NOT RACE, BUT MENTAL ILLNESS: the classic mixture of explosive personality disorder with psychotic features – the phenotype that is George Zimmerman. By L Edward Davis MD
There was a ticking time bomb that eventually exploded. There were hints of this pathology that surfaced prior to the cataclysmic eruption. Most persons who have deep seated rage, insecurity and paranoia show early signs of their real potential. Loners, who keep to themselves, are often sociopathic unless they are just really shy. This is often overlooked, especially in settings where the perpetrator is the son of a legal official or judge, as was the case here. The violence began obviously much earlier as depicted by the case reported in the home town of Manassas, Virginia. Details of this encounter are therefore important, but it seems that “connections” or privilege have allowed this episode to be not readily available or to be even removed from files. So, the third most important progenitor of this tragic murder is unfortunately, privilege. Yes. Being the son of a judge can deter interventions that would have been otherwise set in motion once the violence became a legal issue. But connections kept Mr. Zimmerman out of the radar of those whose job is to prosecute or even place in treatment those who have anger management issues.
Persons with psychotic features are attracted to power as a means of compensation for a profound emotional insecurity. Narcissism or egotism can result and the person feels compelled to fulfill his desire to make his presence felt or known to others. Despite the ambition the psychosis makes the person not too grounded or sound in the thought processes. There is a thought disorder making the person extremely reactionary and violence prone. This profound self hatred is projected onto others. The insecurity makes them feel compelled to subjugate others in order for them to feel important. Profound insecurity or lack of insight is the real motivation of the mentally ill. Thwarted ambitions also increase insecurity. Some display OCD or obsessive compulsive features.
A classic example of the decompensation that was already underway with Mr. Zimmerman is the actual assault on a police officer. Intoxication with alcohol or drugs can make one temporarily mentally ill to assault someone that has a gun. That was “crazy” of him. Anger or rage can also make one do foolish things since anger is controlled by the autonomic nervous system which is involved in primitive fight or flight survival. Anger and thoughtfulness are polar opposites. Those quick to anger are slow to reflect or think. Personal accounts of this behavior by co-workers and others corroborate these tendencies in this individual. In fact he was fired from a job for being too aggressive. His predatory features came on display with the aggression being directed to a defenseless, intoxicated female. His girlfriend also was assaulted. Predators prey on the weak, or unarmed as the victim in this case was. If his felony charges had not been cleared of his record he could not have been able to carry a gun legally. This is a serious flaw in this case and the system in general.
Additionally, with his history, and his father being in the legal field, this man did not have to resort to more traditional modes of violence seeking like other psychopaths. He appointed himself the guardian of his neighborhood as a façade or smoke screen for his craving for control and violence that was beginning to manifest. His decompensation mentally was in full sway at this point. Bizarre behavior should have been increasing and noticed by some. Serial killers are anxious to make a kill to make themselves feel powerful, in control and important. This is why he did not back down when the 911 officer told him to. He was anxious to use his position as the neighborhood watchman to stalk and ultimately to kill somebody. It just happened to be Trayvon. Females, homeless or others deemed outcast by society are the favorite targets of serial killers. Violence then can be seen as weakness. Violence becomes a defense mechanism for those who feel profoundly insecure. Unfortunately we live in a world where insecurity is fostered and cultivated. Tribal society was crucial in providing real nurturing for the emotionally insecure and immature. People are important to act as a grounding mechanism for ones thoughts or ideas. “Common” is the root word for community, common sense and communicate. Each of these in turn is an important feature that those predisposed only develop less of, in a world where individuals are encouraged to not mingle with others. The violence will therefore only get worse as we continue to promote a world devoid of real community. Isolation is the breeding ground for learning to be insane.
All police departments should be wary of individuals who want to appoint themselves as some form of police officer. Most persons who do so get arrested for impersonating an officer. Many cases are in the records of power mad, violence prone persons using fake badges, sirens and even lights to carry out their delusions of power. Inadequate funding for enough police will only create more cases where citizens are used to do professionals work.
