Preface   To  The  Logic  of  Murderous  Rampages  

&  Other  Essays  on  Violence   &  its  Prevention     by  Jane  Gilgun    

  Summary     This  brief  article  summarizes  what  I  have  learned  from  years  of  research  on   interpersonal  violence.  It  is  a  preface  to  The  Logic  of  Murderous  Rampages.  To   perpetrators,  violence  has  a  logic  that  mystifies  outsiders.  In  addition,  violence  almost   always  is  gratifying.  Occasionally  people  are  violent  to  solve  something  they  see  as   problems,  and  they  may  not  get  a  thrill  from  that.  Violence  helps  perpetrators  feel   better,  but  they  go  right  back  to  being  their  usual  miserable  selves.  Prevention  involves   wide-­‐spread  efforts  to  help  children  build  trusting  relationships,  develop  beliefs  and   actions  about  the  importance  of  caring  about  other  people,  and  to  manage  what  they   want  in  prosocial  ways.        




Preface   To  The  Logic  of  Murderous  Rampages  
&  Other  Essays  on  Violence   &  its  Prevention  



his  book  is  a  collection  of  essays  that  I  have  written  over  several  years.  The   essays   show   what   I   have   learned   about   the   meanings   of   violence   to   perpetrators,   the   development   of   violent   behaviors,   accountability,   and   the   prevention  of  violence.     I  learned  that  violence  of  various  sorts  may  be  senseless  to  outsiders  but  to   perpetrators  themselves  violence  has  a  logic  and  an  inevitability.  Not  only  do  they   think   about   and   plan   their   violent   actions   and   enjoy   themselves   while   doing   so,   acts   of   violence   give   thrills,   chills,   and   emotional   gratification.   The   only   exception   is   when   perpetrators   see   their   violence   as   means   to   an   end   or   as   an   obligation   such   as   teaching  a  lesson  and  setting  an  example  of  what  happens  to  people  who  cross  them.     Individuals  I  interviewed  committed  murder,  attempted  murder,  rape,  burglary,  and   physical  assault.     I  also  learned  that  the  major  factors  in  becoming  violent  was  not  abuse  and   neglect,   but   beliefs   about   violence,   problems   in   relationships   with   others,   and   antisocial  ways  of  self-­‐regulation.  Even  when  individuals  have  similar  backgrounds   in   terms   of   abuse   and   neglect,   exposure   to   violence,   and   other   adversities   and   vulnerabilities,   these   three   factors   make   the   difference   in   whether   individuals   become  violent  or  not.   As   part   of   my   response   to   this   research,   I   reflected   on   what   happiness   is.   When   I   began,   I   had   no   idea   that   persons   who   have   committed   violent   acts   would   teach  me  this.  Not  one  of  these  people  was  happy.  They  wanted  to  be  happy.  They   even   thought   their   violence   would   bring   them   happiness,   or   at   least   help   them   to   feel  better.  Violence  often  did  lift  their  moods,  but  this  did  not  last.  They  went  right   back  to  being  their  miserable  selves  in  a  short  time.   As   I   thought   about   this,   I   realized   how   important   accountability   is.   Accountability  is  a  way  of  clawing  out  of  the  pits  that  we  place  ourselves  in  when  we   violate   other   people   and   ourselves.   Hurting   others   and   ourselves   is   part   of   being   human.   When   we   are   accountable,   we   admit   that   we   have   caused   harm,   take   responsibility  for  the  harm,  apologize,  make  amends,  and  do  all  it  takes  not  to  repeat   the   hurtful   behaviors.   Accountability   leads   to   re-­‐building   relationships   after   breakdowns  that  harmful  behaviors  cause.  Some  people  may  not  accept  apologies  and   may  not  want  to  continue  a  relationship.  Accountable  people  accept  this  and  move  on.   From   this   research,   I   have   also   seen   that   children   require   long-­‐term   relationships   with   people   who   love   them,   who   are   there   for   them,   and   who   show   them  how  to   form   secure   relationships   with   others.   Through   relationships,   children   acquire  value  systems,  social  skills,  and  vocational  skills.  Many  people  have  the  good  

fortune   to   be   members   of   families   and   communities   where   these   advantages   are   givens.  Many  others  grow  up  believing  that  you  take  what  you  want  from  whomever   you   want   and   you   do   not   owe   anyone   anything.   Belief   and   value   system   are   the   bedrocks  of  the  development  and  commission  of  violent  behaviors.     Jane  Gilgun   January  30,  2013   Minneapolis,  Minnesota,  USA      


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