Michael Brandon Hill was angry when he began shooting in the Georgia Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy on August 21, and he was angry when he threatened his brother's life in March of this year too, according to WPTV.com.
Fortunately the Dekalb County gunman didn't wound a child or an adult at the elementary school during his angry outburst, but it could have been a lot different if he had not had someone talking him out of that anger.
Hill was so angry he wanted one of his hostages to contact WSB-TV so they would be on site filming when he opened fire on policemen responding to the elementary school shooting scene. So the female in his control did as he asked.
Anger at police likely stemmed from his arrest and conviction for threatening his brother's life earlier this year, and the three years of probation the threatening act netted him. But he had to know that the same officers who arrested him in Henry County during that call would not be the same ones called to intervene in an elementary school shooting in a different county.
Anger at officers and his brother, however, does not explain his anger directed at children in an elementary school in another county. And maybe that is why he didn't harm anyone at the school, since he had no real reason to be angry at any of them.
The Georgia gunman had been ordered previously to attend anger management classes as part of his sentencing, but he either didn't successfully complete them or he refused to take them at all based upon his actions on Tuesday,
The Mayo Clinic recommends those dealing with anger management try their 10 tips to tame your temper instead of using violence as a form of communication. Those 10 tips consist of the following:
- Taking a timeout (something the children at the Georgia elementary school could have told Hill).
- Once you're calm, express your anger (One hostage tried to help the suspect do this by expressing her own recent struggles to him).
- Get some exercise.
- Think before you speak.
- Identify possible solutions rather than just venting.
- Stick with "I" statements when telling others why you are angry, so they don't feel attacked.
- Don't hold a grudge.
- Use humor to release tension.
- Practice relaxation skills, and
- Know when to seek help.
Michael Brandon Hill didn't know when to seek help, and he was way past using humor to release his tension or practicing relaxation skills, obviously. It appears he does hold a grudge against someone, but he should be commended for trying to express himself nonviolently with the hostage he listened to during the standoff.
Fortunately no one was killed due to the violent outburst of the now convicted felon, who has managed to add to his woes in life rather than solve anything by the use of force. And hopefully this time the suspect will get the anger management classes he needs to help him deal with what is troubling him.