger and blowing them up or hacking them to death must surely be wrong by any objective moral standard. Always good to hear from you Helena.

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  22. This subject has always fascinated me. It's complicated.

    For some people, there is a tipping point. But I think the tipping point has a wide arc, meaning there were steps that led to the point where the person took a dive, continuous mini-brain meltdowns. Just as there are no overnight successes, there are no overnight murderers.

    Other killers show signs early in their lives, i.e., mutilation of animals, etc. But often circumstances allow the "nice guy next door" to kill his wife: a gun in the kitchen drawer, a sudden angry rush of adrenaline and the "nice guy" grabs the fireplace poker and bashes in his wife's head. The short fuse was always there but the circumstances provided the perfect moment for a murder.

    For me, radicalization means the brainwashing of someone who is not grounded in his life. Someone who joins a cult like group that turns him.

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    1. Thanks for this Lauren, but, again, I would draw your attention to my answer to Jamie - at least some of these killers are well integrated people who seemed to be living out the ideal that society sets. They could have been role models for the next generation. Instead they go and commit the most unimaginable crimes. That's the heart of this question for me, so to speak, and yes, it is a complicated one.

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    2. BTK (Bind Torture Kill) is a good example of a well integrated killer. He was a devoted family man, boy scout leader and president of his church. The ideal citizen...if you overlook his hobby of 31 years - slaughtering men, women and children.

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  23. Thought provoking topic. I don't think serial killers were born to be like that. However, I guess, that our temperament - which affect our responding to stimulation were somehow mysteriously "pre-programmed". That's how I get idea about why some child abuse victims turned into serial killers but some did not. But again, just a guess. Human myth is too complicated to unravel by a few words.

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    1. Human myth is a good word. I often call it human mystery. I really do think our nature is the most mysterious thing in the world.

      And you bring out an interesting other side to this issue - it's not just 'good' people that turn out 'bad'. There are also victims of terrible abuse, mental illness, trauma and many other things who do not turn into criminals or killers. So there must be an element of something coming from within the person somewhere. Thanks Yun Yi.

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  24. The causes of violence are as varied as acts of violence themselves. Greed, fear, hate, jealousy, envy, lust, patriotism, sadism, indifference, self-interest, self-defense, survival, ideas. In the end, it all falls back on how broadly one values life and how much self-control one is willing or capable of exercising. Killing is a choice, an action, one which we're all capable of; and we're all responsible for our actions, whatever reasons we may give or invent to justify them. We think nothing of killing other animals for our pleasure or convenience, so why not human beings. I believe it's only a short step from one to the other. We are horrified (and justly so) by one human being chopping up another, but not by what goes on in slaughterhouses and our own kitchens every day. So perhaps the solution (ideally, not realistically speaking) is simply more reverence for life and less for our own beliefs, interests, appetites and desires.

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    1. I take your point here NP about us being desensitised to blood and violence because we eat the flesh of dead animals. I'm certainly guilty of that on a regular basis! People talk a lot about gory films and video games but I've never heard anyone bring up this example. At the same time, though, most people who eat meat don't slaughter it. Those who are given the opportunity often balk at the prospect. It's as though that part of our brain is switched off and we don't always make the connection meat=dead animal.

      But you say something important. Perhaps we shouldn't look so much for the negatives that could have impacted on these people. Perhaps it's just an absence of positives, such as the reverence for life which you speak of. Thanks for sharing your views NP.

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  25. I think most are just mentally ill. Who knows what sets them off, but there are a lot of mental illness that subtracts the humanity most of us have not to harm others. Usually they start off small, and much like when we let corruption in, it is less and less difficult. For those with these illnesses that is the problem. They get pleasure, fulfillment, out of the shock, and the shock factor wears off. That is why they move from killing animals to humans. They kill more frequently. There kills become more gruesome, more daring.

    In cases of religious killings, I think it is brainwashing. It is a belief that you are doing God's work, righting a social injustice. I find this so much more horrifying. When we willingly trade in our humanity for the delusion of glory in God, who, if he exists, we have already been told we do not know his plans.

