The Perversion of Virtue: Understanding Murder-Suicide

Hardcover | February 11, 2014

byThomas Joiner

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Of the approximately 38,500 deaths by suicide in the U.S. annually, about two percent - between 750 and 800 - are murder-suicides. The horror of murder-suicides looms large in the public consciousness - they are reported in the media with more frequency and far more sensationalism than mostsuicides, and yet we have little understanding of this grave form of violence. In The Perversion of Virtue, leading suicide researcher Thomas Joiner explores the nature of murder-suicide and offers a unique new theory to explain this nearly unexplainable act: that murder-suicides always involve the wrongheaded invocation of one of four interpersonal virtues: mercy, justice,duty, and glory. The parent who murders his child and then himself seeks to save his child from a fatherless life of hardship; the wife who murders her husband and then herself seeks to right the wrongs he committed against her, and so on. Murder-suicides involve the gross misperception of when andhow these four virtues should be applied. Drawing from extensive research as well as real examples from the media, Joiner meticulously examines, deconstructs, and finally rebuilds our understanding of murder-suicide in such a way that brings tragic reason to what may seem an unfathomable act of violence. Along the way, he dispels some ofthe most enduring myths of suicide - for instance, that suicide is usually an impulsive act (it is almost always pre-meditated), or that alcohol or drugs are involved in most suicides (usually they are not). Sure to be controversial, this book seeks to make sense of one of the most difficult-to-comprehend types of violence in modern society, shedding new light that will ultimately lead to better understanding and even prevention.

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Of the approximately 38,500 deaths by suicide in the U.S. annually, about two percent - between 750 and 800 - are murder-suicides. The horror of murder-suicides looms large in the public consciousness - they are reported in the media with more frequency and far more sensationalism than mostsuicides, and yet we have little understanding...

Thomas Joiner, PhD, is The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Florida State University (FSU), Tallahassee, Florida. Dr. Joiner's work is on the psychology, neurobiology, and treatment of suicidal behavior and related conditions. Author of over 475 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Joiner was award...

other books by Thomas Joiner

Why People Die by Suicide
Why People Die by Suicide

Paperback|Sep 30 2007

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:February 11, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199334552

ISBN - 13:9780199334551

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Table of Contents

PrefaceSection 1: Introductory Material1. Murder-Suicide: Prevalence, Characteristics, and Initial Conceptualization2. Understanding Murder3. Understanding Suicide4. Understanding VirtueSection 2: Understanding Murder-Suicide as a Perversion of Virtue5. A Perversion of Mercy6. A Perversion of Justice7. A Perversion of Duty8. A Perversion of Heroic Glory9. The Neighboring But Distinct Categories of Perverting Self-Control and FateSection 3: Implications and Conclusions10. Prevention, Clinical, and Other Real-World Applications11. Conclusion: Human Nature and the Perversion of VirtueNotesReferencesIndex