Suicide by Plane, Terrorism and Mentally Ill Young Men “Suicide-Slayers”

Mentally ill young men who kill others and themselves dominate the headlines as mass murderers.  Whether the young men claim folklore-religious, or political “reasons” or make other delusional claims, they are likely suffering from a very severe brain disorder symptomatic as a murderous psychosis.  It is unlikely any sort of cultural explanation of mental illness and it’s symptoms are more useful than medical biological ones.

Certainly, supernatural-religious explanations for violent behavior are probably wrong.  All behavior is caused by the brain.  Harmful behavior is defined as a symptom of always, mainly genetic, brain disorder.

The pilot who crashed the plane had a severe mental illness, by definition.

Murder and Suicide are Symptoms of a Medical Condition

I posted earlier about the medical history of “Jihadi John – The Accidental Terrorist” where he had a severe concussion at 6 and his behavior deteriorated as he matured. Killing of others and oneself seems the core symptom of these very disturbed young men.

It appears that for very, very few young men their brain disorders get expressed in public mass killings. A recent study highlights that gun violence is primarily a suicide problem of older men. Thus, the majority of people who die, in America, from gun violence are older men killing themselves. Thus, there is a not uncommon syndrome of the disordered male brain to kill.

What Can Be Done?


A public health prevention approach is the best one we have to death prevention – of any kind. Epidemiology studies the medical history, leading up to an illness. The first place to look is in the family history and possible symptoms there. Again, any behavioral problems in the family are symptoms of genetic disorders.

As with any public health problem – a medical history is always the place to start and the best factbase.

About the Author
Elmer Rich is interested in evidence-based problem-solving in professional, business and policy work. With an M.S. in Lifespan Developmental Psychology from University of Chicago, he works as a professional marketer and communicator in B2B/technical topics in financial services.