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Sat Dec 22, 2012, 06:26 AM

Blame the killing machines: guns


In 1989, Esquire magazine assigned me to write a story about the aftermath of an atrocity that January in Stockton, Calif. Patrick Purdy, a 26-year-old drifter and alcoholic, opened fire on the playground of Cleveland Elementary School during recess with a legally purchased AK-47 assault rifle, killing six children and wounding 29 others. He then put a legally purchased 9 mm semiautomatic pistol to his head and killed himself.

My assignment was to find out why. Purdy left no clues that might explain his actions. After speaking to law enforcement officials, evidence technicians and forensic psychiatrists, who specialize in puzzling out the motives of suicides who don’t leave notes, I drew a bleak conclusion: A mind like Purdy’s is ultimately unknowable. It’s like a black hole in outer space. Whatever light can be shined into it is sucked in by the gravity of its pathologies and never gets out.

I assume that the same will hold true of Adam Lanza.

If such minds are unknowable, it follows that they’re also unpredictable. If you look into the backgrounds of mass murderers, you’ll find very few who gave signs that they were capable of a heinous crime. Many of them were “grievance killers” — the laid-off employee who is to all appearances normal, up to the moment he barges into the office with guns blazing.

Purdy was the psychopathic type, but he did not have a history of violence. He had never been charged with a felony, never been committed to a mental institution. Sure, he was depicted as a weird loner, but that description would fit a million people, virtually none of whom commit massacres. No one who knew him suspected that he had it in him to spray a crowded school ground with bullets. No one could say what triggered his rampage.

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Reply Blame the killing machines: guns (Original post)
xchrom Dec 2012 OP
MrYikes Dec 2012 #1

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 07:11 AM

1. I can say what triggered his rampage, separate kitchens!

That is if you want to go back that far. Without separate kitchens we all had to get together every day. With separate kitchens we were not forced to mingle with others, we started down the road to isolationism. We have it pretty well perfected now a days.
When the baby comes we're pretty busy, then when it grows into school age, we meet others and socialize. That continues until graduation and then without the need to mingle with people, the parents drift home to be alone. The children are watching. When an "event" happens, as it does with all families, there is no guiding line, we are alone. The smart ones have resources, the majority don't.
Over-population is the big thing, but income inequality is the hammer-to-the-head.
Yeah, I haven't had my coffee yet.

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