Before we come to the conclusion of the analysis in the murder of Amanda Blackburn, we should take one last preparatory step: understanding narcissism in language and in homicdes.
On the morning of November 10th, 2015 I came home from the gym to discover Amanda had been shot in the head during a home invasion while our 15 month old was in his crib upstairs. She passed away in the hospital twenty-four hours later. Since that day Weston and I have been walking a road I would have never chosen for us or anyone else.
For people of faith, theology and psychology are set in priority:
theology gives the answers; while psychology provides the means of studying the behavior found beneath the answers.
So it is that selfishness, to the exclusion of others and adequately defined is a "sin", and that narcissism is the means to which this sin has come into being. All children are born inherently narcissistic, and it is that teaching, for example, human empathy, is necessary.
Unconditional love to a child is often reinterpreted as unconditional acceptance. This leads to emotional blackmail, and to a very dissatisfied adulthood. One one side, the love is without condition; that is, it cannot end; while the re-interpretation means no judging, no shaming and no boundaries set. Narcissism in children is natural, and it is the expectation of good parenting to teach a child human empathy for others, sacrifice, and how to do good.
The fascinating thing here is that when narcissism and religion meet, it is not new, nor a novelty.
In the Amanda Blackburn murder, we have seen most recently the context of which it took place: 3 young gang members entered into an unlocked door, sexually assaulted Amanda Blackburn (her clothing was moved to expose her privacy), and murdered her.
Her husband, Davey Blackburn, was at the gym, as was his wont, at this set time, and on this set day, he also habitually called his friend, another pastor, yet this time, Blackburn remained on the cell phone, in his driveway, for almost 40 additional minutes while Amanda lay bleeding out.
The question for analysis is this:
Did the husband of murder victim Davey Blackburn know his home would be invaded on this day?
It matters little, initially, how any such guilty knowledge would take place: the first question must be answered before subsequent investigatory or analytical questions are posed, in searching for how this might have been done.
Did he know, that very morning, that he should stay in the driveway for near 40 minutes longer? This is critical.
Did police 'close' this investigation far too quickly?
What would cause people to consider that he may have known that a violent, lethal home invasion was to take place?
This is where we come to the husband, and the topic of narcissism.
Those who read of this crime understood:
1. That statistics tell us that the most likely guilty party in the murder of a pregnant woman is a man connected to her, either to her directly, or to her by the pre born baby.
2. That Blackburn, himself, has, as an extraordinary means of information in this case, a very detailed public record of his words, via his church in which we learn a great deal of information about him, the victim, and his thoughts about the pregnancy before the crime.
3. That Blackburn, himself, has given these public statements about the murder, and his language has caught the attention of both the world of analysts, and the untrained; sharing concern over unusual choice of wording. This includes:
a. complaining about the victim
b. giving details about what upset him most; the pregnancy
c. his priority in church numbers
d. how his marriage and pregnancy hindered such
then, he gave a visual of him holding a gun just prior to:
Having the barrier and stressor removed from hindering his priority with...a gun.
All this, including the delay in the driveway establish 'odds' which caused investigators unrelated to the case to say, in one way or another, "No one is this lucky..." or "this defies reason."
The investigators who analyzed his statements stated that they believed Blackburn knew his house would be a target that morning.
What does the language tell us?
Narcissism and the Pronoun "we" in context.
To interpret his use of the pronoun "we" as simply narcissism or religious narcissism is to grant him the 50% discount that all deceptive individuals seek: interpretation. It simply is not so, contextually with him. He shows us just how adept he is at language and how to use his strong intellect to manipulate.
Pronouns are instinctive in the English language. Being instinctive, they require no pre-thought and one who has deluded himself into believing that he and jesus are one, if true, would do so consistently. We note carefully what topics provoked the subject (Davey Blackburn) to change from "I" to "we" and what topics did not.
This is not a delusional nor narcissistic use of the pronoun "we" in context.
Narcissism represents a powerful selfishness in personality.
Even the untrained report counting the number of "I" pronouns used, for example, by Barak Obama, as they report his self-congratulatory speeches.
Recently, he reported that the saved the world economy.
