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Textbook-Territo, L., & Sewell, J.D. (2019). Stress management in law enforcement (4th ed.). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. ISBN: 9781531015756.
Q: Briefly describe the backgrounds of the victims and perpetrators in homicides-suicides. What were the majority of weapons used in homicides-suicides? What is one of the major determinates of police suicide?
Victims, Perpetrators in Homicides-Suicides and the Weapons they use
Part of this discussion aims to describe the victims and perpetrators of homicides-suicides and the weapons most commonly used to carry out the event. In addition, there will be a discussion about the significant factors of police suicide. Homicides-suicides create a devastating ripple effect in families and the community. A point to consider in homicide-suicide cases is that most police agencies in the U.S. investigate them as a crime. To better understand the homicide-suicide, it will be helpful to understand the background or nature of the perpetrator and the victim. First, the perpetrators can be separated into three primary age categories, 18-44, 45-59, and 60 plus (Salari & Sillito, 2016). The perpetrators were predominantly men who use a firearm to commit the act. The firearms used in homicide-suicide events include handguns to long guns, with the primary type being handguns used to accomplish the event. Perpetrators of homicide-suicide do not match the perceived understanding of someone capable of committing this unthinkable act. Those who commit this crime are more likely to be unassuming males and not raging homicidal maniacs, some believe. They tend to be more educated, employed, and usually triggered into the event because of some situational crises. The usual red flags for some that commit a homicide, such as prior criminal history, substance abuse, family discord, and mental health issues, do not usually apply to homicide-suicide perpetrators. Examining the subject of homicide-suicide and conflating it with homicide or suicide alone is problematic. Homicide-suicide is a unique event, as posited by some of the available research findings.
A Major Cause of Police Suicides
Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control determined police officers had a 69% greater risk for suicide than the general U.S. population, and police officers who were military veterans had an even higher risk of suicide than those with only law enforcement experience (Territo & Sewell, 2019). Some research found that officers who did not perceive traumatic event exposure as manageable had a greater risk of suicide. In addition, some research supports a domino effect of suicide ideology from exposure to traumatic events that leads to PTSD, which leads to substance abuse, usually alcohol, which ends with suicide ideology.
This discussion has examined the perpetrators and victims of homicide-suicide and a significant determinant of police suicide. In times of hopelessness, the Bible can provide guidance and insight into how to cope with these issues. Psalm 34:17-18, New International Version (1973/2011) says, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” The Bible also talks about taking another life in 1 John 3:12, which says, “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.”
New International Bible. (2011). Zondervan. (Original work published 1973).
Salari, S., & Sillito, C. L. (2016). Intimate partner homicide–suicide: Perpetrator primary intent across young, middle, and elder adult age categories. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 26, 26-34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2015.11.004Links to an external site.
Territo, L. & Sewell, J.D. (2019). Stress Management in Law Enforcement (4th ed.). Carolina Academic Press, North Carolina.
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