Tasteless Speculation of the Day: Jan 5, 2011

I will use this post to make another tasteless, but interesting, speculation. As you know, I am interested in analyzing scenarios that are not yet common but have the potential to become so due to changes in human society, culture and technological capabilities.

Is it possible to convert most cases of suicide into suicide-multiple homicides?

Don’t be so shocked.. Few could have foreseen the barbarity of the Irish “famine”, WW1, Stalin-ism, the Ukrainian “famine”, Japanese occupation of Manchuria, the Holocaust, WW2 etc. History shows us that otherwise normal human beings are perfectly capable of rationalizing behavior and actions which now shock us.

Getting back to the subject under discussion- the starting point for the idea mentioned in this post is based on the simple fact that a person who is willing to die has nothing to lose. There is, therefore, nothing to stop a person from killing scores more before he kills himself. So let us, then, analyze the feasibility of normalizing suicide-homicides in our era.

While psychiatrists (aka quacks with prescription pads) might tell you that people who commit suicide are “mentally ill”, objective facts suggest otherwise. Socio-economic factors such as unemployment, poverty, homelessness, discrimination and biological ones such as untreated pain and terminal diseases are strongly associated with a vastly increased risk of suicide. Did you notice two common themes in all of those conditions?

The first one is hopelessness. People who are hopeful about the future do not contemplate or commit suicide. You have to first stop believing in the possibility of a better future to be able to even think about suicide.

The other common theme is that apathy, neglect and abuse by others is strongly linked to suicide. Whether it is unemployment, poverty, untreated or poorly treated pain or abuse and exploitation by the surrounding social system- the attitudes and actions of others are, by far, the most important factors that drive people to suicide.

Now let us put two and two together and ask the inevitable question-

Would it not be fitting if a person tortured, mutilated and killed the kids and grand-kids of those who were responsible for creating the conditions leading to his suicide? What can law and society do to a person without hope who is willing to kill himself?

Why not destroy the comfort and hope of those who drove the person to suicide in the first place?

This is not a trivial question, because doing so ensures that those who hurt the person in question can never harm anybody else again. Moreover targeting the so-called “innocent” kids and grand-kids of those who hurt the concerned person is significantly easier and far more effective than taking out the active perpetrators. Since most people nowadays have only one or two rather late in life, their gruesome death almost guarantees a catastrophic and irreversible disruption of the targeted persons life. Even a half-successful attempt would maim and cripple them beyond repair.

Think about it.. Could a middle management-type be the same again if somebody left his kids severed heads outside his office? Could a professor be able to keep on abusing graduate students if his kids or grand-kids were burnt alive? Could a physician afford to be a prick if his kids were beaten to death by the somebody before he killed himself. I could go on.. but you get my point.

Some of you might wonder- why is it more likely to occur now rather than in previous and probably more barbaric eras?

The answer lies in a host of social and technological changes which have occurred in the last 40-odd years. Even 5 decades ago, strong family and community bonds universally prevented people from acting on their more sadistic impulses- at least against their own kith, kin and community. Religious bullshit and social conformity also probably hindered people from doing such things.

Today we live in an atomized society with no loyalties, sense of belonging or anything else that might hinder such behavior. Moreover in the last decade and a half, we also live in an information and communication rich world which has the very important effect of removing false hope. It is hard for people to believe in traditional institutions of stability be they stable marriage, friendships, community or livelihoods. Consequently it is also hard to believe in the idea of a better future, even if most people do so only at a subconscious level- at least for now. We live in a world where it is obvious that everybody is out to get everybody else in a zero sum, winner-take-all, game. Few believe that promises or contracts are meant to be honored at any level. More importantly this has become common knowledge and experience. These factors, especially their scale and combination, unprecedented in human history.