Narcissists are often talented and can become famous. They are often highly manipulative and use their talent to promote themselves.
We saw in Blackburn's case, a disregard for historic Christianity, and a "front and center" aspect that is designed to promote himself, both audibly and visibly, to his audience. He possesses a personality trait that is necessary for what he hopes to accomplish:
He declares the Bible, for example, to be of Divine origin, but has no issue "counseling Divinity"; that is, to make any changes or "corrections" that he deems useful for his ends of self publicity. This is often seen where people, in general, become frustrated and say, "well, anyone can twist the Bible in any way to make it sound anything they want..." as if the original record had no intent of communication.
The 'jesus' he presents does not resemble the Jesus of the historical record. This is not surprising. Whether we wish to believe it or not, human nature is religious inherently, and even those who claim there is no god create their own god, often in their own image. They, too, have a final point of arbitration in all things. Blackburn's ideology is not new but is based upon human self love which is a departure from the very source he claims to be Divine. It is to replace Divine love with romantic love, which is why you hear his 'jesus' or Divinity meeting him in the shower, and at his beck and call to bring fulfillment to Blackburn.
how "arrogant" is arrogant?
We must stay within context.
We considered the personality type that can claim both Divine Authorship of Scripture, and a pragmatic need to alter things, to fit the agenda. It does, in deed, take a specific type of ego to "teach God" (this is in their world) and "correct the Almighty" either in doctrine or just in practice. It takes a very specific type of egotistical self view to hold to both views.
He said that his wife died for the church. This is far more important than simply re-writing Christian theology. His 'theology' serves but one purpose: to serve Davey by making him the center of all things, including history, as he outshines his mentor, who himself, recognized that something was very wrong with Blackburn.
The Psychology of Divine Revelation in the Shower
When he spoke publicly about his "shower" with Divinity he not only feigned a meeting with the Author of Scripture, but received the news that he, Davey, would be front and center (nothing unexpected here) in a history making movement.
The message was clear: join him and be part of history, or...what would happen?
He made certain that failure would be laid at their feet; not his.
For people of faith, this claim means that Divine revelation has taken place, linguistically, outside the Scripture. For those who believe that their Bibles are sufficient for all things, they have been mistaken. This extra-biblical revelation must come to either:
a. discredit the Bible itself or
b. come to one who's ego is so inflated that he is able to know what the Scriptures teach about this topic, and supplant it with their own self.
As I wrote in the previous entry, it takes a very specific personality to make claim that the Bible is Divine in itself, and then to alter it. This is to elevate oneself to not equality with God, but superiority.
In history, it has always been such.
Movements were born of such egomaniacs that even those who declared themselves to be the source of divine revelation to know the "end of the world" with most fizzling while others making quite a name ($) for themselves. A consistent note is the narcissistic view but in this case, we have the acute need for sexual cleansing in the shower, along with a degree of importance that he could not only cut through the "grieving process" but could do so publicly while declaring himself central to this "history" making event.
In this sense, "Davey so loved the church that he gave his only wife, Amanda" and police investigators should, perhaps, have slowed down the pace to learn more about the man, himself, who:
*Is statistically the most likely guilty party, whether through connection or via directness (in this case, he was directly cleared by his alibi)
*complained about his wife hindering his success
*is obsessed with success
*used deceptive language
Davey Blackburn should have been given a polygraph to learn if he had anticipated, that very morning, that his home was going to be 'robbed', even if it does not include murder.
Psychology 101 from "Psychology Today" with analysis or commentary in bold type:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder involves arrogant behavior, a lack of empathy for other people,
Consider carefully how shocking the language was: Amanda was not yet buried and he had already 'moved on' and was taking about his numerical success. He showed no linguistic concern for his son, or Amanda's family. Untrained eyes found this shocking: how could he seem almost gleeful about the exposure and not show any words of empathy for his wife (who he distanced himself, linguistically from) or anyone else?
and a need for admiration-all of which must be consistently evident at work and in relationships. People who are narcissistic are frequently described as cocky, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. Narcissists may concentrate on unlikely personal outcomes (e.g., fame) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment.