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    1. Fair point, Jamie. Certainly with terrorism there is always an ideology. Often religious, but also in many cases political. Such as the Red Brigades, or Bader-Meinhoff complex in the 70s (just been reading up on this) I would also see organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah in the middle east an inseparable blend of both the political and the religious.

      That would certainly explain the complete lack of conscience such people display. They seem quite at peace with what they do... even proud. The suicide attackers even produce videos to claim the 'credit' for what they have done. It's as though they abdicate their conscience to their creed - if that isn't brainwashing...
      Really good to hear your views Jamie.

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  26. I literally froze to the news when I first heard it. I thought to myself how can someone do this and in such a cold manner without even thinking or at least give a decent explanation...it is just sad and to be honest I'm still speechless.

    I don't think this was a case of mental illness but more of brain washing....

    On my first trip to the UK on my way back I took a taxi to the airport and the driver scared me to death with his attitude I was about to ask him to stop really... he was nagging about some concentration camps that were being build in the UK by government to capture non-UK natives and torture them to death!!!. Also said that some of his friends where planning to blast the place down and set fire to a few places...don't know if the guy was serious or just taking the piss out of me but he managed to freak me out! especially when he took his seat belt off to swear and curse to an other driver out of the window...and later drove for at least 20 mins with a cell phone to his ear and all I could understand was "allah hu akbar"....

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    1. Gosh Hotei... Now I'm speechless. Can I just say to all for the benefit of all readers who have not visited my wonderful country of Britain that this is not normal behaviour for our taxi drivers! But some of them do like to have a grand opinion on things.

      I'm sorry that you had such a scary experience but perhaps that man gave us an insight into the reasoning - or better to say lack of it, that goes behind some of these acts. Thanks Hotei.

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    2. LOl Don't worry RPD now I look back at it and laugh....it wasn't funny at that point in time I must admit especially when he missed the entrance to the airport and went on driving...wanted to jump out of the car just like in a movie!!! hahah


      Must assure your readers that this never ever happened again in my trips to the UK it was only that one time...the taxi drivers that drove me on other trips were simply amazingly reliable and very friendly :)

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  27. RPD, I continue to be amazed at the unimaginable crimes people commit against each other these days. Personally, I believe that we are all inherently evil. Accordingly, we all have the capacity to do evil. But what takes things to the extremes that we see today is mind-boggling.

    I believe in the reality of the devil and evil spirits. The Bible goes as far as saying that the devil, the god of this world, blinds the minds of unbelievers so they can't see the light of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4). And I know that some people are mentally deranged and society does a poor job of addressing all these "time bombs" walking the street. Furthermore, I am sure there are things that can happen to a people in life that can end up taking them to a very dark place they never imagined that they would. Alas, I am aftaid the worse is yet to come.

    Nice post as always.

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    1. This is bleak! The picture you created in my mind is of all these powerful currents, both inside and outside of us, as well as being physical and spiritual, all pulling us in the wrong direction. I'm afraid you might be right about the worse being yet to come. Thanks Frank.

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  28. RPD... Such an interesting question. I have to say up front that I have never known such an individual.

    But it does make you wonder: How in the world & why???

    Parental Guidance? Peer Pressure? Propaganda? Movies/TV? Hate Groups? Or, as some have suggested: Genetics? Or some of or all of the above... I don't have any answers.

    Great Post!!! The Comments are amazing, as usual.

    Have a great Wednesday (Hump Day), Slu

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    1. Slu. There are so many factors in play. If and how do they all fit in?
      Nice One Slu.

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  29. It would be difficult to know what lies behind that friendly, smiley face. May be due to some psychological factors, some people have split personalities. What you mentioned here are portrayed in some movies (never seen one in real). And it scares me to death watching such persons having great pleasure in torturing their victims.

    There is the possibility this abnormal behavior could be prevented if it had been detected much earlier but then again, how long does it take and how effective it is, is another question.

