Low Self-Esteem: Universal Cause of All Suffering and Mass Shootings

February 16, 2018


A negative view of self can lead to suicide attempts, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, promiscuity, the list goes on and on of various acts of self-destruction including mass shootings. The universal common denominator that is most significant to the connection of problems and suffering: low self-esteem.


Could we say that 19 years old, Nicola Cruz who opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida killing 17 students and teachers on Valentine’s Day Wednesday, February 14, 2018, had low self-esteem and the makeup of a killer? According to Jim Fallon, Neuroscientist at the University of California-Irvine, a killer must have three main ingredients.


The distresses of low self-esteem depend on the role it plays in a person’s life such as genetics, physical, and environment.



Harvard University concluded that approximately 50% of individuals who had biological parents who were battling depression also developed symptoms including a pattern of suicidal thoughts, prior to reaching the age of 20.

Ingredient #1 of a killer- This is a low activity orbital cortex, the area involves ethical behavior, moral decision-making, and impulse control. If the orbital cortex is not performing properly it puts a brake on another part of the brain called the amygdala, which is involved with aggression and appetites and drives your id-type behaviors like rage, violence, eating sex, and drinking. 




Studies show that certain chemical imbalances can bring about the onset of mood dysregulation when there is decreased levels of the chemical serotonin, one’s mood can become highly disturbed, potentially resulting in suicidal thoughts.

Ingredient #2 of a killer- MAO-A gene aka"warrior gene" because it regulates serotonin in the brain. Serotonin affects your mood high levels of the warrior gene, your brain won't respond to the calming effects of serotonin or medication to treat depression.



Dysfunctional homes where lack of love, support, and nurturing can result in the delayed emotional development and a lack of appropriate coping skills. Being the victim of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse can provoke feelings of helplessness and a destroyed sense of self-worth, both of which can lead to thoughts of suicide and depression.

Ingredient # 3: The person has experienced abuse or violence in one's childhood.



We do know that Cruz suffered from depression, bullying, was adopted, and recently had a death of a loved one.

Let's look at the Vegas mass shooting where 64 years old Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured more than 800 others when he fired a hail of bullets from his high-rise suite at the Mandalay Bay casino-hotel on Oct. 1, 2017. He then committed suicide before police officers arrived at his hotel room. Paddock reported to his doctor that he felt ill and sick and was recently prescribed anxiety medication over the summer. Authorities did find child pornography in Paddock’s possession.


The F.B.I. defines a "mass killing" as the killing of three or more people in a public place. Mass killings are a form of suicide where the individual intends to die at the scene of the massacre confirming the increase in mass killings over the years and the increase in suicide.


According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been a total of 30 mass shooting incidents have occurred as of February 14, including Wednesday's school shooting in Florida.


According to Jack Gibbs’s theory, the shooter’s likelihood of committing suicide or suicide by cop appears to be 1.16 times higher for each additional victim that is killed. The guilt, shame, rage, and self-loathing generated by active shooters who kill random victims may be even more overwhelming than the feelings experienced by offenders who kill a subset of victims at a specific location. They are therefore more likely to engage in “self-punishment” via suicide or suicide by cop.


Besides killing more victims, active shooters who arm themselves with more weapons are possibly fueled by a more powerful sense of “injustice” and hopelessness than other active shooters. For each additional weapon, a rampage shooter brings to the crime scene, his or her likelihood of dying is 1.76 times higher. Paddock had a total of 17 rifles in his room.


If you know of a teen that is suicidal or if you, yourself, feel suicidal, having suicidal thoughts and feel trapped and like you have no one to , call a suicide hotline (1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800273-8255 and seek professional help.


Self-esteem and emotional resilience are keys to disabling thoughts and attempts of suicide.


You cannot be forced to live a good life, it's all by choice. – Kimesha Coleman


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