COMMENTARY | We’re all sharing the pain, anguish, and fear coming out of Aurora as everyone awaits some form of justice that might be served in this heart-wrenching case. The senseless nature of the heinous crimes mutes any possibility of satisfaction for the families of the victims or the public at large. In an attempt to make sense out of a senselessly violent act, various professionals are showing no common sense by unfairly extending blame for the Aurora massacre to mental health care professionals who may have been forewarned of potential crimes allegedly committed by James Holmes.
It is unsettling to know that mass murder offenders act alone, plan ahead and strike out in very public places targeting innocent victims. According to Mother Jones, there have been at least 56 mass murders across 30 states since 1982. It may not be a coincidence that 1982 seems to have been a turning point in a year that Times Magazine announced the computer as the Machine of the Year, instead of a man for the first time ever.
Establishing a national program aimed at identifying and treating the mental disease associated with these atrocities may serve a greater good than quid pro quo justice or blame extension after the fact. Prevention is the key. There are often prior warnings and threats associated with mass murder events as part of a mental disease, appropriately called Lone Wolf Syndrome.
There is a link between the closeness technology affords us through advances in social networking and information access and the rise of the “Lone Wolf.” The amounts of information available to them only make their plans more seemingly achievable, realistic and valid regardless of the insanity involved in the purpose. While feeling empowered by the ability to act alone, they become further isolated and out of touch with the world around them. The public essentially becomes their enemy at some point. It is cancerous thinking, reinforced by empowering amounts of information and unprecedented access to weapons that result in mass murder.
Lone Wolf Syndrome is a mental health disease occurring in individuals that progressively fantasize, imagine, threaten, plan, or take action to cause the death of others in a mass murder or high profile target event. Society could establish and implement confidential and compassionate programs to identify and treat at-risk “lone wolves” that may have exhibited signs of suffering from any phase of Lone Wolf Syndrome. It is the lone part of the Lone Wolf Syndrome which may point towards a starting point in establishing early stage treatment. The national loss, sadness and grief resulting from these crimes is immeasurable and society must work as a whole to resolve it.
Violent threats should be recorded and categorized in a national effort to maintain a Lone Wolf Syndrome database similar to the national sex offender database aimed at protecting us all from sexual predators. It is vital for collective safety that we act together to proactively address the threats associated with Lone Wolf Syndrome.