    This post makes me wonder and ponder. It is really a good idea having it discussed here. Thank you, Rumpunch. :)

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    1. Yes, that's what makes this topic so important. Because if, as Frank says, such things are destined to go on happening and perhaps become even worse, we need to look at more than just how to catch the criminals. In fact, they often seem to care very little about being punished. We need to work out what leads to these behaviours in order to develop some strategies to prevent all this. Also Lily's comment proves that you can have such tendencies as a very young age. Thanks Balqis.

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  30. I suspect there is something involved in their genes, but this is taboo. We need more research on this. I don't think it is a simple matter. There is something different about the brain of a psychopath so they should look into this.

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    1. Thanks Julia. It would be great if we could find the answers to at least prevent some of these things happening.

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  31. I've never found someone to be completely different than what I've known them to be for years, but I do have childhood friends that I'm still pretty close to, and a couple have changed drastically. Obviously most of the changes can be attributed to just "growing up," but I think who we are fundamentally is established at a fairly young age. For example, I've loved to write since age 5, and now I do it for a living! Just my thoughts:).

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Disa. That's why it's important that we try our best to check out any warning signs from a young age, but I do see your point too in regards to people 'growing up' and changing.

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  32. It is bone chilling the depths of the depravity these once "normal" people have slipped into. I've thought much about what could be the switch that flips in them that leads them into radicalization or the evil that allows them to commit such atrocities. We need to solve this problem, and soon.

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    1. So true, I'm with you on that Shelly. Thanks for the comment.

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  33. The vulnerable, the mentally ill, the dispossessed, the stupid, the lonely, the needy,the losers

    All these groups have been manipulated and used by terrorists

    Sad

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    1. Yes, very sad indeed. Good to hear from you John.

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  34. Rum-Punch Drunk, this is very thought-provoking. What happened to Lee Rigby was such a horrific event! I can’t imagine what shock and trauma his family must be suffering. And then there’s that monster Ariel Castro who kidnapped, tortured and imprisoned Gina, Amanda and Michelle for years. What fear and horror they must have known. That it happened in a neighborhood in the middle of a city and nobody knew (and he didn’t take just one, but three girls over time!), I think that says a lot about how monsters can walk among us and we may never know until they get caught.

    To answer your questions: When a person becomes radicalized, their thinking becomes fixed and narrowly focused on an extreme idea. Because of the rigid thinking and ideology, a radicalized individual can be easily influenced and manipulated into committing heinous deeds in the name of that ideology. Depending on the person’s background, friends and family, it may be difficult to prevent radicalization, but I think the best way would be through education and socialization.

    The behavior of someone like Ariel Castro is sick and sinister and, unlike radicalization, that does not develop overnight. He had that monstrous sickness lurking inside him just waiting for the right opportunity. We don’t know what happened in his life to make him that way, so it may not have been preventable unless he could have been given psychological help when he was young. It’s scary but I don’t think there is any way to effectively prevent these things from happening.

    Have I ever been horrified to find out a person I knew for years was something completely different? Well, I was horrified to find out a few years ago that several boys at the Catholic orphanage I lived at for a while (when my mother was hospitalized) had been molested, not by priests, but by certain nuns there. When the nuns were named, I knew them, they were teachers as well as caretakers for the children, and they seemed like a couple of the nice nuns, not the mean ones! The orphanage had a separate boys side and girls side, and it also housed a parochial school where the boys and girls mingled. None of us girls back then knew this was happening on the boys side. We had plenty of mean nuns on the girls side, but no girl (as far as I know) was molested by the nuns. It seems that only happened with the boys. We sometimes hear about priests molesting boys, but rarely ever hear about nuns molesting boys. So that was pretty shocking when I heard about it.

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    1. Yes, there does seem to be a narrowing down of a person's perspective which seems quite shocking in today's day and age with multicultural societies (which both of the cases I cite lived in) and media access to so much information which should broaden a person's horizons.

      There is also a paradox, as you say, between the malleability they have towards the groups (if any) that they belong to and rigidity which they show towards refusing to accept society's values of right and wrong.

