From his early age, Martin Bryant possessed an unusual characteristic in comparison with other children of his age. For instance, his mother, Carleen often reminded the friends and family members of her worry about her son. Furthermore, His father, Maurice, is noted to have had a lot of concern with him at the early ages. He eventually took early retirement from his job so that he could look after his son, Martin. At the time that he started school, he was highly distanced from the rest of the children especially because of his erratic behaviour. In addition to this, he was found to have a below average I.Q. at the time that he was in primary school. This made him to be put into special classes. One of the teachers who were concerned about his welfare said, “he was isolated in his own world.” Others recount that he was even more isolated than the deaf children who were in the same class as he was (Avery, 1996). This paper focuses on the analysis of Martin’s life and the best theory that can be used to explain his situation. The conclusion of the paper notes that evolutionary theory is the best theory to explain Martin’s situation. This is because, the circumstances that happen around his life seem to be interplay between the genetic factors as well as the nurture (environmental factors).
Martin was found to be happier when situations were extreme in this way and never even bothered to associate himself with other people. This situation continued to persist as he grew older and was more apparent in him. He was confronted with more trauma, detachment, and very dangerous situations, as he grew older rather than changing for the better. On one of the occasions, he is recorded not to possess any emotions to a girlfriend whom they had gone with to visit heavy seas off Bass Strait. In this event, there were also some series of events that made the fishermen who were around them to intervene. A similar detatchment was also witnessed when he showed no interest after his father commited suicide by drowning himself in a dam on the family’s properties (Avery, 1996). When he was told to seek for his father’s body, he showed no concern. In addition, he completely enjoyed himself the more and could not be seen to bear the concern of his father’s death. According to report that was taken by the investigative officers around the scene, it was noted that Martin could have full evidence of the crime though later it was treated as a suicide case. This was because there was a note that the father left and some cash in a car on property.
It was because of his behaviour that he was often bullied. His relationship with other children was heavily compromised. At one of the instances, group of young children whom he was tormenting was almost drowning him. During his growing period, he never changed but his strange behaviour continued to escalate almost too unbearable levels (Avery,1996). For example, there was one instance when he took a spear and jabbed a friend who was surfacing while they were skin diving. As a young child, he could normally throw stones, cut down trees, destroying vegetable gardens as well as cutting down fruit trees.
After schooling, Martin did not bother to look for a job because his I.Q. was deemed to be very low, below average. It was twenty to thirty points below average. Later in his life, he took a job that consequently changed his life forever. Harvey Helen employed him as a handyman. Helen was a very rich heiress. Martin formed a bond with Harvey, which was perceived by many as more of a working relationship. She gave him more attention and regularly took him for shopping expeditions. She sometimes spent thousands of dollars on him (Avery, 1996). She squandered large amounts of money needlessly. She used to spend heavily, buying new cars and jewelry.
Martin was taught by Helen how to live an extravagant life. After he moved to a small rural town of copping, his behaviors became more erratic. He was caught harassing a young schoolgirl inside a bus. What followed was that he was kicked off the bus. He chased the bus and made sure that he insulted the driver. In the new residence that he moved in, the people within his vicinity started complaining of his unbecoming behaviour. For example, people complained that he was raiding their properties especially when it was late at night. He became increasingly obsessed with criminal behaviors. It was known that he possessed rifles and firearms (Avery, 1996). Later he was reported for threatening a neighbor with a rifle. One of the family friends recounts incidence when he used to brag and show off with guns at a time when he said that he took “˜pot shots’ to some tourists who had stopped near the property’s front gate.
Despite the series of events that took place in his new residence, Martin continued to live a lavish life at Helen’s residential place. The complaints that went around the place were taken for granted. He spent a happy life in the company of Harvey. However, this was to come to a halt when Helen was killed in a tragic accident, which many believed to have been caused by Martin. However, the police investigated the matter and cleared him. The two important figures in Martin’s life were already dead and Martin was left on his own. He was named the beneficiary of Harvey’s estate. He had a lot of properties now and cash in excess. He would spend it in any way that he wanted. After Harvey’s burial, Martin moved to Hobart to stay there. He later became restless. He has a lot of income at the time that was virtually endless. He had the freedom to choose any kind of lifestyle that he wanted. He even used to make overseas travels within a three-year period(Mullen,1996). Those who were his close friends were those he sat with in the aircraft and the shop owners. They remembered him because of his outrageous clothes.
Martin used to have multiple sexual relationships with women. He also used to make very weird comments on the females regardless of their age. He was however unable to build a normal relationship. His sexual preferences often included bestiality. He hired prostitutes to come to his house. Those who came to his house refused to go back because they found the place quite disturbing.
Before the unfolding of the massacre, Martin visited the Port Arthur several times. It was in this time that he bought a new sports bag. The shopkeeper at the place where he bought the bag remembered how he measured several bags before he settled to buy the one that interested him. There were many analysis that were carried out regarding Martins unbecoming behaviour with so many psychologist claiming that it stemmed from impulsive behaviour( Curran & Renzetti,2001 ). According to the analysis of the events that had happened at the port, there was sufficient evidence to hold the conclusion that the planning was very precise and highly calculated.
