Adkisson’s Assault On A Unitarian Church Stirs Memories, Raises Questions
Last Sunday Jim David Adkisson, a fifty eight year-old unemployed truck driver from the city of Powell, Tennessee, entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville with a 12 gauge shotgun and began firing at dad and mom and buddies who had come to see their kids in a church play. The news set off a sequence of associations for me, because I am a Unitarian-Universalist, and, like those parents in Knoxville, I had often sat in the sanctuary of our church, the Unitarian Church in Westport, Connecticut, watching my kids, clad in makeshift costumes cobbled from outdated curtains and junk jewellery, struggling to recollect their strains and overcome their shyness as they tromped throughout the stage, acting out some parable they had cooked up with the youth advisors, celebrating themes dear to their heart comparable to social justice, love, and respect for all folks of all types and shapes and colors. Immediately my children have grown and moved away, but I still find solace in a Unitarian Universalist church, this one in East Greenwich Rhode Island. My wife is pastor there.
The shooting also drew my attention as a stone island john anthony result of, as a professor at a faculty of social work, I devote much of my time to the examine of violent incidents. Having just lately completed a e book about school rampage shootings, I found myself, like so many others, making an attempt to know what had pushed Adkisson to perform such a determined act. Whereas this had components in frequent with “workplace shootings,” it also resembled a lot of the college shootings I write about in my e book. Others would possibly categorize it as the work of a “Home grown terrorist.” Maybe these classes have extra in widespread than criminologists have supposed.
I argue in my e-book that as a result of the college shooters have been adolescents, they have been concerned in that psychosocial disaster which the psychoanalyst Erik Eriksson referred to as “identity formation versus id diffusion.” They decided to commit an act of violence in opposition to themselves (and others) as a result of they noticed no future within the grownup world. Adkisson was fifty eight, in the midst of the stage which Eriksson known as “Middle Adulthood,” whose psychosocial crisis he defined as “generativity versus stagnation.” By generativity he meant not simply having kids but contributing to the establishment and steerage of the following technology. Such work may contain educating, main a youth group, or serving on the board of a not-for-profit. Stagnation might confer with a worker who remains in a job that has lost all meaning, or a spouse trapped in a loveless marriage. The following stage in Erikson’s schema, the disaster of outdated age, consists of “integration versus despair.” Erikson made the purpose that every one these crises are occurring at every age, but some take precedence during certain periods of a person’s life. In accordance with some sources, Adkisson was alcoholic and topic to lingering darkish moods. Alcoholism is commonly related to getting developmentally “caught,” at the age when the drinking began. Was he an adolescent walking around in grown-up cothes
News reviews suggest that Adkisson was a man for whom life now not appeared price dwelling. College shooters attain this state after years of being bullied, abused bodily or sexually, and rejected by peers and girlfriends. Social awkwardness, psychiatric problems and learning disabilities further aggravate the scenario. Adkisson had failed in relationships (he had recently been divorced by his fourth or fifth spouse) and failed vocationally (he had misplaced his job and couldn’t discover one other.) His meals stamps had been terminated, making survival tough.
Second, he needed revenge against those who had deprived him of his work, his social stature, his means of survival. College shooters lengthy to get again at the children who tormented and excluded them, and teachers who handled them unjustly. The eminent criminologist Park Dietz has spoken of the hazard inherent in this example:
When any person has so little to lose, so that it all seems meaningless to them, then they’re doubtless to contemplate revenge as having considerable worth. They could consider suicide as an escape from all of it. That’s a terrible mixture, being suicidal and wanting revenge. That’s at the heart of a lot of the workplace and school mass murders of the last 20 years. (Park Dietz, as quoted within the Hook, December four, 2003)
Third, Adkisson had created a “sham ideology,” a concept to assist the violence he was ready to commit. For college shooters, this usually consists of some garbled “philosophy” justifying Stone Island Clothes homicide. It is normally compounded from a misreading of Nietzsche and Ayn Rand, and too many viewings of the Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers. Adkisson’s manifesto, a 4 page letter left in his SUV, blamed Liberals a lot the nation’s woes. Those of us who have adopted the Bush administration’s unraveling of the safety internet and re-allotment of the Federal finances to corporate welfare and the battle in Iraq found ourselves scratching our heads. The information that Adkisson’s most current ex-wife had once been a member of the congregation he had attacked offered a clue to how these antithetical ideas may need develop into conflated.
Black and white thinking oversimplifies the world in dangerous ways. Clever spin docs have been driving a wedge into our physique politic for decades, convincing us that Liberals assume about every little thing one way, and Conservatives another, and there is no such thing as a stone island john anthony overlap. But this is a lie designed to polarize voters. Even within Unitarian-Universalism, the religion Garrison Keillor evokes each time he desires to make a joke about Lefties gone wild, folks hold views that vary all throughout the political and cultural spectrum. There are pro-life atheists, and theists who support assisted suicides. Many of the school shooters were raised in bible-belt communities the place conduct was equally divided into extremes. You may very well be good otherwise you could possibly be evil. You can join Team Jesus, or play for Satan.
One more factor motivated Adkisson: the hope that he can be killed by legislation men throughout his Sunday morning assault. He mentioned in his letter that he hoped he wouldn’t depart the church alive. In other words, where we see a tragic, meaningless homicide of the innocent, Adkisson, beneath the brittle shell of his narcissism, noticed a suicide try. A few of the school shooters committed suicide after completing their shootings while others hoped the police would do the job for them.
Suicide by cop.
When men who derive their self-respect from being in a position to supply for his or her households are deprived of the privilege, they typically query the that means of their lives. Sometimes they contemplate suicide. A falling Dow-Jones historically correlates with a rising suicide charge, and vice-versa. A current Huffington publish by Barbara Ehrenreich investigates the issue of suicide and the present monetary disaster in depth. Between unemployment, the sub-prime mortgage disaster, the weakened greenback, a swelling national debt, a vanishing safety internet and a costly conflict, the outlook is grim.