The speed of information and idea travel are the final piece of this puzzle. In previous era, the powers-to-be could stop or distort news and messages. That is no longer the case and we have reached the stage where the actions of one person, under certain conditions, could start a whole cascade of effects which would be essentially uncontrollable. Did I mention that it is basically impossible to identify the successful spark until it is too late..

What do you think? Does my prediction that suicide-multiple homicides will become common in the near future have any merit? Do you think that the current social setup will unwittingly end up normalizing such behavior?


  1. January 5, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Does my prediction that suicide-multiple homicides will become common in the near future have any merit? Do you think that the current social setup will unwittingly end up normalizing such behavior?

    Mark Ames beat you to the answer — in his book Going Postal, he argued that school and workplace shootings are modern-day slave revolts, the result of systemic dehumanization in grade school education and anti-worker policies that began with the Reagan administration. Will write a review of that book one day.

    I have read that book. It is the scale of what will occur that will be most people still cannot imagine.

  2. Columnist
    January 6, 2012 at 12:37 am

    If you attack children, you will be attacked in prison.

  3. January 6, 2012 at 1:19 am

    “Do you think that the current social setup will unwittingly end up normalizing such behavior?”

    Maybe the effect will appear few years from now, not right now.

    • January 6, 2012 at 1:20 am

      Didn’t the effects of Reaganomics appear in this decade only?

  4. G.Bush
    January 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

    The next big step will be kidnappings. South american style. There is money in it. The mad killer is and will remain rare.

    PS People are kidnapping pets these days. Next the local car dealers daughter.

  5. Matt Strictland
    January 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Columnist :
    If you attack children, you will be attacked in prison.

    Not really. The grade of convict isn’t what it used to be. A fair number of the felons today might cheer you depending on politics .Also dead men (and women) who suicide can’t be attacked.

    I do suspect that a large scale wave of murder suicides would only cause the state to double down on oppression, this might not help and in fact a well targeted spate of murder suicides , Amok, as they call it in the Philippines 200-300 a day might enact real change. Bad change probably but change.

    Also Bob Heinlein suggested the same thing (with water towers and rifles) back in1980 in Number of the Beast

  6. Ryu
    January 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    You’re right about that – winner take all. There is no second place. Many gruesome things are on the way. The cartels and their brutality will come. The negros and their mobbings will worsen. The police state and their work camps. But this is part of the great cycle of history. The PUAs and their ilk will run, others will fight. This happened before and will happen in the future.

    “It was not part of their blood, It came to them very late, With long arrears to make good, When the Saxon began to hate. They were not easily moved, They were icy – willing to wait Till every count should be proved, Ere the Saxon began to hate.

    Their voices were even and low. Their eyes were level and straight. There was neither sign nor show When the Saxon began to hate.

    It was not preached to the crowd. It was not taught by the state. No man spoke it aloud When the Saxon began to hate. It was not suddenly bred. It will not swiftly abate. Through the chilled years ahead, When Time shall count from the date That the Saxon began to hate.”

  7. AC
    January 7, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Will never happen. Courage died along with social cohesion. Aggression has become passive aggression.

  8. P Ray
    July 4, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Why not destroy the comfort and hope of those who drove the person to suicide in the first place?
    Somewhat related, but the funny thing about this is, bullies couldn’t give a damn about the people they step on – it is all part of a “quickly forgotten social ritual, designed to help people come together by identifying a person to be exploited or abused”.
    I figure someone being treated this way, there are lots of “passive” ways to react to get back at the larger mass of society, of course while remaining anonymous:
    – barbed wire at neck level in parks
    – camouflaged explosive packages on or under rocks in hiking trails
    – adhesive coated CDs
    – liquefied peanuts injected into everyday condiments

    but those are just off the top of my head. Of course, these have all been reported, worldwide as “the work of a sick person” … realising it is about revenge towards others that either stood by or participated in bullying … is not an idea “contemporary” society dares to acknowledge.

    After all, according to Francis Fukuyama, we are at “the end of history”

  1. January 18, 2012 at 2:00 am

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