Why Does a Recovery Coach Kill?
How to reconstruct a violent/self-destructive life
Posted Aug 15, 2020
News item: There has been an upsurge in violence during the pandemic. (“Record wave of deadly shootings hits US cities”)
Why? The standard answers are (a) gun availability (but can’t people in suburbs get guns?); (b) repercussions of violence against Black Americans by police.
This problem raises all the fundamental questions and fissures in American society, ones that the United States is incapable of resolving. So I can hardly do so on my own.
But it also raises clinical questions about individuals. What makes individuals shoot to kill other people? I’ll take a shot at that one.
Published Aug. 11, 2020
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It started with an afternoon stop at a gas station. Two customers began exchanging angry stares near the pumps outside — and no one can explain exactly why.
That led to an argument, and it escalated quickly as one of them pulled a gun and they struggled over it, according to the police.
“There’s too many shootings. Please don’t do this,” the wife of one of the men pleaded, stepping between them.
But by the time the fight was over at the station on Kansas City’s East Side late last month, the all-too-familiar crackle of gunfire pierced the humid air, leaving another person dead in what has been an exceedingly bloody summer.
Why did this happen? Most people reading this (a) don’t carry a gun, (b) don’t get in fights at gas stations, ergo, most don’t kill people in refueling disputes.
Why this case? The shooter in this K.C. case was in a helping, role modeling position in society:
The man now charged with murder in the case is a meatpacking worker, Isaac Knighten, 40, who devotes much of his time to mentoring Black men and boys, including teaching conflict resolution through Alpha Male Nation, a mentoring organization his brother started. His wife said he had turned his life around after serving time on drug charges from more than a decade ago.
In other words, he was a recovery coach.
Why did he kill someone? It' possible that Mr. Knighten (a) hadn’t sufficiently learned and practiced alternative (i.e., not shooting people) conflict resolution techniques; (b) hadn’t sufficiently surfaced nonviolent confrontation values.
Standard explanations: Mr. Knighten (a) was traumatized by his previous life experience, (b) was genetically programmed to be a killer.
If we accept PTSD as an explanation for killing, then we are forced back on the career predator explanation (that Joe Biden has been saddled with), which translates into “lock them up and throw away the key.”
In my Life Process Program, life coaches help clients express constructive (a) values clients have (or need to acquire), (b) conflict-, problem-, stress-resolution techniques/skills.
Coaches are selected and trained on the basis of coaching/helping skills, not on the severity (or lack of it) of their prior trauma — that’s not relevant to their coaching task.
Simple minded? Obvious? Logical? Difficult to pull off for larger populations?
But the correct answer?