Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The good news - mass murder explained



The good news - mass murder explained

The good news - mass murder explained

LONDON - From Rwanda to Cambodia, mass killers may have fallen victim to a deadly

syndrome that turns normal people into callous murderers, according to a research

paper published Dec 19.

Sufferers from so-called "Syndrome E" showed no emotion about killing frequently.

They can spend the day herding children into gas chambers and then return home to

supper with their families.

"The transformation of groups of previously non-violent individuals into repetitive

killers of defenseless members of society has been a recurring phenomenon throughout

history," said Professor Itzhak Fried of the UCLA Medical Center at the University

of California.

Fried, writing in The Lancet science magazine, said this sinister transformation

is characterized by a set of symptoms that suggest a common syndrome.

These repeat killers on a mass scale are obsessed with beliefs directed against minorities.

"Metaphors such as 'cleansing' are often used to justify violence," he

said.

The killers are not seized by a burst of frenzied battlefield emotion. Instead they

kill calmly "with flat effect".

They show no outward signs of acting abnormally and rapidly become desensitized to

the enormity of their crimes, Fried said.

"They may lead a normal family life while in parallel engaging in killing of

families," he wrote.

Fried believed that manifestations of Syndrome E were due to what he called a "cognitive

fracture" between various parts of the brain that determine emotion, mood and

reaction to events.

The neurosurgeon argued that it was vital to isolate victims showing signs of Syndrome

E because their blood lust could be contagious to others who might be similarly.

"Prompt diagnosis would be of paramount importance as prevention may be effective

only in the early stages," he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants