Skip to comments.What Motivates Mass Murderers (John R. Lott Jr.)
Posted on 03/05/2013 8:14:58 PM PST by neverdem
We refuse to confront murderers motivations, and make high body counts more likely.
Why did a deranged man choose to kill 20 innocent young children in Newtown, Conn.? Immediately after the killing, some speculated that he was jealous of the Sandy Hook students because his mother spent time volunteering at the school.
However, new evidence shows the real motive was likely different: He wanted to try to kill more people than the current mass-shooting record holder, the 2011 Norwegian mass shooter.
Police have apparently discovered articles in the killer’s bedroom leading to this conclusion. USA Today writes that the school was picked “because it was the easiest target for an alleged attempt to outdo Norwegian mass murderer who killed 77 people in July 2011.” Likewise, the Hartford Courant reports that the Connecticut shooter “saw himself as being in competition with” the Norwegian killer.
Is this a believable motive? Unfortunately, it is. Indeed, the goal of a high body count is nothing new at all. Many mass killers are clearly vying for fame, and not just any shooting will do. They know very well that the more people they kill, the more the world will hear about their deeds. The Newtown killer presumably picked this target also because the horror of killing small children would further add to the media attention.
These killers might well be mentally ill, but many of them are also calculating and highly logical. Though many plan to die in the attacks (75 percent of mass shootings end with the shooter’s death), they typically feel unappreciated and want to be remembered by others. They use mass killing to force people to notice their existence.
A perfect example is the Virginia Tech killer, who compared himself to the Columbine killers. He hoped that if he could massacre more people than they had, he could achieve even more media coverage.
All the discussion about the shooter only shows future mass killers that they can expect to be lavished with similar attention. I have been arguing for almost 15 years that, in order to cut down on future killing sprees, the media should stop giving these killers the attention that they crave, especially by mentioning their names.
Some countries, including Canada, put legal embargoes on information about pending criminal cases. Only after trials have occurred may the news media go into the case’s details. The main reason is to protect the jury from bias, but it also limits the notoriety the killers can accrue. That said, even Canada has no restrictions on coverage if the killer himself dies at the scene.
But this is the United States, home to the First Amendment. No one seriously discusses a gag order on the press, even if it would be a very effective way of curtailing these attacks. A free press serves as an important check on government power, and allowing the government to determine when certain topics are too sensitive for the press puts us on a slippery slope. (It’s worth noting, however, that when it comes to guns, the press has no problem touting such “reasonable” regulations.)
Mass killers choose their targets carefully so they can achieve the greatest carnage. Obviously schoolchildren make an easy target, but they aren’t the only example of this phenomenon.
Mass shootings occur in places where people of all ages are defenseless, such as so-called gun-free zones in which lots of people congregate and guns are banned. Since at least 1950, all but two of the public shootings in America with more than three deaths have taken place where guns were banned.
Take the Aurora shooting last summer. Within 20 minutes of the murderer’s apartment there were seven movie theaters premiering the Batman movie. The shooter didn’t go to the one that was closest to his apartment. And he didn’t choose the one with the largest audience. Instead, he went to the only one where guns were banned.
We should be trying to deprive these killers of what they crave: attention and easy targets. Instead, we ignore measures that might keep them from getting attention and pass laws that give them defenseless victims.
Teaching people to be defenseless is the problem.
Schools are ground zero for that phenomena.
Schools have also removed God.
you know... if I was a demented sicko that wanted to go out in a blaze of glory...
I think I would take out people that had pissed me off, not a bunch of kids that never did nothing to anyone, much less me.
Re: legal embargoes, if the press is 100% in the tank for progressives/Democrats/Communists and essentially a mouthpiece for any Dem administration, is it REALLY “free” ??? Those murdering bastards should receive MINIMAL coverage, if that!
Just out of curiosity, why did Lanza stop at 27? Did he run out of victims? Ammo?
IIRC, the cops finally, after 20 minutes, arrived on the scene.
Ditto, but I was going to say “Festering Anger”.
In addition to the above, I think I read somewhere that he was viewed in the vicinity of the high school that morning, but drove off when there was police activity near it.
He went for the softest target.
The local police have stated repeatedly that the rumor he was seen at the HS has no foundation in fact.
My impression is that evidence from the shooter’s home indicates the elementary school was the original and intended target.
I saw the title and figured it was about obama.
The only time I have seen media types actually back off from using these mass killings to further their agenda is when they are confronted with the credible accusation that they are much more of the cause than guns are.
This needs to be repeated over and over. The MSM cause these shootings. Their actions are shouting Fire! in a crowded school.
The 20 minute response time is a media created myth. The actual response time was about 6-7 minutes.
Thanks for the update. I have not (obviously!) been following the story closely, so had missed that vital detail!
I appreciate having the correct information.
I totally agree. This is from “Dear Mr. Security Agent.”
5. If it bleeds, it leads: The media love maniacs.
The same media that pointedly ignore frequent life-saving defensive uses of firearms consistently pours hours and days and weeks of attention upon the latest maniac who chooses a firearm as his tool of mass murder, so that the next potential insane villain cannot fail to notice the easy path to fame and immortality that the misuse of a gun can bring. But the greatest fame will only attach if they can beat the previous body-count record, a number constantly and loudly broadcast, so that no one can fail to hear it.
The message to the unstable is clear: Come on, you crazy guys, cant you at least murder your way to thirty? The Virginia Polytechnic Institute madman is still leading the lone-wolf pack, but college students might resist, so maybe find an easier target to rack up higher numbers. Find a killing zone with younger and more helpless victims. The medias lesson was clear, and it was well learned by Adam Lanza when he set out to slaughter helpless little lambs instead of bigger and tougher sheep.
The mainstream media pour a Niagara of crocodile tears over the most recent child victims, after doing everything for the killer but sign his name to their pre-written script. With such fanfare, is it any wonder that there is no lack of new monsters playing beat the kill record on a regular basis? Its almost become a recurring television reality show.
I definitely read that here on FR, and that there was security cam video from the H.S. that showed this.
I really want to see this video. If it exists, we really need to hammer this point to help get rid of the idiocy of gun-free victim zones.
We simply need to keep on fighting. I believe the media are sensitive to this charge, if we can get it out. When confronted directly with it, they flinch.
Thanks for the comment. I also remember a similar time frame being reported as well. That was less than 10 minutes, maybe 8 give or take. Whatever time it was, Lanza committed suicide shortly after the cops arrived.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.