Please note: This comes, often verbatim, from Richard Rhodes’, Why They Kill, an outstanding exploration of Lonnie Athen’s theories
I. Four Stage Process
1) Brutalization “ A young person is forced by violence or the threat of violence to
submit to an aggressive authority figure; he witnesses the violent subjugation of the intimates, and the authority figures coaches him to use violence to settle disputes.”
a. Can include the military training process.
b. But they are also taught “Themis,” what is right.
c. In Vietnam Themis failed because of nature of war.
d. As a consequence, GI’s committed atrocities. (I find this dubious)
2) Belligerency “the dispirited subject, determined to prevent his further violent
Subjugation, heeds his coach and resolves to resort to violence.”
3) Violent Performances “His violent response to provocation succeeds, and he
reads respect and fear in the eyes of others.”
3) Virulency “Exultant, he determines from now on to utilize serious violence as a
means of dealing with people— and he bonds with others who believe as he does.”
a. Conservative take: Once virulency occurs, there is virtually no hope for the individual except prison.
b. Liberal take: Intervention prior to this will be effective.
II. What can we conclude from this?
1) Acts of violence are not impulsive, unconsciously motivated & predetermined.
2) Violent criminals do NOT snap.
3) Acts of violence are willful, thinking acts.
4) Violence is not the results of mental illness.
a. Mentally ill people can act violently, but they usually don’t.
b. You can be violent and mentally ill, but you are not violent because you’re mentally ill.
5) Violence is the result of programming – violentization (violent socialization) as opposed to socialization, or civilization.
6) Violent criminals are not victims.
7) They know what they are doing — as they do it.
8) They could stop if they wanted to, or if they are deterred.
9) Criminals are made not born.
10) Yet, criminals are totally responsible for their actions.
11) Women aren’t as violent as men because they usually not selected for Violent Coaching.
12) Woman can be brutalized, but it stops there.
13) Violence has nothing to do with race or poverty.
14) Criminal violence is unauthorized violence
III. Malignant minor communities
1) All based on Hierarchies of Power
2) Three types of Communities
a. Civil - Pacifist
b. Turbulent - Neighborhood in transitions
c. Malignant - housing projects, inner city ghetto.
3) In malignant communities ultraviolet person predominant, followed by the dominant person.
4) In civil communities the pacifists dominate, followed by marginal types.
5) In Turbulent Communities
a. No type predominates a mix of pacifist, marginal, violent and ultraviolet
b. Life chaotic
c. Group violence likely in this category
d. In malignant communities individual violent predominant
IV. Types of Violence
1) Physically defensive
3) Malefic (Latin, evil)
4) Frustrative- Malefic