The world was left shocked on July 8th 2022 when former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, during the course of a campaign speech, was shot twice by 41-year old Tetsuya Yamagami, a former sailor in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Forces. Abe, a leader who was adored in Japan and respected the world over, would later succumb to the his wounds.
Shocking as the assassination itself may have been—even more so because of Japan’s relatively low rate of firearms violence—what was truly revealing was Yamagami’s statement to the police. He stated that he believed that there was a link between Abe and the Unification Church, a religious body that Tamagami despised because they allegedly “brainwashed” his mother and caused her to go bankrupt.
A History of Delusion
It is not uncommon or unreasonable for any individual to hold some degree of resentment or even hatred for a public figure—especially heads of governments—but for these emotions to actually fuel violent acts such as assassinations is not common. Usually, when it happens, it turns out to be either politically motivated or the result of deep-seated psychoses. Sometimes, one may give rise to the other.
To any logical person, Shinzo Abe had no discernible link to the misfortunes faced by Yamagami’s mother. However, it is quite clear that this was a delusional man who found it convenient to find a tangible target for his hate and frustrations. It is not uncommon for the mentally unstable to fixate on a popular personality—actors, musicians, politicians—and build fantasies around them. In some cases, they could even be completely convinced that they are in a real relationship with the object of their fantasies.
Linking Violence & Mental Illness
It is a compelling field of study for psychiatrists to determine why certain forms of mental illness manifests itself through violence.
Eric B Elbogen, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University states that while it is relatively rare for those plagued by mental illness to turn to violence, it does happen and is often linked to long-term adverse experiences which may even be traced back to the subject’s childhood. Factors such as child abuse, unemployment, post-traumatic stress (common in soldiers) or residing in a high-crime locale can all be contributory to the deterioration of mental health.
Most experts agree that mentally ill individuals with violent tendencies could have been saved from going down the extreme path if, somehow, they had the opportunity to voice their issues and their frustrations early on. The lack of an outlet or a trusted person to share their woes with leads to further internalizing of the underlying issues, till it becomes deep-rooted and a point of origin for further mental issues.
Giving Voice to Your Woes
Simply talking about past trauma or bad experiences kay not always help solve the underlying issue. While it may stop the person from internalising the ordeal and letting it fester into something nasty, the underlying issues may still need therapy, the intensity of which may vary from case to case.
However, quote often, the first step to therapy can simply be to get the opportunity to talk to someone. Catholic Christians have an interesting system, that of the confessional, where they can anonymously talk to a priest about anything that’s bothering them, which includes negative thoughts.
Talking about the issues can also be the beginning of the realisation that therapy or expert intervention is needed in the first place. As an anonymous online community, Hood offers an outlet to all individuals to share anything that’s troubling them. It is our fervent hope that it will help troubled individuals reach the point where they feel comfortable talking about their troubles with a loved one or an expert. As a Hood user, if you see someone talking about their problems or simply venting and ranting, please be gentle with them. Sometimes a little kindness goes a long way to ensuring someone’s mental well being.