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What Motivates Mass Murderers (John R. Lott Jr.)
National Review Online ^ | March 5, 2013 | 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.

Jr. is a former chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission and the author of the just released book At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over the Edge?



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: banglist; guncontrol; secondamendment

1 posted on 03/05/2013 8:15:13 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Sin.


2 posted on 03/05/2013 8:22:57 PM PST by Bradís Gramma (Psalm 83)
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To: neverdem

Teaching people to be defenseless is the problem.
Schools are ground zero for that phenomena.


3 posted on 03/05/2013 8:24:13 PM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Brad's Gramma

Schools have also removed God.


4 posted on 03/05/2013 8:25:34 PM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: neverdem

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.


5 posted on 03/05/2013 8:41:41 PM PST by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama lied .. the economy died.)
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To: neverdem

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!


6 posted on 03/05/2013 8:44:03 PM PST by Frank_2001
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To: neverdem

Just out of curiosity, why did Lanza stop at 27? Did he run out of victims? Ammo?


7 posted on 03/05/2013 8:49:03 PM PST by umgud
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To: umgud
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.

8 posted on 03/05/2013 9:04:16 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: umgud
umgud asked: "Did he run out of victims? Ammo?"

Time?

9 posted on 03/05/2013 9:09:14 PM PST by William Tell
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To: Brad's Gramma

“Sin.”

Ditto, but I was going to say “Festering Anger”.


10 posted on 03/05/2013 9:25:52 PM PST by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: neverdem

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.


11 posted on 03/05/2013 10:32:05 PM PST by TEXOKIE (We must surrender only to our Holy God and never to the evil that has befallen us.)
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To: TEXOKIE

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.


12 posted on 03/05/2013 11:01:10 PM PST by Valpal1
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To: neverdem

I saw the title and figured it was about obama.


13 posted on 03/06/2013 1:33:57 AM PST by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: neverdem; All

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.


14 posted on 03/06/2013 3:27:41 AM PST by marktwain (The MSM must die for the Republic to live. Long live the new media!)
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To: neverdem; All
IIRC, the cops finally, after 20 minutes, arrived on the scene.

The 20 minute response time is a media created myth. The actual response time was about 6-7 minutes.

15 posted on 03/06/2013 4:23:55 AM PST by marktwain (The MSM must die for the Republic to live. Long live the new media!)
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To: Valpal1

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.


16 posted on 03/06/2013 8:03:23 AM PST by TEXOKIE (We must surrender only to our Holy God and never to the evil that has befallen us.)
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To: marktwain

I totally agree. This is from “Dear Mr. Security Agent.”
http://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/bracken-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, can’t 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 media’s 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? It’s almost become a recurring television reality show.


17 posted on 03/06/2013 8:13:14 PM PST by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: TEXOKIE

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.


18 posted on 03/07/2013 4:04:45 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Travis McGee
I count your words in “Dear Mr. Security Agent.” as some of the best in showing how the media are responsible for these mass shootings.

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.

19 posted on 03/07/2013 5:02:43 AM PST by marktwain (The MSM must die for the Republic to live. Long live the new media!)
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To: marktwain; umgud
The 20 minute response time is a media created myth. The actual response time was about 6-7 minutes.

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.

20 posted on 03/07/2013 1:08:58 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem
BOOKMARK
21 posted on 03/07/2013 1:14:08 PM PST by ExSoldier (Stand up and be counted... OR LINE UP AND BE NUMBERED...)
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To: mylife
Schools are ground zero for that phenomena.

Now rapidly being overtaken by DHS. A recent video training film released by DHS offers the following advice for an active shooter in an office building: If attacked by a deranged gunman in an open area where there is nowhere to run and hide, consider attacking using a pair of office SCISSORS (ExSoldier's note: presumably not "safety scissors....").

22 posted on 03/07/2013 1:18:32 PM PST by ExSoldier (Stand up and be counted... OR LINE UP AND BE NUMBERED...)
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To: FreedomPoster; Valpal1; neverdem

FreedomPoster, Valpal1 is stating in post 12 that the video is reportedly just a rumor. Valpal1, do you have a link for that/those story/ies?

I agree with you, FreedomPoster. If it is at all possible that such a video exists, it truly should be hammered, as you say. If not for this instance, then I imagine we will be facing another incident at another gun free zone. But this gun free zone issue is very important.


23 posted on 03/07/2013 4:41:11 PM PST by TEXOKIE (We must surrender only to our Holy God and never to the evil that has befallen us.)
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To: FreedomPoster; TEXOKIE

I don’t have the link handy or the time to go find it, but it was an article in the local Sandy Hook paper quoting the local LEO that it was just a rumor.

If they do have Lanza on security cam casing the HS, that will be in the final report.


24 posted on 03/07/2013 5:57:06 PM PST by Valpal1
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To: Valpal1; FreedomPoster

Thanks, Valpal1.


25 posted on 03/07/2013 8:04:52 PM PST by TEXOKIE (We must surrender only to our Holy God and never to the evil that has befallen us.)
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To: TEXOKIE; Valpal1; pioneerstakethearrows

Thanks for the heads-up to both of you. pioneerstakethearrows is also keenly interested in this aspect of the story. PTTA, read post 12 and 23 for comments on the security cam rumor.

I’m going to send a FReepmail to all of you with the four of us in it to store as a little ping list. If anyone sees anything new on this, please ping the rest.


26 posted on 03/07/2013 8:18:02 PM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: FreedomPoster; pioneerstakethearrows; Valpal1

Thanks.


27 posted on 03/08/2013 8:49:28 AM PST by TEXOKIE (We must surrender only to our Holy God and never to the evil that has befallen us.)
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To: TEXOKIE

It was an article in the Newtown Patch. I looked for it again, but their search function is pretty limited and so is my time. But that is where I first read about local LEO dismissing the video story and supposed sightings at the HS as a total rumor.

I suspect it started with a bunch of teen age drama queens speculating speculating among themselves until the story grew legs.


28 posted on 03/08/2013 8:57:24 AM PST by Valpal1
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To: Valpal1; FreedomPoster

Not disputing your info or sources at all, Valpal1...just interested in the truth. I haven’t had time to do a lot of research on this as much as I’d like either. I’m in the middle of several projects which are taking priority.

Thanks very much for letting us know where you saw the information!


29 posted on 03/08/2013 4:23:17 PM PST by TEXOKIE (We must surrender only to our Holy God and never to the evil that has befallen us.)
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To: TEXOKIE

Not a problem, I just thought I should let people know the exact source where I was reading. If I could remember or recognize the name of the journalist, I bet I could find the exact article.

I’ve searched a couple of times between other activities, but the returns so many articles it’s too much to page through.


30 posted on 03/08/2013 4:44:35 PM PST by Valpal1
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To: Valpal1

Understood!


31 posted on 03/08/2013 8:45:33 PM PST by TEXOKIE (We must surrender only to our Holy God and never to the evil that has befallen us.)
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