The Psychology of Abject Violence

Adam Fitzgerald
8 min readAug 4, 2019

After the latest mass shooting i feel the problems which are embedded into the fabric of our nation’s DNA, the opposing political parties and its uncompromising pawns will sidestep the issue and proclaim the problem stems from the weapon and not from the individual's state of mind. I believe this is a fatal mistake, and i will explain to the best of my ability what i believe are the primary problems which face our country and it’s future.

The problems of abject violence which has seemingly permeated almost every fabric of our being in the United States is multifaceted and can be traced back to the generations which founded this nation. It is Psychological and it’s also manufactured, but it is not irreversible. But in order to give pause to the dilemma we would first need a major revolt that will require a unified American public which would need to end their inherent divide from unnatural properties, such as religion, politics etc. There are certain glaring issues in these shooting rampages which have not been addressed by our elected officials, understandable due to the corporate lobbys involved, and by our major media networks which i will show below.

1. The nationwide problem of manufactured drug use by major pharmaceutical companies.

With most mass shootings of the last 20 years we are noticing a problem which is seemingly repetitive but ignored. Which are the shootings carried out by disgruntled students, ex-students, whom are prescribed or have taken “anti-depressant” medications. From the Columbine Shooting in 1999 to the 2012 Aurora theater massacre, each of these incidents saw that the instigator of these killings were taking at the time some form of psychotropic medication. Medications which have shown to have a profound and mind-altering effect in the short term which is having a dynamically negative effect in their young, undeveloped minds. According to Dr. Peter Breggin, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist whom has authored over 20 books and has testified in Congress about the effects of these medications, stated plainly that “Depression rarely leads to violence and that it’s only since the SSRI’s came on the market that such mass shootings have taken place”.

In recent years we have noticed that most shootings that have taken place in a school or university has had a number of these young people on prescribed medications. Take for example the top leading American pharmaceutical companies annual revenue totals for 2017:

1. Johnson and Johnson $76 billion

2. Pfizer 52.54 billion

3. Merck & Co. $40.10 billion

4. AbbVie $28.22 billion

5. Abbott Laboratories $27.39 billion

Astounding revenues in the last 5 years of each company saw growth upwards to even 10 billion per years for each company. And according to a CNBC report just last year, spending on prescription medicines in the U.S. will increase 4% to 7% through 2021 with an estimated $610 billion dollars spent by the American consumer.

With an incremental growth of young people being prescribed anti-depressants, is it not leading us to an increase in pathological events which are being generated by these medications which are having a nationwide effect that includes these recent mass shootings we are witnessing today? Compare the rates of prescribed patients of the last 30 years to the rates of mass shootings inside our learning institutions.

These statistics are relating to the mass shootings inside educational institutions (Colleges, High schools, elementary etc.)

(deaths) (injured) (# of shootings) (mass shootings)

1900’s — 13–5 (0) (0)

1910’s — 12–8 (19) (0)

1920’s — 5–5 (10) (0)

1930’s — 10–3 (9) (0)

1940’s — 11–4 (8) (1)

1950’s — 14–8 (17) (0)

1960’s — 44- 64 (18) (2)

1970’s — 37–73 (30) (2)

1980’s — 50–134 (39) (1)

1990’s — 89–145 (62) (3)

2000’s — 107–138 (63) (4)

2010’s — 152–150 as of march 20 2018 (149) (6)

Mass shootings where 4 or more are killed, not including shooter (FBI definition).

Average annual growth rate of prescription drug spending per capita for 1970’s — 1990’s; Annual change in actual prescription drug spending per capita 2000–2015 and projected prescription drug spending per capita 2016–2025 shown in this chart:

The growth rates for both mass shootings and prescribed pharmaceutical medications are not something we should dismiss, but instead something we urgently are in need to address, and i would submit to you those of the Right and Left wing of the Political spectrum…that in order to address this problem we need to stop manufacturing a penchant for division.

2. The inherent problem of abject violence in American culture.

The American public in the last 100 years have been saturated with coverage from media outlets with random and deliberate acts of violence from people in this country. The underlying general instigator of violence we see today however, comes from an inability from those in positions of systematic influence to generally understand the human condition. People in levels of our military, our government and even in the areas such as the media and entertainment industry are generally conditioned in a manner which is understood as “sociopathy”. Traits of a sociopath’s mindset are as follows:

1. Superficial charm and good intelligence.

2. Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking.

3. Absence of nervousness or neurotic manifestations.

4. Unreliability.

5. Untruthfulness and insincerity.

6. Lack of remorse and shame.

7. Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior.

8. Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience.

These noticeable symptoms are often seen by people all around us, but are often ignored for a varying number of reason which lead us to usually ignore the problem at hand. With 330 million people in the United States, a number that continues to rise modestly every 5 years, the trend of mental health has increased but not in the right direction. According to Parthenon EY, a leading consulting firm, the investment spending on mental health clinics in the United States will reach in 2020 an all time high of 281 billion dollars. With 50,000 psychiatrists and 20,000 treatment centers available to the general public.

The emerging market in these areas are rapidly increasing, and government spending on these clinics have also reached their peaks. But the leading economic breakthrough has been the pharmaceutical industry, with annual profits growing each year in the last 25. Record highs for major companies such as Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer. The conditioning of our mental state has come to the conclusion that is almost premeditated. Thru the media manipulation of one’s mind, to the medical conditioning of prescribed medicines which are not fully completed in its entirety. And while the medical institutions have been often found guilty in this regard the military arena is not without blame.

The history of our nation has been often wrought with war and physical confrontations based upon a sense of nationalist pride, and also of Geo-political aggression. The influential areas which assist in these deliberate acts often come from our elected officials who constantly ply their manipulative trade to the whims of its voting base. Since the start of the 20th century the United States has been involved in 49 wars to the current day. That is one war for every 2.4 years. A staggering level of consistency involving human conflict which leads to total and complete destruction of civilizations. According to Steven Taylor, a senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University, the psychology for violence is seemingly based on two areas, group identity and the need for increase in wealth, status and power.

There also lies with the problem of sociopathy in the human condition. This area is not often the fault of the individual due in part of it stemming from a irreversible condition of the brain itself. Psychologists from around the world are now coming to a conclusion that the DNA from our parents are also bringing its offspring its mental consciousness at some level. The pathology of the sociopath is witnessed in social circles but society often finds itself in ignorance of its symptoms. And while the physiological framework can also be shown to have influence of how humans use physical conflict, the more broader issue of conquest thru military means is also shown to have fault.

An addition to the consciousness of violence, the United States has become the weapons manufacturer of the world for some time. Every year the U.S. Government has increased spending on it’s military and in weapons production, while lessening in other areas such as education and social security. Since the 1900’s the incremental spending on our military has risen, especially after WW2 which saw a more gradual rise in gross spending. The vigorous production of weapons while promoting it’s sale and use to the American public has saturated every available means of communication.

The general response is to keep our military up to date with the best weapons possible to keep invaders from coming inside the United States.The irony of this line of defense is that the United States has military bases all spread out around the world in 98 countries. The need for expansionism has now become critical and interferes in our global discourse, without the hegemony of others we alienate our human neighbors and this sometimes leads us to view them as the enemy from afar. To keep those outside at a distance, in order to dehumanize while war becomes a necessity for those in power. Thus the influences from media outlets and government officials lead us into a tribal warfare against our foreign brethren and while the Nationalist view is often implied… for god and country as the jargon which has worked well thru-ought history. Take a look at the rates of weapons production seen below:

In essence, the intense saturation of violence which is covered in every day life can be readily seen in almost every fabric of daily life. Thus the weapon of choice is simply a means to use, and not the cause. What we must confront and understand are the important factors which are not being addressed by those of global influence. The psychology of violence which is often manufactured by said influences and from the psychology of the self. The latter being of utmost importance. The level of human communication we have today (viral world) can break the cycle of confusion which leads to confrontation, but we have misused the applications for self debasement, disillusioned entertainment and ego-centric value. While we can break this cycle for the betterment of ourselves and for others the window of opportunity to end the repetitive nature of abject violence continues to shorten.



Adam Fitzgerald

Geo-political scientist/researcher into the events of September 11th 2001.