No rhyme or reason: The shootings in Kalamazoo, MI

A booking photo of Jason Dalton in Kalamazoo. Photograph: Handout/Reuters

A booking photo of Jason Dalton in Kalamazoo. Photograph: Handout/Reuters

Jason Dalton was recently arrested for the killing of six people, and the wounding of two. The first incident seems to have taken place at about 6pm on Saturday 20th, Feb, near Meadows Townhomes in north-east Kalamazoo, where a woman who was babysitting was shot many times in a parking lot; she is currently in critical condition, but the children were all unharmed. The second incident, also in a parking lot, took place four hours later, where a father and son were gunned down. Fifteen minutes later, there was another shooting at a nearby Cracker Barrel restaurant, where four women were killed in cold blood.

Paul Matyas, Kalamazoo County undersheriff,  told WWMT, “There’s usually a rhyme or reason to it. In this particular case, we’re not finding that. Hopefully when we interview the individual he’ll disclose that to us.”

Even though there doesn’t appear to be a motive – an absence of a link between victims and no known criminal history or affiliation of Dalton, the reason could point to a brain abnormality or mal-development, such as a tumor pressing on the hypothalamus, as was the case with Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower Sniper. This case also reflects, although not to the extent of the meticulous planning involved, the activity of the Washington Sniper, John Allen Muhammed. While there was perhaps an ideological, or radicalized bent to Muhammed’s shootings, they also appeared random at first.

There are biological anomalies that can occur that can make people antisocial; this can happen with frontal lobe dementia and other conditions that result from tissue deterioration in the prefrontal cortex – an area known for controlling impulses and annealing the powerful desires promulgated from the limbic areas. The fact that Dalton was caught driving erratically beforehand as a driver for Uber, also points towards an abnormality in the frontal lobe.

It may turn out that these events were planned and were to justify an ideological end point, or we may find through a brain scan that Dalton has a condition.

The trouble is, we need our killers to have motives, because then we can know we are different from them, and our sense of self can escape unscathed. A lack of motive is unsettling, and diminishes the distance between us and them. This need is probably how ‘evil’ slipped into the world.

 

For more information please see:

The Guardian: Suspect in Kalamazoo shootings that killed six was Uber driver, firm says

 

 

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