Watch, for a few minutes, any one of the "Davey videos" in which he has his costumes, and his strut, and his inability to talk about any topic but himself, and his sexuality.
The most striking? It is difficult to choose but consider the video in which he uses subtle insult to control Amanda, or how he told his audience that Amanda was sexually inadequate for him, and to give a specific example of just how inadequate she was: he tells how he could not bother to talk to her at a restaurant, depersonalizing her into her sex organs, of which he would have to "use" first, and then, and only then, would she be worthy of table conversation.
Recall, he is boasting, or so he thinks, even while he reveals his narcissism. Can you imagine how you might feel to hear your daughter spoken of like this? He showed an acute need to tell his audience, "I am so very heterosexual and my prowess is such that I cannot even hold a conversation without intercourse first..." not considering how awful this even sounds. It is like one detached from reality, but he is not. He is deliberate and gets no "discount" for being "Crazy Davey", the term Noble pinned on him because Noble, as a successful businessman, saw in Davey something that only a woman could fix. You don't think his mentor has had his doubts since learning of this murder? His best friend? Go back and re-visit the language at the "memorial" service held to honor him, rather than remember the victim.
If you watch a video, for no more than a few minutes, would you use the words above?
Would you link his 'dinner sex story' with "demanding"?
How about "grandiose"?
Related Personality Disorders: Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic. Narcissism is a less extreme version of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Narcissism involves cockiness, manipulativeness, selfishness, power motives, and vanity-a love of mirrors. Related personality traits include: Psychopathy, Machiavellianism.
Narcissists tend to have high self-esteem. However, narcissism is not the same thing as self-esteem; people who have high self-esteem are often humble, whereas narcissists rarely are.
When someone tells you how "humble" they are, the self awareness is low.
It was once thought that narcissists have high self-esteem on the surface, but deep down they are insecure. However, the latest evidence indicates that narcissists are actually secure or grandiose at both levels. Onlookers may infer that insecurity is there because narcissists tend to be defensive when their self-esteem is threatened (e.g., being ridiculed); narcissists can be aggressive. The sometimes dangerous lifestyle may more generally reflect sensation-seeking or impulsivity (e.g., risky sex, bold financial decisions).Here we have an easy to define due to the abundance of video and how often he has posted. The use of the murder victim's diary, and the pragmatic view of success and religion also make this an 'easy to spot' where an abundance of 'sample' is readily accessed.
From the moment Blackburn went public with his wife's death, he made each new announcement about him. Whether he talked about any other topic, he found a way to turn it around to himself. For months, posters have put his diary and tweets in the comments section and they are close to unreadable for the stomach to digest. They show a consistent narcissism and a very low self awareness of just how easily 'readable' he is.
The narcissist will do 'whatever it takes' to satisfy self, though satisfaction is never really obtained. In domestic homicides, we find the shift in blame, responsibility as well as the subtle insulting of the victim.
By insulting the victim, guilt is attempted to be assuaged since it affords the victim the status of having 'deserved' to die. In this case, he wraps it in religious language, but even this, he was able to turn around and make it about his own business success.
For this narcissistic personality, Amanda was in the way but she was never more in the way of his success but when she was pregnant. How do I know this? Because he said so.
He struggled back and forth in front of the camera and audience, and even brought out a gun, just prior to her death, without thought that anyone might connect the dots.
Did he know, that morning, that his house was to be hit?
"For us, we have nothing to hide."
As the odds stood together with his lack of fear of the still-at-large violent killers, we had someone in tune only with his own blind ambitions, and not that of the victims, including the pre born child, and all those who loved Amanda.
The seasoned investigators who studied his statements and repeatedly told me the same responses, the view of the narcissist was not dissimilar to others who have orchestrated the death of a spouse.
It is, however, his statements that tell us the most information about the case, as well as his need to distance himself from the victim, who he has subtly disparaged and attempted to turn the murder into his own profit.
The personality of the victim's husband?
Narcissistic language easily affirmed due to video but what does he language cause us to conclude:
Did he know his house was to be targeted by criminals that day?
V. Analysis Conclusion: up next