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Centerpointe Research


Another Post on Anger


Violence! (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

After yesterday’s massacre at Sandy Hook, it seems more and more important that we own and control the expression of our anger.  Yes, the shooter may have been mentally ill and not in his right mind; but why do we not abhor violence as a form of expression of anger in people in general?  Violence is not only accepted as an outlet of frustration, but also it is encouraged as a form of entertainment providing vicarious thrills in young and old alike.

We become immune to violence seeing it depicted everyday in movies, TV, and video games.  It is also an accepted part of many sports like hockey, football, and, yes, even hunting.  In cartoons and video games, it doesn’t even hurt and those who are killed get right back up to fight again.  How unrealistic can we get?  No wonder when people face the real thing, they can’t handle it.

When it comes to death and mayhem, it is not pretty.  It is horrifying!  No wonder people develop post-traumatic stress syndrome when they have to deal with the real thing.  Nobody ever told them what it was really like.  I have both read  first-person accounts of such real life occurrences and have listened to the stories of people who have gone through this and came out alive when other people didn’t.   These stories are not easily shared or told.  They are often reexperienced over and over again in terrifying detail after the person who experienced them has left the horrifying scene.

There are more people who have had these experiences and don’t talk about them than most people know.  I bet you might be surprised that there are people you probably already know who had these experiences and have never talked about them.  That person might be your grandfather, boyfriend, sister, neighbor, or best friend. Even just being in a situation such as a riot where ordinary people are acting lawlessly and potentially violently and even policemen and national guard troops are shaking in their boots can tie your guts up in knots. It did mine. Let’s be realistic about violence and it’s consequences. People in adulthood should be prepared to deal realistically with death. In past generations, it was an experience most people would have had to have gone through, maybe several times, before they grew up.

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English: Lansing Correctional Facility

English: Lansing Correctional Facility (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prison 2
Prison 2 (Photo credit: planetschwa)

Having almost no or almost no conscience, psychopaths can commit violent crimes often without an ounce of guilt.  They have a high recidivism rate.  Committing the same crimes over and over again until he (or she) is permanently locked up and cut off from society.

As far as mental illnesses go, psychopathy is expensive to treat as incarceration is expensive and is mostly useful as a form of  protection for society and really is not a form of treatment.  They may continue to be violent in prison and may acquire a longer prison term because of this.  Also they usually need to be kept in  expensive high security prisons.  Even when taken out of society, they remain dangerous to others, both other inmates and correctional facility staff.

Because psychopaths having no built in governors on their aggressive drives, talk therapy does not seem to work with them.  Also they could care less about the feelings of others.  It would seem that if some form of treatment could be found that would inhibit their aggressive behavior, it would of a great benefit to society and perhaps even hopefully to psychopaths themselves.

Focusing on rewarding good behavior in adolescents who seem to be destined to be psychopaths with privileges seems to be more effective than punishing bad behavior which often causes an increase in bad behavior..  The theory behind this is partly based on the neuroplasticity of the brain.  Please see this article, (Mis)guided Light by Jenny Price in “On Wisconsin” (Vol. 113, No. 3), the alumni magazine of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


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