As an attempt to discover whether genetics might have any influence on criminal behavior, researchers at the University of Connecticut, were planning to study the DNA of Adam Lanza, who murdered 20 first-graders and seven adults in Newtown, Connecticut. Although this research might make it easier to prevent someone from committing a serious crime, scientists argue that there could be hundreds of gene mutations increasing the risk for violence and the research would stigmatize those who have a genetic aberration but haven’t actually committed any crime. Zintro experts discuss whether genomics alone can describe violent behavior and what other factors might lead to extreme violence.
According to Christopher J. Scorzelli, an expert in medical device development, it is crucial to handle this type of genomics research with extreme care as the potential to stigmatize is certainly present. “This tragedy has specifically struck my heart as I picture the innocence of the children and adults taken, and the never ending pain that everyone associated or connected with the tragedy will deal with for the rest of their lives,” he notes. “As a physician, a parent, and an advocate for new solutions to difficult questions I do not think that genomics alone can describe violent behavior but is simply another piece of the puzzle that may help identify troubled individuals earlier and allow them to receive mental health counseling or other medical or social attention to better their life and the lives of those around them.” Moreover, Scorzelli agrees that solving these greater social issues will certainly have more impact than any single piece of research data. “I do believe that such horrors can be prevented, but don’t believe it is by changing a single law, or labeling ones genomics as ‘prone to violent behavior’, but rather being kind to more strangers, by being better parents, by caring for others more than oneself, by listening better, by smiling more and by using the skills we have to help those who don’t possess them.”
As clinical psychologist and forensic consultant Michael Nuccitelli points out, our information age society has dramatically changed, becoming more isolated and disconnected leading to a paradigm shift in violence, crime and deviance. “As a forensic psychologist who has researched mass murder and the profiles of Jared Loughner (Arizona Shooter), Anders Behring Breivik (Norway Mass Killer), James Eagan Holmes (Colorado Shooter) and now Connecticut School Shooting assailant, Adam Lanza, I hope geneticists at the University of Connecticut, planning to study his DNA find some abnormality, but I highly doubt it,” he says. “Regarding Mr. Lanza, recent mass murderers and all of society, as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) becomes more important to all aspects of humanity; social media, the veil of anonymity afforded to all online users, and the greater range of information exchange will change the frequency and methods of criminal and deviant acts.” Nuccitelli also believes that all future mass killers and violent offenders will be assessed and judged by their criminal actions, their past and their ICT usage. “What science, media and those investigating the Connecticut School Shooting fail to conclude is that Adam Lanza was isolative and almost assuredly spent most of his time online engaging in his distorted perceptual fantasies,” he adds. “As the author of a new technological predator construct called iPredator, cyberbullies, cybercriminals and the severely disturbed are just a few of the typologies included that victimize others in cyberspace.”
By Idil Kan
Zintro has experts in every industry sector, across every job function, in every geographic region. Recently, some of the following topics have seen inquiry activity: