Great story. Thanks for sharing a great perspective.
Nature of the beat
11

Joe,

It’s a theory of human value.

(I’ll go ahead and leave the spelling correction and parenthetical comment as is, to give readers the context of the writing, if it’s not a bother. Your word play, unfortunately, passed right by me.)

Regarding your question, you may want to look up the topic ‘amok’. It’s a Maylasian word that addresses the motives of individuals that commit crimes of mass violence and murder. Surely, an expert on ‘amok’ will be a better source than my recollection, but I think the gist of it is such:

It’s a theory of human value.

In many cultures, we are encouraged by various vectors to consider and embrace that we are all equals in total value, that every human life has a sum value of 1, and that this is the most important of the values, if we must have a value assignment at all, /especially/ in ‘the eyes of the law.’ It’s a central tenet of the American justice system and most of the hollering we find in the news, and sometimes in our face, has to do less with challenging that tenet, but in how we fail it.

For the individual who goes ‘amok’, though, the violation of value is multiplied many, many times. Feeling rejected, devalued, dehumanized and/or debased by family, friends or society, this individual’s conception of value has descended to the level of a /body count/.

Their calculus is simple: “I will almost certainly die, or I will commit suicide after these acts, so society’s score will be 1, my life, but my score will be greater, perhaps many times that. I win.”

Of course, the rationalization of such an individual is immoral in the extreme, disgusting and repugnant, but I suspect that ‘amok’ individuals aren’t really insane, per se.

Actually looking into the research and writings on ‘amok’ by people who are experts on the topic may reveal what I’m missing about it’s essence, but this is the takeaway I remember.

(Edited for accuracy.)

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