Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

A psychologist looks at shooting sprees

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Joe Scott-Coe has an interesting post at NervousBreakdown.com:

On  Friday, November 30, after driving himself from Connecticut to Wyoming, Christopher Krumm used a bow and arrow to kill his professor father at the front of a classroom filled with community college students, and then stabbed himself to death. But before he did that, he stabbed his father’s 42 year-old girlfriend at home two miles away.

On Friday, December 14, Adam Lanza went on a shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed twenty children and six adults. But before he did that, he shot and killed his mother at home.

On Christmas Eve, William Spengler lured first responders to his neighborhood by setting a fire and then shooting four firemen, killing two of them, then committing suicide. Before he did that, he likely caused the death of his sister, whose remains were later found in the ashes. Way before that, in 1980, he killed his grandmother with a hammer.

 

On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman rolled a trunk of weapons up to the observation deck of the UT Tower in Austin and began shooting, killing thirteen and wounding thirty-one. But before he did that, he stabbed his wife, asleep in their bed at home. And before he did that, he attacked, bludgeoned, and stabbed his mother in her apartment.

Female bodies are often discovered at “secondary crime scenes,” so labeled because they contribute evidence and insight into the scene of the primary investigation, where the maximum public performance of horror has occurred. Secondary may seem to connote collateral or less important damage, but from a narrative and perhaps a psychological point of view, these scenes can be viewed as primary, not only in chronological but social significance.

On a practical level, these female victims represent potential barriers to commission of the crime—people who could talk down the perpetrator, contact authorities, or otherwise interfere. In the mind of the killer, these women also may have posed a symbolic barrier to a conscious or subconscious self-image as the perpetually wronged party, a man with No Other Options, the prodigal avenger called to teach the world a drastic lesson.

Unfortunately, whether racking up points for piles of bodies in a videogame or assassinating terrorists with drones, to kill in the West is to win. And in order to win, on some level, regardless of biological sex, a person must purge barriers to winning by suppressing characteristics perceived as culturally feminine: softness and gentleness, submission and openness, sympathy, mercy, or hesitation.

You know: Shoot first and ask questions later. Make my day. Don’t be a pussy.

The private killing of particular women who could stand in the way of multiple public murders embodies an extreme and ultimately violent suppression of . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 January 2013 at 12:11 pm

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