From Friend to Enemy in a Heartbeat

December 24, 2014

How does someone go from liking and respecting someone to disliking him enough to killing him? I might be able to understand it if this were a romantic couple and it was a crime of passion where emotions run so high that you don’t even register what you’re doing, but it’s harder for me to understand it in a friendship where there isn’t an emotional overload of a sexual nature.

Sometimes, it’s motivated by jealousy but I can’t even imagine a person being so jealous that he would kill someone because of it, especially if it wasn’t a deep friendship where the relationship might have crossed personal boundaries.

It might be plausible in a business relationship where large sums of money are involved because people do the strangest things where money is concerned. It might even be understood in a person who has gone over the edge because he was passed over for promotions and pay raises. It might even be understood if his coworkers were bullying him and he had reached the end of his tether.

A couple of decades ago, there was such a rash of postal employees killing their coworkers after being fired or suffering from a severe loss of self-esteem, that the term, going postal, was coined. It isn’t difficult to see how the stress of job-related issues can push someone over the edge to the point where he isn’t thinking clearly and, in a moment of madness, he goes on a shooting rampage.

It’s also more easily explained when people are so frustrated with being one of the have-nots, and wanting so desperately to have what they see others having. The holidays are likely to magnify these differences and foster a level of frustration that leads to going on a shooting spree, but none of these scenarios really explain how a person can go from liking and respecting someone to causing him deliberate harm.

You can put all your hypotheses in a basket and you still won’t be able to come up with a good enough explanation for how someone can go from being a rational person who is in a nonsexual relationship to going off the deep end for, seemingly, no reason. It just doesn’t make sense.

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