HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » The seven myths of mass m...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 12:10 AM

The seven myths of mass murder

By J. Reid Meloy, Ph.D.


For the past 15 years my colleagues and I have conducted research on mass murder, the intentional killing of three or more individuals, excluding the perpetrator, during one event. Recent cases of mass murder have pointed to misconceptions about this rare and frightening act, and I would like to shed some light on what I consider the seven myths of mass murder.

Myth 1: They “snap.”

Immediately following a mass murder, there is a steady stream of newspaper headlines and what I call “entertainment profilers” on television who proclaim that the individual “snapped.” There is no psychological term called snapping, but many assume that mass murder is done impulsively, with great emotion, and without planning or preparation. Almost all mass murders don’t fit this profile.

Research consistently shows that mass murderers research, plan, and prepare for their act of violence for days, weeks, and even months. The fantasy may have incubated in their minds for years, even though the time, place, and target had yet to be determined. The act usually occurs after a major loss in love or work, and this may “start the clock” wherein final detailed preparation begins. I have forensically evaluated a number of mass murderers in prison or forensic hospitals, and with few exceptions, there was no evidence of a high state of emotional arousal when the killings occurred. Witnesses who have survived mass murders invariably describe the shooter as cool, calm, and deliberate — a lack of emotion that is a corollary of planned violence.



This is a very interesting read. Full article here: [link:http://blog.oup.com/2012/09/seven-myths-of-mass-murder/|

7 replies, 990 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply The seven myths of mass murder (Original post)
Mr. Mojo Risen Dec 2012 OP
steve2470 Dec 2012 #1
niyad Dec 2012 #2
Mr. Mojo Risen Dec 2012 #3
riderinthestorm Dec 2012 #4
Cerridwen Dec 2012 #5
hootinholler Dec 2012 #7
Cerridwen Dec 2012 #6

Response to Mr. Mojo Risen (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 12:15 AM

1. k&r nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mr. Mojo Risen (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 12:38 AM

2. k and r--will read tomorrow--no way I can get through that tonight.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to Mr. Mojo Risen (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 04:59 PM

4. Bookmarking for reading tomorrow. I'm on overload today and I'm done. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mr. Mojo Risen (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:26 PM

5. Adding kick to rec and a quote that I find important.

Myth 7: Mass murder can be predicted and prevented

Unfortunately this will never happen given the simple fact that we cannot predict such an extremely rare event. If we attempt to do so, we will grossly over-predict its occurrence and perhaps infringe upon individual rights and freedoms. However, we can mitigate the risk of such events by paying attention to behaviors of concern. This stopped Richard Reid from bringing down an airplane over the Atlantic in December 2001, when a passenger noticed he was trying to light his sneaker with a match. It contributed to the prevention of another ideologically driven mass murder in Times Square on 1 May 2010 when two street vendors noticed a suspicious van parked on a busy corner and alerted the police; two days later Faisal Shahzad was arrested as he sat on a plane at Kennedy bound for Dubai. Such situational awareness is critical to interdict someone in the final stages of an attack.

But there is another warning behavior that is quite frequent: mass murderers will leak their intent to others — a phrase expressed to another, or posted on the internet, that raises concern. It may be overt: “I’m going to kill my supervisor and his cohorts tomorrow;” or it may be covert: “don’t come to work tomorrow, but watch the news.” The logical reaction should be to alert someone in a position of authority; however, most people don’t. It surfaces after the event, with the rationale, “I just didn’t think he was serious.” Trust your emotional reactions of anxiety, wariness, or fear, and let law enforcement investigate. (emphasis added)


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cerridwen (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:29 PM

7. That is a great article. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mr. Mojo Risen (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:38 PM

6. Another kick. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread