Pipe Bomb Arrest -- Psychological Profile of an Idealist.
LOS ANGELES--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--May 8, 2002
According to a trauma psychologist who studies and examines troubled youth, the 21-year-old Wisconsin college student arrested for the Midwestern mailbox bombings fits an "Idealist" psychological profile -- such as a person who could be recruited into "Hamas" -- rather than a profile associated with a "Columbine" anti-social youth.
"With the information revealed so far, the perpetrator seems to fit an `Idealist' rather than an `Anarchist' profile, and, if correct, in some ways this makes him potentially more dangerous," said Los Angeles Trauma psychologist, Robert R. Butterworth, Ph.D.
Butterworth's survey of the research on societal violence points to three personality profiles or psychological motivators of young people who are involved in violent terroristic actions.
1. Motivated by revenge (Columbine profile): Usually perpetrated by low achieving or anti-social individuals. Scores low on personality profiles focused on Idealism but high scores on alienation. Violence usually triggered by an incident or event and usually directed at a specific target or location. Fascination with guns and destruction can also exist. Absence of a higher belief system or altruistic ideals usually present. May also have a history of prior criminal or antisocial behavior as a child. Poor school grades. Alienation from family. Not seen as a "good kid" by peers. Usually always male.
2. Motivated by Idealism (Hamas profile): Usually perpetrated by an idealist, someone who is not generally anti-social or has a deep fascination with guns. Events of violence generally directed toward a broad rather than a specific target. More focused on making a statement rather than murder or mayhem. Violence not triggered by a precipitating event or seeking personal revenge but more for attention for a higher cause. Personality profile of a person with a deep belief system. Generally good student, not alienated from peers or family. May not be always male.
3. Motivated by delusions (Jewish Community Center shooting Los Angeles): Usually perpetrated by someone with a history of mental illness. Violence can be triggered by a delusional belief system focused on an imaginary persecutor. May also be out for revenge resulting from hearing voices to kill or belief that individual has been chosen by "god or CIA" to carry out a secret mission. May also have a history of religious preoccupation. History of poor grades in school. Poor peer relationships.
Psychologist and media commentator Robert R. Butterworth, Ph.D., has assisted radio, TV, and print media since 1984 find answers and provide insight to enhance understanding of psychological issues on a variety of topics. Dr. Butterworth has conducted extensive surveys focused on children and youth, social, political and trauma issues. His comments, observations and op-ed articles have appeared in most of the major newspapers in the United States and worldwide. He is seen quite often on NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and CNN network news especially during monumental events such as violence, disasters and youth tragedies.
Appearances also include ABC's "Nightline," and "This Week," CNN's "Larry King Live," NBC's "Oprah," "Dateline NBC," and "Good Morning America," "CBS This Morning," "The O'Reilly Factor," "Extra," "Entertainment Tonight" and many network talk and news programs. He is also featured as a psychology expert in various documentaries seen on Discovery, the History Channel, E! Entertainment and the Learning Channel. Dr. Butterworth also serves as a psychology expert for public relations organizations and is a past consultant for TEEN Magazine.
-- Board Certified Traumatic Stress, Diplomate: American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. -- Board Certified Diplomate Fellow in Forensic Sciences: International College of Prescribing Psychologists. -- Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist Certification: American Board for the Accreditation and Certification of Psychoanalysis, New York. Psychologist License: State of California.