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My Friend Wants to Kill People! Help!?

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My Friend who I was talking to recently started talking about his birthday. But he said I didn’t have to get him a present because he’d feel guilty because I’d be “wasting money” on a bad person. I at first tried to talk him out of that mentality but then he brought up how he wants to kill some people. And my friend was extremely beyond serious about it. I tried my best to talk him out of it, and I did, but he didn’t seem like he was really not going to do this. My friend is very vengeful and he wanted to kill these people fore revenge. And he said if he doesn’t he’ll slip into insanity pretty much. I know my friend owns a few guns and it got me super on edge about it (also it made my anxiety issue get out of control) and I tried everything I could think of about it in the two hours we were talking about it. I went over how he would destroy his future but he said he didn’t care at all. I really am worried about him and I care a lot about him. He’s helped me through a lot of things. But he can’t seem to let me help him no matter what. I don’t know what to do, I can’t let him destroy his life like this.

Though not all threats are equally dangerous, all threats should be taken seriously. This is especially true when someone has specific plans for how they would carry out a violent act and has access to the means to do so. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a rating scale of threat levels. On their scale, your friend might be considered a “high level threat.”

This matter should be immediately brought to the attention of your parents and with their assistance, the police should be notified. Whether or not your friend is serious about the threat is for the police to judge. After an investigation, they will determine the seriousness of the threat and take action accordingly.

Research by the FBI indicates that many people who ultimately commit acts of violence intentionally or unintentionally disclose details about their plans prior to the act of violence. This is a concept called leakage. Many violent plots have been averted because a brave individual came forth to inform law enforcement. In this circumstance, you must be that brave individual.

You might feel uneasy about contacting the police and that is understandable but it is imperative they are notified. You may think “this may be a false alarm and I don’t want to overreact” but this would be a mistake. Your gut reaction was to be concerned about his threats, especially after you tried to talk him out of hurting people. It concerned you enough to write a letter about it. You did the right thing by writing to Psych Central. Your next very important steps are to consult your parents and go to the police. I hope you do the right thing. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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