Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
I CREATED THIS WEBSITE in an effort to save lives by offering support, resources, and compassion to those considering murder, terrorism and mass shootings. Although there are a number of suicide prevention websites aimed at helping people understand and overcome the desire to kill themselves, I could find no homicide prevention website aimed at helping people understand and overcome the desire to kill others. In light of the wave of gun violence gripping our nation, that needed to change.
I am a Lecturer in Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and co-director of the Yale Collaborative for Motive Control Studies and have been researching and writing about violence prevention for nearly two decades. My professional background is as a lawyer, author, and academic researcher. I focus my work on the intersection of law, psychology, and spirituality. But my most important credential for creating this website is that I came very close to committing murder myself. The gun was in my hand, and my victims were in my sight. Ever since that day, I have been trying to understand what saved my life and theirs, and to pass that information on to others. If you are interested in reading my personal story, click here.
There was a time not long ago when alcohol and drug addiction were viewed primarily as moral failings, leading to untreated addictions, destroyed lives, and hopelessness. The reexamination of these behaviors through a scientific and medical/psychological lens has opened powerful new avenues of substance abuse recovery, prevention, and hope.
Brain science is now opening windows into the motive to kill. I do not believe that a person who considers murder is "evil." Absent serious brain abnormalities, I am convinced that most people who consider killing others are motivated by the powerful human desire to achieve justice for wrongs and trauma inflicted upon them in the past. Yes, ironically, it is the desire for justice that is the motive for and root cause of most murders. As Harvard psychiatrist James Gilligan, M.D. observed:
“The first lesson that tragedy teaches…is that all violence is an attempt to achieve justice, or what the violent person perceives as justice, for himself or for whomever it is on whose behalf he is violent…. Thus, the attempt to achieve and maintain justice, or to undo or prevent injustice, is the one and only universal cause of violence.” James Gilligan, M.D., Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes (New York: Putnam 1996) 11-12.
The brain imaging studies referenced in this website support Dr. Gilligan's observation and show that the desire to punish may be as powerful as the desire for heroin among drug addicts. This suggests that if we wish to prevent violence, we must find ways to help each other control our intense biological cravings for justice when wronged. I believe that reexamining the desire to commit acts of violence through a scientific and medical/psychological lens (rather than as a moral failing) may lead to powerful new avenues of violence prevention—and perhaps even a revolution similar to that experienced in substance abuse treatment. This website is a small start in that direction. If you are aware of additional recourses that should be considered for inclusion on this website, please email me at email@example.com.
If you are considering murder, I hope the resources on this website will help you control your cravings. You must resist them with all of your strength. Your life is at stake, as well as the lives of others. Your victory in this struggle will restore your dignity and your humanity and help make the pain go away. You can win. And you must win.
Please note that I am not a physician, mental health professional or therapist and that this website is not endorsed by or affiliated with the Yale School of Medicine. The information on this website is not offered or intended to be taken as medical, psychological or legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. It is offered primarily in the nature of scientifically informed spiritual wisdom. If you have medical, mental health or legal questions or concerns, I urge you to consult a licensed medical or mental health professional or lawyer in your area. If you are having a crisis, please call the number at the top of this page.
May you experience peace and Light,
James Kimmel, Jr.