Stephen C Challis - Authors page


Compulsion To Kill
Forward by Robert Ekes. When we hear of an atrocity such as a mass murder in a mall, or a theater, or of someone’s murderous rampage against children in a school it affects us all, We recoil in shock, disbelief, horror, and with many questions, What exactly happened? How did it happen? How was it allowed to happen? And most importantly what can be done to stop it from happening again?  In my own 25 year career as a clinical mental health therapist and consultant I treated many children, adolescents, and adults. I have been struck by the level of aggression and violence displayed by some people and I made efforts to study and research the origins of such aggressive behavior. Some of the research findings seem like common sense yet I am frequently dismayed that they don’t appear to be recognized or utilized. Upon reading Compulsion to Kill I was gratified to see that Stephen Challis is also aware of the research that I had seen in my own reviews of the professional literature. He discusses the findings and their significance. Mr. Challis also presents much more valuable information that we need to know as we search for answers and for antidotes to shocking violence that we see in our headlines. Stephen Challis is uniquely qualified to present the information to us. He resides in Kentucky, USA and he is very aware of the American concerns regarding violence and firearms. He discusses some events that I am sure many of us were not even aware of. Mr. Challis’ 21-year career as a police officer in the United Kingdom gives him the perspective to tell us about incidents in Europe and elsewhere that we commonly are not aware off, He is aware of other countries’ firearms policies and their results, which many of us do not know. His law enforcement career perhaps contributes to his accessible style of writing that is clear, concise, factual, logical and very readable. This book examines a number of significant mass murder incidents through history both in this country and in other countries. It presents the facts on how much violence we do experience as a culture and how this has changed over time. It explores the professional thinking about the mental health issues, motivations, and the personality traits of those who perpetrate mass murder. It acknowledges the complexities of trying to address those mental health issues. Also discussed is the role of the media in the public’s perception of these tragedies and of firearms. It discusses some of the effects that the media and entertainment can have on the perpetrators themselves. The book presents and evaluates some of the efforts that have been made around the world to address the problem of gun violence. Included is a discussion of the rate of gun ownership in 169 different countries including the USA and how this correlates with incidents of gun homicide. Most importantly this book discusses things that can be done to address the risk of murderous violence. This is, after all, what we all want when we address this subject. The information presented in this book is information that you need to know. As the political rhetoric escalates like it does after every horrific incident the same questions are asked:  What will stop this? Is armed security or gun bans the answer? The discussion of gun violence is frequently a single pointed discussion about the guns and often not about the violence, which is after all what it is really all about. The discussions are often emotional and they are sometimes conducted without important relevant information. In  Compulsion to Kill the information that may be omitted by those who are promoting one or another viewpoint is available to you. This important book can help us understand and be productive participants in the discussion of how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from the atrocity of violence.   Robert M. Ekes, M.A., MSW, LCSW Kentucky Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Winchester, Kentucky 2013.

Pictures from Compulsion to Kill 

Extract from the book.

So Why wasn’t anything done ?  That is the question seemingly every media commentator asks following a mass shooting. It was echoed at Tucson and Aurora. And often criticism is leveled at the police, social services, mental health authorities.  As we saw in the chapter on the media, we need to analyze first, what is the motive for the media asking such a question. What sounds like an attempt to tune into the outrage felt around the country is in fact a smokescreen.

The prime reason a TV station or Newspaper exists is to make money. In order to get revenue they need to become well known, even controversial. The seeds are set for reports to be slanted in such a way that people will tune in. The truth or otherwise of the report takes secondary importance to its believability. As a former police officer I always looked at crimes from a legal point of view. A police officer who allows his own feelings or views to override the legal implications is set to at best lose his case,or at worst face charges himself. The media however have a different  criteria.  In this society of political correctness and over regulation, the social worker or police officer who suspects a person may not be ‘Quite Right’! is in a real dilemma.

Does talking about violence and having an interest in guns , make a person likely to become a mass killer.? At what point does a passion for a video games  become an obsession with killing ?  We must accept that what seems odd behavior to us may be perfectly acceptable to others. For example. I recall a case a few years back where a police officer was asked to interview an applicant for a firearm certificate. The officer  recommended, following the interview that the application be refused. It was ,and the applicant appealed. At the subsequent hearing the Police officer testified he was uneasy about the applicants mental state. He based this on his observations that the applicant had several gun books and magazines in view which indicated to him an obsession with guns.

The applicant won his case ,but the incident showed a fatal flaw in allowing Police Officers or other officials with no knowledge or interest in guns to make judgments on those whose interest lies in that direction. If an interest in guns makes the authorities suspicious ,then what about re-enactors re fighting historical battles. Do they not also show an indulgence of fantasy violence? Where in fact do we draw lines and who should draw them.?
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