Psychology of mass shooters

Via CGL Admin we have this is a fascinating article on the psychology of mass shooters: Everything We Think We Know About Mass Shooters Is Wrong.

The bottom line is that it isn’t so much that they are psychopathically evil but that they want attention and to be accepted so badly they are willing to kill other people to get that attention. This is consistent with other psychological assessments that say the media coverage of mass shooters helps create more mass shooters.


7 thoughts on “Psychology of mass shooters

  1. Interesting article. So, since “media coverage of mass shooters helps create more mass shooters.”, one could maybe say this is a reason to restrict a free press. Or use some discretion in reporting on the incident.

    • There is a ‘standard’ that news agencies follow when publishing certain types of news events: for instance – suicides are rarely reported as such – doing so causes more suicides in the public.
      Certain horrific crime details are just left out of the press reports – details are not presented – graphic items are not presented.

      And so too should mass shooter incidents should be almost entirely removed from mass media – they should not make the news as the currently do – just state criminal event occurred with SWAT called and leave it to that. Grandiose thinking is pretty common in certainly mental patients and actually reading/seeing some mass event just pushes some fragile minds over the edge.

      Add the psychotropics that are being pumped in to our culture and losing touch with reality becomes common.

      • They can’t do that. It’s just too big of news to leave out the details. What they can do is make a concerting effort to leave the name and face of the shooter out.

  2. Respectfully, I call BS.

    The vast majority of US mass murders are gang-on-gang crimes. 4 to 10 people getting shot to death is a mass murder. If the shooting happened late at night, the shooter is long gone and there is no evidence, and the dead are all from the same gang, it gets filed under gang violence.

    This article focuses on the relatively few TV attention-worthy mass murders, done by people with severe mental illnesses.

  3. I can understand and generally agree with most of the “threat assessment” aspects, and the “pathway to violence” they’re documenting.

    I still call BS on the anti-gun spin offered by Esquire:

    Trunk does, however, think often of the person who is out there right now feeling the way he used to feel. The person with a grievance. The person with a plan. The person with a gun—hell, an arsenal. The person we feel powerless against, because we don’t know who he is. All we know is what he—or she—is going to do.

    ‘Cuz you know, the guns cause it all. Plus the use of the word “arsenal” – in the press, 2 guns and a hundred rounds of ammunition equals an “arsenal”.

    A lot of people tried to blame video games for what happened. “Video games just go with the territory. Like writing in a journal. No journal ever caused a shooting. It’s just part of the landscape. It’s a symptom. Same with video games.” … The guns, however, were another matter.

    Blame the guns again. Not the social isolation or injustice (real or perceived), not the “falling in with the wrong crowd”, etc. (although I agree the video games aren’t responsible, either).

    [Threat assessment] understands that guns are intrinsic to violence.

    Tell that to the dozens of dead victims every time there’s a mass-stabbing in China.

    Counterterrorism and threat assessment—CT and TA—have grown up side by side over the last frightful fifteen years as part of the same great paradigmatic shift from crime prevention toward crime anticipation.

    The beginnings of the Department of Pre-Crime, limited only by its inability to act unless a crime has already been committed. Silly old Constitution getting in the way again.

    Good psychological analysis, marred by poor inferences and assumptions.

    • You took the words right out of my mouth. Thanks for writing that, so I didn’t have to. If we are talking about throwing away the Bill of Rights to stop mass shootings, then it would be more effective to just require any male without a girlfriend to see a psychologist. Get Obamacare to pay for it, problem solved.

      If guns were harder to get, then the potential mass shooter would keep a can of gas or a pipe bomb in his closet and get the same feelings of empowerment. Make those illegal and they would keep swords. Make those illegal and they would keep a big stick and fantasize about clubbing people. You can’t win that way.

  4. Dave Barry once wrote a book on the history of the United States, in which he said that the years were the only things to worry about anyway… so every important date in American history was arbitrarily reassigned to his birthday.

    We could do something similar here. Every male mass shooter, or attempted mass shooter, is, as soon as he becomes a suspect, automatically renamed Clarence Applegate Buttface. Every female mass shooter is automatically renamed Eunice Flaccid Tampax. Let the press refer to them by that name, and only by that name, while joking to each other how strange it is that last year’s mass shooting in New Jersey had the same name.

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