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Oklahoma Beheading Suspect: Presidential Candidate or Sociopath Killer?

Updated on October 7, 2014

Alton Nolen

Nolen has been charged with capital murder in the beheading of his former co-worker. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Nolen has been charged with capital murder in the beheading of his former co-worker. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. | Source

People will follow anyone

It appears, truly, that people--or should I say sheeple--will follow anyone and will use any event as an excuse to garner attention for themselves.

Obviously, no self-respecting individual with any regard for human life would elect Alton Nolen President. The fringe faction who would is a minuscule fraction of the population and entirely insignificant as far as vote counts.

Still, the discovery of this Facebook group this morning left me wondering, why? Why would someone want to put a brutalizing murderer on a pedestal?

Victims in Oklahoma Attack

Traci Johnson (right) and Colleen Hufford (left). Traci Johnson survived a near-fatal attack and Colleen Hufford was brutally murdered by Alton Nolen in Moore, OK at the Vaughn processing plant where the three worked.
Traci Johnson (right) and Colleen Hufford (left). Traci Johnson survived a near-fatal attack and Colleen Hufford was brutally murdered by Alton Nolen in Moore, OK at the Vaughn processing plant where the three worked. | Source

Call it what it is.

One of the words that is synonymous with Nolen since the September 25th attack for which he is now infamous is "terrorist."

Is Nolen a terrorist? Absolutely. The definition of domestic terrorism is defined by the FBI as any activity with the following three characteristics:

  • "Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
  • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
  • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S."

By definition, Nolen is a terrorist. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Before people set out on a vendetta against all Muslims (because, let's be honest, that's where this has already gone), let's take a look at one of the worst domestic "terrorists" in our nation's history.

We have had many terrorists in our nation and religion has nothing to do with it.

John Wayne Gacy: Gacy was a serial killer who targeted blond teenage boys between the ages of 14 and 17 who had light-colored eyes. He tortured, raped and killed his victims and then buried them on top of each other in sexual positions underneath his house. He killed 33 people that we know of and was executed for his crimes. His last words were "kiss my ass." He also styled himself as "Pogo the clown" and performed at fundraisers, in parades and for sick children. He was convicted of sodomy and served 18 months of a 10 year prison sentence for assault against two teenage boys in Iowa, but the records were sealed and went undiscovered until later investigation regarding the murders in Chicago. In just three years, Gacy killed 33 victims (on record. There could have been more). He was a Catholic who was raised in the Church and attended a Catholic school.

Does his upbringing in Christianity make him a "Christian terrorist?" Or do his actions violate the very definition of what a good Christian should be?

Likewise, does Alton Nolen's recent jailhouse conversion to Islam make him a "Muslim terrorist" or do his actions violate what a good Muslim should be?

The answer to these questions are the same for both men. Their religious upbringing or conversion has nothing to do with their brutal behavior.

John Wayne Gacy: American Terrorist

John Wayne Gacy's mugshot
John Wayne Gacy's mugshot | Source

How to spot a sociopath

Here are some key traits of a sociopath:

  • lack of empathy
  • irresponsible regarding financial obligations or obligations to others
  • superficially charismatic and charming--masters of deception
  • unrepentant liars
  • manipulative
  • oversized egos
  • lack of remorse or shame
  • having few friends
  • living for pleasure--only doing what they enjoy
  • disregarding societal norms

One in twenty-five people is a sociopath. They are not always behind bars. Maybe 1 in 4 prisoners is a sociopath, but sociopaths are responsible for half of the crimes committed, on average. Meaning that many criminal sociopaths walk among us daily, smiling brightly, shaking hands and having intense and meaningful conversations with people.

I have had the personal experience of loving at least a couple of sociopaths, and of those, at least one has not been convicted of any crime. That person has zero compassion and zero accountability. This individual is constantly a "victim" of circumstances of his own making. While I have shed this creep from my life, I am now in a unique position to observe as he manipulates others who buy into his external persona hook, line and sinker. I know how good he is at it--I fell for it for several years before I finally figured him out.


Back to the subject at hand

Let me digress from my own experiences and return to the discussion at hand: Alton Nolen.

He is, by definition, a terrorist. He is also most likely a sociopath who created an external persona that is approved of and accepted by many--that of a "God-fearing Muslim." There are glaring oversights in his presentation, however. He cites the Bible and refers to God instead of the Quran and Allah. This could be seen as evidence that his faith and conversion are merely surface features of his personality. Instead of taking accountability for his past and recent actions that violate the laws of the land, he believes himself to be a victim of "the man" and of society in general. He appears to have a number of acquaintances but not close friends.

These facts do not mean he is unloved. Most people on this planet were born of mothers who most likely cradled those children in their arms and wished for the best for them.

Just because he is loved and has a family does not make him any less a sociopath, a terrorist or a violent killer.

His religion does not make him a killer.

The biology of his brain does.

a tongue-in-cheek look at a sociopath's phrenology
a tongue-in-cheek look at a sociopath's phrenology | Source

Alton Nolen's mother believes there's two sides to the story

Beheading suspect Nolen's mother said the following in a video she shared on Facebook of herself and Nolen's sister just four days after the attack that left one women dead and another hospitalized:

"I know my son. My son was raised up in a loving home. My son was raised up believing in God. That's what he believed in. My son was a good kid. You know, I know what they saying, that he dumb, But I'm gonna tell you this. That's not my son. There's two sides to every story, and we're only hearing one. He is family, our hearts bleed right now. Because what they're saying, Alton has done. I want to apologize, to both families. Because this is not Alton. But I just, I'm praying, that justice will prevail. The whole story will come out, the whole story."

His sister posted the following message on Facebook:

"My brother, he's always been a great person, a loving person. He's always been a peoples person. He's never been a violent person. So, for something like this to have happened... were all still in shock right now. We're all still in shock. We just ask that everyone out there just pray for us. Keep us all in your prayers. We're praying for both of the victims families and the victims and we just ask that everyone keep us in your prayers."

These women know Nolen as son and brother not killer, just as Gacy's friends and family knew him as a community-minded businessman and volunteer with seemingly strong values.

Mother and Sister of Beheading Suspect Make Statement

Strangers Among Us

Ultimately, there is no surefire way to tell if someone you know is a sociopath. And being a sociopath does not always translate to being a psychopath. It becomes decidedly easier once you learn that the person has killed to re-examine past interactions and spot clues in their behavior.

I imagine that is a process that Nolen's family, if not already doing, will begin soon.


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