It was on a Sunday, 28 April 1996. Martin set off for Port Author. This was approximately a maximum of two hours’ drive from where he resided in Hobart. On his way, he stopped at a guesthouse at seascape cottage and killed the owners. They were identified as Noelene and David Martin. It was shortly after he had a meal at Broad arrow cafe that he took out a rifle and indiscriminately started shooting. He then took off for his destination, Port Arthur. He also went ahead to another place and started to shoot indiscriminately at the public. In just 90 seconds, twenty people were dead and twelve injured. He continued with his journey shooting at innocent people. He also went ahead to hijacked a man, put him in the boot of his vehicle, and killed a female passenger. He then returned to Seascape cottage, took a hostage inside and set out fire to his car. After a standoff with police officers, he claimed that he had hostages. Bryant set the house on fire and quickly ran out of it. The police afterwards captured him. At the time that he was finished, he had already killed thirty-five people. He was later charged with a series of crimes such as murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, bodily harms, and unlawfully setting property on fire. Martin received a total of 35 years imprisonment sentence without parole for the damage he had caused.
After a short period following the massacre, Martin was taken for a psychological examination in a hospital. Four major psychological tests were carried out. There were theories that were developed prior to the examination that he might be suffering from a personality disorder or schizophrenia. This was the thought cause of his inappropriate mannerisms and actions. However, He was declared sane and competent to stand trial.
It was the outstanding capability of both the father as well as Helen that his extreme negative personality traits were repressed and protected him from harming others. However, after the death of the father and Helen, Martin was left without a cushion against participating in cruel behaviors. From the psychological point of view, there is the possibility of two major factors that play a role in driving an individual into indulging in aggressive behaviors. These factors include the nature factors and the nurture factors (David et.al, 2000). The nature factors are the innate or the inherent factors that individuals are born with. The nurture factors are those that the individuals learn from the environment that they live in. These are the ones that he/she learns from the people he interacts and the general environment. The media that the individual interacts with is a source of distorted behaviour (Lily et.al, 2007).
In Martins case, there are several factors that have to be considered in order to come up with a comprehensive conclusion on the kind of theory that best explains his situation. First, is his historical background. Secondly, is the genetic consideration such as the Intelligent Quotient. Thirdly, the outcomes of the test that were carried out by a medical practitioner. These among other factors will be considered in order to come up with an informed conclusion. From this insightful perspective, it can be argued out that Martin’s situation can be explained through the use of the evolutionary developmental theory. This theory was initially propounded by Charles Darwin and tends to integrate aspects of the genes with those of the environment(Darwin,1859). For instance, it can be argued that the low I.Q. caused low concentration level in Martin while he was in school. Consequently, this made him to feel weak and withdrawn.
Due to lack of social support and care from the caregivers such as the parents, he felt discouraged and desperate and felt neglected. The superego was also weak and could not withhold the pressure that was emanating from the prevailing circumstances. To feel acceptable and needed, Martin had to adopt defense mechanisms that could allow him feel important just like any other person. This is what caused Martin to develop criminal behaviors.
To a great extent, martin can be termed as a psychopath. This is because of his dangerous activities, insanity-like and murders commited. The genetic makeup of Martin is the one that made him to possess the undesired characteristics. There are several grounds to prove that it is the genetic makeup and the environmental influences that made Martin behave the way he did. Firstly, is evidence of his low I.Q. Secondly, is the case where he was found to have tortured animals. In addition to this, his approach to other people was more of an irrational human being. It is the pain of his innate behaviors that his mother attests that he wished he were dead after she visited him in jail. This could have been a long time discovery made by her mother as she despaired that her son would change. If it were a learned behaviour, then it would be easily controlled. What can be learnt from experience can also be unlearnt. Since it was an inherent or a genetic makeup, it was very difficult to control it until it grew to an extreme condition.
On the other end, the medical doctor who examined him gave a report that heavily focused on activities that that revolved around his social life. For instance, the medical expert said that the breakdown of the series of events shows a terrible tragedy. He commented that Bryant did something evil though to him, he was leading a desperate life. There are different scenarios that he uses to make a suggestion that the growing trend of Martin was highly compromised through lack of care and ignorance. For instance, the presence of guns in his environment, the death of the father, money issues, lack of care among others. To him if proper care was met on him, most of the activities that he did would not have happened (Paul and Gareth, 2003).
The investigation that was also done by Dr. Park Deitz, a psychiatrist from the FBI suggested that it was possible that Martins actions were heavily influenced by the media coverage of the “˜Dunblane’ tragedy. This might have influenced him to indulge in the criminal activities as a way of seeking social recognition in the society though in the negative direction. Professor Paul Mullen, his prison psychiatrist also noted that he had a sense of inadequacies, which require rational approach to assist the person (Mullen, 1996). The possibilities are however endless.
Social relationships in childhood function to allow the individual acquire the rightful developmental capabilities that will allow them to cope with prevailing environmental factors. It is the power of the social relationships that make individuals to adapt to others way of life from a rational perspective. Cognitive developments of individuals also play a key role in assisting them to adjust to the prevailing conditions (Bogin, 1997). The cognitive skills allow individuals to maintain relationships, as they understand other people. This was a major factor that limited Martin in his social life and was not able to adapt and move on with others in the society.
Conceptual Definition Of Key Terms
Genetic factors – refers to the hereditary characteristics that one gets from parents.
Psychopaths- refer to an individual who portrays a behaviour deemed contrary to the expectation of a rational being.
Nurture factors- those factors that influence ones character that come from the environment one is living in for example the media.
Nature factors- these are the innate factors that one is born with. It has been used synonymously with genetic factors in this paper.
Development- refers to the complexity that one acquires to handle situations in the ever-changing environment.
Evolution theory- is a theory that tends to understand the development of individuals from their adaptive point of view. Those who are cleverer for instance are fit to survive. The theory combines both the innate as well as the environmental factors.