Its All About Abandonment
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Steven Kazmierczak...The Hidden Abandonment Issues of A Mass Murder 
By: J. Ray Rice, M.S.W., A.C.S.W.

February 15, 2008

On Valentine Day - February 14, 2008, Steven Kazmierczak dressed in black kicked in a door to a lecturer hall and shoots twenty-one people in ninety seconds. He killed five innocent people and then himself at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. Law enforcement officers and news reporters are still investigating the life of this killer, so very little information is known about him on this day.

Please come back and read this article in a couple of days and you will read about the abandonment issues that developed the bases of his pathology and mental illness. "The Why," are in Steven Kazmierczak unresolved abandonment issues.

February 18, 2008

Understanding behavior starts with knowing what you are looking at. Warning signs in people who kill is no different. All behavior has meaning. When we understand behaviors, we can treat them or prevent them. You have been listening and reading about the discovery of Steven Kazmierczak life events so I am not going to rewrite what others have said.

What I am going to do is to provide, hopefully, new knowledge to the questions of what happened in the development of Steven Kazmierczak and why he chose the course of actions to be labeled a mass murder forever in history. The purpose of which is not to excuse his behavior and actions, but to understand the events, actions, and behaviors that contributed to the lost and injury of the people he killed and injured.

I am looking forward to his family talking about Steven’s childhood and adolescence because in my opinion his core abandonment issues (the abandonment event or action that damaged his sense of self and well-being) have not yet been made public.

The psychiatric program that Steven received treatment from after high school I have first hand knowledge of Threshold. I assisted in establishing the young adult program at Threshold in 1974 and served as its first program coordinator until 1977. It was during this time in my professional training that I learned to identify and assist people to resolve their abandonment issues. Abandonment issues form the bases of their psychotic behaviors and actions, or offset their mental illness. I am going to interpret the events, actions, and behaviors that he may have seen as abandonment issues, real or perceived.

Steven Kazmierczak disruptive and self-mutation behaviors in his adolescent years were most likely an attempt to forget or cope with a severe emotional event in his life, like sex abuse. Adolescent males have a difficult time telling parents and adults about being raped or sexually abused. It was no accident that Steven predilection to contribute to an article on self-mutation behaviors of prisoners during his studies at NIU. His dissociate disorder continued with his choices of tattoos on both arms in the last month of his life. He had three tattoos on his arms; one was a tattoo of a sadistic serial killer, “the macabre doll” riding a tricycle with a background of bleeding cut wounds. A second one was of a skull with a dagger going through the middle of the head. A third one was of a satanic pentagram. Friends said that he was embarrassed to let people see them. I believe that the true reason Steven did not want everyone to see his tattoos are that his professors and friends would have known how much pain he was experiencing and intervened.

Everyone that has been interviewed talks about the Steven he wanted everyone to know and see. Now it is clear when you connect the dots you see the real Steven. This may be one of the reasons he did not want to accept that he needed medication at Threshold when he was 18 or 19.

It is common for individuals with mental illness to deny the need for taking their medication because it enables them to deny their mental illness. We will never know what part, if any, of Steven’s violent behavior at the end was due to the withdrawal of the medication he was taking.

Steven behaviors had been showing flash points or crises since his core abandonment issue, which has not been made public yet:

He may have felt abandoned by his parents for placing him in treatment at Thresholds.

He may have felt abandoned by the illness of his mother and her death from ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 2006.

He may have felt abandoned by the death of a older sister to cancer.

He may have felt abandoned by his discharge from the Army for psychological reasons after volunteering following 911.

He may have felt that he would be abandoned by his professors and peers if they had discovered his dissocial disorder and tattoos on his body.

He may have felt abandoned with his relationship with his girlfriend.

Steven may have felt abandoned by the University for not seeing the depth of his pain and suffering for four years. It was easy to hide it on a campus of 25,000 students. Steven was a smart student who may have wanted someone to out smart him to identify and rescue him from the pain he was suffering. This may be the reason he chose to return to NIU and kill as many people as possible. He chose to commit suicide on a stage at the university that knew him for being smart. Most suicides are an act of hostility. Shooting twenty-one people and then committing suicide in front of the remaining people in the lecturer hall is about as hostile as you can get.

He prepared himself by buying the guns and ammunition over several months. He prepared his arms and heart to kill with the three tattoos: 1) one of a character of a serial killing that was bleeding in the background; 2) another one with a dagger through a skull (the mind); and 3) a satanic pentagram to represent the evil he was about to commit with his arms and soul on innocent people and then himself.

He chose Valentine Day, which normally the color is red for love and made it red for blood. He dressed in black to represent death and left us mourning the innocent souls he took that day and gave nightmares to the survivors and their love ones. He chose NIU because he wanted to show the world that the smart easygoing person he wanted everyone to see and love was really an angry damaged soul that needed to be locked up and treated like the prisoners he wanted to treat. We did not know that then. 

Now we all are left with coping with his hostile acts of atrocities. We must learn from the lessons he taught in the lecturer hall at NIU on Valentine Day, February 14, 2008. On this day Steven Kazmierczak failed. As a society it is our responsibility to understand and prevent more members of our society from receiving an F (failure) in life.  





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