• Regina Savory

Acts of violence...nature or nurture?

How does a speech turn people into such violent human beings some without prior history of violence?

USA Today described on 09/01/21 " As a shocked nation watched on Twitter and TV, a pro-Trump mob battled police, broke into the U.S. Capitol, and sent members of Congress fleeing as lawmakers were counting Electoral College votes to confirm the presidential victory of Democrat Joe Biden. Now, five people are dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.

Many of the rioters came directly from President Donald Trump’s “Save America Rally” that began hours earlier on the Ellipse, a park near the White House. Trump spoke to them for more than an hour, insisting that the election had been stolen.

“Our country has had enough,” Trump said. “We will not take it anymore, and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.” When he was finished, supporters headed for the Capitol building."

I am a counsellor and that means I use counselling and psychological theories to explain human behaviour. In this case, I will use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Although the violence was remarkably shocking, it does have an explanation!. We always need a triggering event in most psychological and counselling models. It was clear that the event here was Trump's speech. (See the picture). This speech created thoughts that the election had not been done fairly and that people had been disrespected, generating feelings in the crowd of anger, stress and frustration. These feeling lead on to physical ones in the body such as increased heart rate, tension and adrenaline rush. Eventually, they had an urge to hit out, to shout and to take over the Capitol as a consequence through acts of violence. It is what we call a vicious cycle and it quickly can get out of hand, as it proved to do in this case.

Vicious Cycles can be stopped at any at these points - thought, feelings, body feelings and behaviours. Clearly, that proves to be a lot more difficult with a Mob.

I am terribly sorry and saddened for the lives lost that day My heart goes out to their families. I hope for us who cannot understand why these things happen, I have helped to shed a little light in that vast darkness that is violence and anger behaviour.

If you wish to discuss this any further, please don't hesitate and reply to this post or email me on regina@stresscatcher.co.uk.

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