      As for the nuns!... as has often happened, your life experience leaves me a bit speechless! We've heard so many cases of male priests abusing, and even in the UK right now there are a lot of high-profile celebrities being brought down for abuse they are alleged to have committed in the 60s and 70s... some of whom were favourite children's presenters, yet none of them are women.

      Perhaps this sounds wrong, but, for it to be a woman seems somehow more shocking. I always look forward to your comments JerseyLil and thank you.

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  35. I can't explain the cases you cite. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that there are people alive who would do such things to their fellow sojourners. I know the stench of evil personally, and know the sting of the law not touching an accused because of his 'upstanding reputation'. Everyone has an upstanding reputation until convicted of a crime! A 'nice' demeanour can hide a criminal's heart. It sucks. All the more reason for each of us to live by that golden rule, huh? I think the evils you speak of began as smaller seeds germinating in unusual circumstances, where checks and balances don't curb latent tendencies early enough. Good parenting early on helps to curb that independent stubborn streak we are born with and channel it, giving appropriate consequences for good and bad choices. Where natural consequences are removed, trouble brews and breeds unchecked violence and moral chaos. It is such a pity that most of the marginalized fall through the cracks. It is almost inevitable that a few will become what we most fear. How very, very sad...

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    1. As I know you are a reader of the bible, I believe the expression 'whited tombs' comes to mind. On the outside they shine, but within they are full or putrefaction and decay. Perhaps that's it. What seems to us to be a sudden change is simply the externalization of a long process of inner corruption. If only we could catch some of these people before they fall through the net. Perhaps we may even avoid having to imprison them and manage even to change them?!?!
      Always grateful to hear your point of view Melody.

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  36. I believe radicalization roots are in anger due to a perceived (whether real or imagined) grievance for have being "wronged" whether personally wronged or
    wronged as a group, such as a political wrong coupled with admiration for a group who claims they are being collectively wronged and at its extreme add
    isolation from civil society and spending most of personal time with the collective extreme group who is more than glad to help in the isolation of said person in
    an attempt to control and further indoctrinate.

    Over a period of time the individual will become lonely when he is not in constant connection with the group and will have no identity outside that created by the group who while claiming to be victimized are actually the victimizers. Control is maintained over the individual, very much the same as it is by pimps and abusive husbands & narcissistic parents because the individual becomes totally psychologically and perhaps spiritually dependent upon the group who will victimize and humiliate the individual unless he/she subjects in total to the group. Anything less than total devotion leads to abuse and humiliation. Little by little the individual is lead to believe that he group loves and cares for them and instead of being shocked
    when he is devalued and threatened when he questions the group he internalizes with self blame and will do anything in order to stop the hemorrhage, punishment, cold silence and rage.

    These guys need to be involved in work (instead of having social handouts) to support themselves and any families they create. That would be a start. If they had less time to poor me it they might be more grateful for the bread on their tables if they worked to put it there instead of being jealous of the guy who has two loaves.

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    1. While I totally agree with you about the power of the group over certain of these individuals, to me there is still a mystery that remains. How is it that they are able to blend so well into society.? Imagine Mohammad Sidique Khan for example. He was a teaching assistant of all things. He was trusted to sit with children and help them with their schoolwork! How is it that someone so apparently well integrated into a society could turn upon it and become a mass murderer of people who he had never met, some of whom, I might add, where muslims as he claimed to be? Perhaps I'm asking a question that is impossible to answer.
      Thanks you so much for commenting Scarlett.

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  37. Ciao RPD,
    I have tried to understand many things during my life... so many strange happening. I arrived at the conclusion that we can't get the answers to everything. Thinks sometimes happens... and unfortunately horrible things. I like saying that all the mad are between us...
    Yes, some happening are incredible..
    ciao , stay well !

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    1. It's true Massimo. Madness isn't some giant up in the hills who comes down from time to time to visit the townspeople. It's among us. Sometimes within us... brrrr... the thought gives me a shiver!
      E' proprio il caso di dormire con un occhio aperto!
      Thanks for your comment Massimo.

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