Paranoia and delusion were at work when he spotted Trayvon. He even seemed to be rationalizing why he should stalk the victim. “Something is wrong with him” is what he said about Trayvon to the dispatcher. This is a profound observation with subtle implications for he in fact was projecting himself onto Trayvon. Insane persons have no insight but project onto others.
The presence of psychotic decompensation with paranoia, delusions combined with additional features of explosive personality disorder, created the setting that led to this tragic event. Privilege is a factor, along with living in a society that has removed the only deterrent and treatment for the profoundly immature or insecure. It is not medication, nor incarceration. Incarceration is not preventative, nor curative for that matter. Community is the only real prevention for such tragedies. Inadequate socialization or concern for others is the norm we have created. We have the royals to thank for destroying community in Europe, then the rest of the world. Their mental illness and quest for power through violence has separated and divided us all and pitted each against each other. There are no races. Black “race” or white “race” is pathetically non descript. The royals therefore created racism or races. Human beings are niniety nine percent the same genetically. Communities of tribes are the only real diversity that exists. We worship God or the creator who had us all living in such communities or tribes. Yet we now worship the royals and emperors who attempted out of narcissistic egotism to create a world in their own image. Only the psychotic think they are God. The psychotic feel they have the right to take life, when they can’t even create it. Those with the right combination of features or illness, actually enjoy killing. It makes them feel like somebody. It is compensation for weakness of insight and inner strength. Maybe one day we will understand that all violence has roots in weakness and cowardice. Cowards fight to defend aagainst ssaults to or to uplift their weak self images, not for self defense, as was claimed in this case. Pray for healing. Pray for Trayvon’s family and also pray for the Zimmermans who have a terrible illness in their family.
Pray for psychiatry and the criminal justice system, too. For they have this notion that psychosis is all or nothing. There is no disease that does not have variations in intensity. Psychosis, like all diseases, has precursor states – mild cases all the way to severe. Those with mild diabetes are given medical treatment, as should those with mild mental illness. Therefore there are many persons who have psychotic features but are still not severe enough to be incapacitating or to the point where “they do not know right from wrong.” The most dangerous persons are those with explosive personality disorder and have some features of psychosis. Those who have full blown psychosis are in fact less dangerous due to a lack of ability to function. It is consequently reactionary violence that is being perpetrated in the name of justice against people who are in fact mentally ill. Reactionaries have difficulty in looking at the causes of a behavior, be it mental illness or cultural deprivation. Someone said, “love your enemies”. Perhaps he realized that hatred and enmity have roots in mental illness or self hatred. If you get angry at someone who is angry, then you only create destruction or war. The elderly and women chose all chiefs in Native culture. Women and mature persons generally are the thinkers. Respect is due to “primitive” culture. Mental illness is therefore everywhere. It is being cultivated and promulgated. Mass insanity and violence will ensue and escalate if someone does not begin to think. The department of corrections should be called the department of “reinforcement” or “intensification” for increasing pathological behaviors. Rehabilitation must be for victims and perpetrators. Moses and South American tribes made restitution part of the healing or “punitive” process. Currently, it is mandatory to remove the dangerous from the general population but let’s also require that wages earned in prison go to the victims or their families to help real healing and not just provide revenge. Moses said that if you steal a man’s sheep, you owe him two in return. Jailing for punishment can be non productive and as some statistics show, it can be counterproductive. Who are we to punish? Are we playing God? Is it reactionary and violent on our parts?
If we really want to prevent crime, we must have the maturity and courage to look for solutions wherever they may exist. If not, then you may actually be a part of the problem. Serious problems require looking at them differently, especially if current methods are not working.
On the other hand, The Phenome Project is now able to define those at increased risk for mental illness and violence. It should be a requirement that all persons who seek to be in position to use violence against others be evaluated using the current methods that have proven to be much more objective and accurate with regard to identifying such persons. This includes those who apply to be policemen or other law enforcement agents. Until we have a more ideal society, it is necessary to use all tools available to prevent deaths. We are offering a real, tangible method of saving future lives from unnecessary early death like the one of Trayvon Martin. Please contact your legislators to help us in our efforts to become a source for evaluation of violence potential in individuals.