Could an external locus of control be a contributing factor why individuals commit mass shootings?
I have the terrible habit of blaming the world for my mishaps and problems. It’s easy to fall into self-pity than take responsibility. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who does this.
USCB Shooter’s Manifesto
You’ve probably heard about the UCSB killer and his rampage, but his anger and thoughts aren’t unusual. From scanning his manifesto, he had bouts of inferiority, envy, jealousy, and low self-esteem. I’ve had these feelings before and had similar thoughts of violence. I never acted on them because prison is not a viable option. Also, murder is something that would never leave my mind.
External Locus of Control
The theme that stuck out in his manifesto was his external locus of control. A person who has an external locus of control believes that the events in an individual’s life, whether good or bad, are caused by uncontrollable factors such as the environment, other people, or a higher power. In contrast, someone who has an internal locus of control believes that events, whether good or bad, are caused by controllable factors such as one’s attitude, preparation, or effort.
Internal Locus of Control
Individuals who have an internal locus of control can take responsibility for their mistakes, are self-starters, and can deal with criticism.
I had a hard time developing a locus of control because I liked being right and I hated being wrong. A few humbly events here and there forced me to understand that there will always be someone better. It was a hard truth to swallow, but it made my personal and social life better.
Huntsville Shooting and Amy Bishop
There are other stories where the perpetrator felt like the world owed them something. Do you remember the 2010 University of Alabama in Huntsville shooting? It was the case where Amy Bishop, a biology professor, shot six faculty members because the university denied her tenure. Three professors died, and three others lived.
I’ve felt rage and violence over work positions I was passed over. Similar to Amy Bishop, I thought if something terrible happened to the person that received the job I wanted, then my life would be better. In hindsight, moping about a position I didn’t get added unnecessary stress and depression to my life. I learned that I wanted the job for egotistical reasons, not because I liked it.
How Did They Fall Through the Cracks?
The UCSB shootings and 2010 University of Alabama-Huntsville shootings are horrific. It’s obvious these people had mental issues and no useful coping skills. The unfortunate part of these events is how did we let these people fall through the cracks? It’s hard to force adults to receive help or enter mental institutions, but what does this say about our society? Are we gun freaks? Do we stigmatize psychological illness? Are we spoiling our kids? Do we pressure males to be ideals of masculinity? Do we overlook women violence?
There are many questions and so few answers.