Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

“Amorous Paranoia”

July 9th, 2009 · No Comments

The tragic death of former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair—one of the toughest competitors to ever play the position—gives us a chance to loop back to one of Microkhan’s most dicussed topics: suicide.

For those who don’t already know, McNair perished in a murder-suicide perpetrated by his young girlfriend. We’ve long been morbidly fascinated with such tragedies, primarily because we struggle so mightily to understand the mindset of the shooter. What motivates a person not only to take their own life, but to lasso another soul into their fatal bout of misery? Is it purely an impulsive act, or something that gestates over time?

There’s extensive literature on the topic, much of it written by criminologists. The most accessible paper we’ve yet come across is this one (PDF) from the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology. In it, the author insists on referring to murder-suicides as “extended suicides,” since he opines that the killer selfishly considers his or her victim an integral part of their worldly existence. He also notes that roughly three-quarters of such extended suicides are due to “amorous paranoia”—that is, love affairs gone bad due to delusions of jealousy or betrayal.

Yet it’s worth noting that the specifics of the McNair case differ quite sharply from the standard profile. As the paper makes clear, the typical perpetrator of an extended suicide is:

Generally Caucasian…usually a man, married or living with a woman in a dysfunctional relationship, with a history of alcohol and drug abuse…The typology of the offender of the “amorous paranoia” type of murder-suicide in the United States shows the offender more likely to be “white, male, older, married…and unlikely to have a prior arrest record.”

Go ahead and read the whole thing if you dare. Though Microkhan cannot be held responsible for the gloomy mood that’s sure to follow.


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