The masked man was hiding a pistol: No one noticed. Even if someone noticed, that was of no use. The twenty four year old young man gate crashed: He forced his entry into the crowded cinema hall and started firing indiscriminately. That ended in the death of thirteen people and serious injuries to more than fifty others. The cruel drama lasted for a few minutes. By that time the Police caught hold of him and questioned: He was James Eagan Holmes: He got the gun from the arms stocked in his apartment. He wanted to test the power of the gun: He wanted to reenergise his shooting skill. For this he chose the nearby cinema theatre and carried out his mission successfully.
Not a scene from a serial in the visual media, this one is. It is a real story that took place at Aurora, Colorado, US on 20th of July 2012. Mr. Holmes was not a known criminal; he was not a religious fanatic; he did not belong to any quotation gang, and he was also not lunatic in that sense. But he became momentarily aggressive, provoked by the easy availability of the firearms in his vicinity.
Aggressive behavior involves impulsive, angry, violent and harmful actions. It would be unpredictable because the behavior erupts without tangible provocations. Aggressive behavior may involve verbal or physical or both verbal and physical abuses. The abuser subjects the abused in manners that vary in intensity and hurt. Using abusive language, displaying facial expression of hate and dislike, clasping hands frequently, screaming, shouting, pulling, pushing, kicking, hitting, biting, beating and even killing are variants of aggressive behavior. When these symptoms are observed in the behavior pattern of an individual, it is clear indication that the person concerned is a victim of aggressive behavior.
Why certain individuals become emotional, behave lunatically, abuse others, act aggressively and get provoked without irritants? That too, when majority of the people among the society behaves harmoniously and lives life peacefully? It is pervasive and extraordinary. The perpetrators of such behavior have turned themselves away from what is right or what is good. If anybody is responsible for such behaviors, the perpetrators themselves are responsible for their mental aberrations.
A section of Anthropologists have come up with a theory that aggressive behavior is a genealogical trait passed on from generation to generations in the course of Evolution:
About two to three millions of years back in time, humans started hunting other animals for food. During those days, persons managing one group always had to fight others who venture into their territory. Thus became aggressive behavior a trait. Professor of Research, Robert Sussman of Washington University, was among those who strongly propagated the theory of genealogical factors. But later studies and experiments conducted on various subjects disproved the theory of genealogy. The scientists have proved that genes play minuscule role in aggressive behavior: Besides, any impartial search will establish that the forefathers of persons of aggressive behavior never used to be aggressive in any manner. It proves that the mental aberration of aggressive behavior has its roots in the environs, – almost always, the external environs.
Mind is the sum total of the cognitive functions of the brain: Cognitive action starts with sensation and reach the stage of memory through perception, conception and judgement. The whole process happens through excitation of the nerve cells. The process of excitation is controlled by permanent and temporary nerve connections. Permanent nerve connections are called unconditioned reflexes and the temporary one is called conditioned reflexes. Excitation and inhibition take place in response to stimuli that reach the sensory centres from internal and or external environs. Continuous excitation results in loss of nerve energy. In order to recoup lost energy, nerve cells pass on to inactive state of inhibition by the pull of reflex action.
Inhibition that takes place in sensory centres would spread to the entire brain and to the body as a whole. Such state of total inhibition is natural sleep. Sleep can also be induced artificially. Sleep, whether natural or artificial, does not take place all of a sudden: Between wakefulness and sleep there is some period of time which is neither sleep nor wakefulness. Faculty of reasoning becomes faltered, deflected or absent during the in-between period of partial inhibition.
That represents a particular phase of brain activity and it is called hypnotic phase. Depending upon the nature of response to stimuli, the partial or incomplete inhibitory state is classified into five significant phases. They are Equalizing phase, Paradoxical phase, Ultra paradoxical phase, Narcotic phase and Total inhibitory phase. In paradoxical phase brain responds to small and weak stimuli with extra-ordinary stronger reactions. Aggressive behavior of persons who lead wayward life is the product of brain response during paradoxical hypnotic phase.
Excessive use of narcotic drugs and alcohol lead the wayward into semiconscious, dreamy state of incomplete inhibitory condition of the hypnotic phase all through the day and night. Those who are brain washed by preachers of religion and religious texts would fall prey to different states of hypnotic phases. Persons among dedicated followers of political ideologies would be led to hypnotic phase by the speeches of political ideologues. In such situations the brain activity of persons whose upbringing has history of violence at home and neighborhood, persons who are victims of physical or sexual abuses, persons who are unemployed, poverty-ridden or divorced and persons in whose premises there is stockpile of arms and ammunition, frequently reach paradoxical hypnotic phase. As a consequence, any small provocation, any message, any call, any mischievous media-report will turn them to violent and cruel aggressive actions. Desire to make easy money will make them thieves and looters. Religious fanatics of particular faith will kill and annihilate followers of other religious faiths. Followers of one political party will attack followers of another political party.
Aggressive behaviour is serious menace. Left uncontrolled, it may create havoc among societies and communities; it may destroy Nation-State structures. Remedy for this malady lies in rehabilitating the persons and groups inflicted by aggressive behaviour. Local bodies, Government machinery and NGOs have to play their active role in identifying and rehabilitating the persons involved. Religious preachers, Political leaders and the Media have to be brought in line with what is good for the people and what is right for the Country.