Are Lone Wolves More Likely to Be Psychopathic?

On Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 10:08 P.M., shots were fired in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest festival, an outdoor country music concert. Police said that the gunman aimed and fired at a crowd of approximately 22,000 people from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. As a result of the massive shooting, 59 people died, including the gunman himself. The shooting stopped at 10:19 P.M.

The gunman identified as Stephen Paddock, a 64 year old man, who was “not an avid gun guy at all,” according to one of his brothers. Paddock was described as a frequent gambler who lived in a quiet retirement community and played golf. Officials stated that he had no past criminal records and drew very little attention to himself. Investigators are trying to figure out what set Paddock off to commit the mass shooting.

“He just seemed like a normal guy,” said Mr. Famiglietti, the owner of the store where Paddock purchased his guns. “We obviously did not sell him these firearms with the intent that he would use them to hurt anyone in any way.” Paddock’s girlfriend Marilou Danley, who recently came back to the states from her trip to the Philippines will be questioned for further information by officials.

It is unknown whether or not Paddock was diagnosed to be a psychopath, but according to The New York Post, Paddock’s father was a psychopath and was on FBI’s Most Wanted List. Planning massive killing sprees has been linked to traits of psychopathy. Psychopaths are stereotypically seen as lone wolves in popular culture, but are lone wolves more likely to be psychopathic?

Psychopathy isn’t so cut and dry and contains many complex layers. Media often portrays a psychopath as the neurotic lone wolf shooter who has a breaking point when they finally lash out onto others. They take the lives of others in order to cope with their oppression. Much of the behavior is linked to childhood trauma. However, psychopathic behavior can also be triggered environmentally.

There is always two sides to a coin though. Psychopaths can also blend into society very well. They can climb the social ladder to gain power through title, whether it be in occupations as doctors, lawyers, politicians, businessmen, or any other socially favored career. This type of psychopath exploits others’ emotional weaknesses while working within the confines of the system. High-functioning psychopaths are less likely to irrationally victimize those around them; whereas, neurotic psychopaths have a higher likelihood to take part in violence.

Although psychopaths are often portrayed as lone wolves in society, there is no direct link or causation as to whether or not lone wolf behaviors and tendencies produce more likelihood of psychopathy. It is also important to note that mental disorders do not increase the likelihood of violence. People who are not diagnosed with mental illnesses are just as capable of committing awful crimes.

According to Mental Health, many people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people diagnosed with mental illness are not violent and only 3-5% of violent acts can be held responsible to those with a severe case of mental illness. The most we can ever do for others is try to understand them, especially during hard times, rather than point fingers and create generalizations that only perpetuate the cycle of stigmas revolving around mental disorders.

What are your thoughts on psychopathy? Do you think lone wolves get a bad rep in general? And how do you think we can address the issue moving forward? Leave a comment down below!

 

References:

Everett, S. (2014, October 29). The Lone Wolf: Psychopaths and Capitalism. Retrieved October 4, 2017.

Gunman’s Girlfriend Arrives in U.S. and Is Expected to Be Questioned. (2017, October 4). The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2017.

Jaeger, M. (2017, October 2). Vegas Gunman’s ‘Psychopath’ Dad Landed on FBI’s Most-Wanted List. The New York Post. Retrieved October 4, 2017.

Las Vegas shooting: What We Know. (2017, October 3). CNN. Retrieved October 4, 2017.

Mental Health Myths and Facts. (2017). Retrieved October 4, 2017, from mentalhealth.gov

2 Comments

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    • Hi Bernss, thanks so much for reading. =) Yes, I definitely agree with you that lone wolves need a support system they can turn to for help, whether that means going to their friends, family, coworker, or a counselor. Compassion is vital and key when trying to close gaps of misunderstandings that are created, which in turn, only causes them to isolate even more. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! I hope you have a great day!

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Written by Catherine Huang

Catherine Huang graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BA in English. She has a penchant for storytelling, ramen, and psychology. Catherine is a writer for Psych2Go and looks forward to reaching out to its growing community, hoping to encourage others to tap into self-examination and confront life's challenges head on with the most difficult questions.

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