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Sad, tragic and unjustifiable, Mass Murder in a bar near me!



I wonder whether a key part of the mass killer’s
motivation is to cease being utterly unimportant?
In one act of craziness, he gets total relevance!​

Asher
Elliot Leyton offered that hypothesis about the motivation of serial killers. His 1986 book Hunting Humans was the first anthropological study of those people. It seems reasonable to propose that increased access in the USA to automatic weapons enabled some would-be serial killers to become mass murderers. In these days when traditional and social media provide a ready-maded Elysian Field for narcissist, it's small wonder that some of these losers take this route to obtain Andy Wahol's 15 minutes of fame.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
So, Mike,

Is killing just a more efficient way of recruiting attention and relevance, than coming down the elevator in a department store with the raincoat open!

Are the drivers of sexual desire really different from hatred?

Asher
 
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So, Mike,

Is killing just a more efficient way of recruiting attention and relevance, than coming down the elevator in a department store with the raincoat open!

Are the drivers of sexual desire really different from hatred?

Asher
Multiple factors play a part in murder rates and types of murder.

One factor has to do with the workings of an individual's brain due to inheritance and/or fetal development (e.g., fetal alcohol syndrome) and/or early developmental experience (e.g., traumatic effects). Properties of the brain among criminal offenders classified as psychopathic or sociopathic include a reward system that (1) demands instant gratification (e.g., associated with addictive behaviours), (2) is poorly integrated with systems of forward planning that help realize sustainable rewards, and (3) assigns low importance to the experiences of other people insofar as they are unrelated to personal gratification. So the consequences are that such a person is likely to crave attention from others (e.g., a form of reward), has a low attention span and poor ability to act in ways that sustain positive relationships with other people. The latter may lead that person to blame others (or categories of other people) for failures to provide reward and, consequently, to act impulsively and aggressively toward them.

A second factor is culture. The Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) recently cited Elliot Leyton's thesis about mass murderers: that such individuals target the perceived source of lost financial stability or class prestige < https://www.splcenter.org/20180205/alt-right-killing-people>. Ironicallly the SPLC blame recent Alt-Right mentality for the increase in mass murders in the USA, whereas Leyton's thesis attempted to expain why the perpetrators of infamous mass murders in Canada were either an immigrant or the child of an immigrant. He argued in favour of governmental and societal examination of attitudes that influence immigrant perceptions and conduct.

Another example of cultural effects on homicide derives from Canada. Although aboriginals make up 5% of the Canadian population, nearly one-quarter of homicide victims and one-third of accused perpetrators are aboriginal. My guesses about the reasons include an interaction between culture and psychopathic inclinations. Aboriginal culture in our part of Canada tolerates factors deterimental to health and wellbeing such as alcoholism, opiate addiction, and abusive familial interactions. Although treaties ratified toward the end of the colonial era undoubtedly contributed to aboriginal perceptions of disenfranchisement, lack of opportunity limits the homicidal context to immediate reactions to conflict and quarrels rather than reactions to perceived alienation.

The third factor is opportunity. To commit mass murder, the perpetrator needs ready access to guns. It's obvious to both Americans and outsiders that guns contribute to high homicide and suicide rates in the USA. Handguns are the weapon used in half of the homicides. Automatic rifles have become the weapon of choice for mass murderers. Easy opportunity interacts with American culture to produce a positive portrayal of gun users, whether cowboys, the military, high profile criminals, or deer hunters. So it's unsurprising that individuals with psychopatheic tendencies (probably inherited or acquired very early in life) reach for a gun when feeling disenfranchised and in need of reward.
 
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James Lemon

Active member
There are different types of mass murder where 4 or more people are killed. Mass shootings and mass murder at one location are two different subjects in my mind. One does not need access to guns to be able to commit mass murder.
 

Doug Kerr

Active member
Hi, James,

There are different types of mass murder where 4 or more people are killed. Mass shootings and mass murder at one location are two different subjects in my mind. One does not need access to guns to be able to commit mass murder.
Of course. But, oddly enough, the preponderance of mass murders (and not-mass murders) committed in this country are done with firearms.

And we recognize that. in parallel with the fact that in this country there is greater than one firearm per capita, their ready availability almost certainly had an effect on someone who, for whatever reason, is overcome with rage and wants to do something about it.

Now one could argue that it is not the ready availability of firearms that leads to the high rate of shootings (and I do not at all here limit myself to "mass shootings", however we might define that for statistical purposes) but the converse: a lot of people would like to kill somebody when they get mad and acquire firearms to be able to do that, and that's one reason there are so many firearms about.

And I'm sure that the reality is that cause and effect flow in both directions here.

Best regards,

Doug
 

James Lemon

Active member
Hi, James,



Of course. But, oddly enough, the preponderance of mass murders (and not-mass murders) committed in this country are done with firearms.

And we recognize that. in parallel with the fact that in this country there is greater than one firearm per capita, their ready availability almost certainly had an effect on someone who, for whatever reason, is overcome with rage and wants to do something about it.

Now one could argue that it is not the ready availability of firearms that leads to the high rate of shootings (and I do not at all here limit myself to "mass shootings", however we might define that for statistical purposes) but the converse: a lot of people would like to kill somebody when they get mad and acquire firearms to be able to do that, and that's one reason there are so many firearms about.

And I'm sure that the reality is that cause and effect flow in both directions here.

Best regards,

Doug
Fair enough Doug. I am not arguing anything. The majority of mass murder takes place within a family setting over half from what I have understood.

.Recently in Toronto
"Minassian targeted pedestrians with his van, killing 10 people and leaving 14 injured. He was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Another charge of attempted murder is being considered" You can read the story below

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/24/us/toronto-suspect-what-we-know/index.html

Also most of the gun deaths are suicide. Statistics show that nine out of ten people who commit suicide are under the influence of a mood altering drug, be it alcohol or what ever.

What about illicit drug use and gang activity? Just saying.

Best, regards
James
 
There are different types of mass murder where 4 or more people are killed. Mass shootings and mass murder at one location are two different subjects in my mind. One does not need access to guns to be able to commit mass murder.
Hi James

Existing definitions are not consensual. The FBI definition for mass murder includes 4 or more victims, that may include the perpetrator, during a very brief time period. Why 4 victims, why not 2, 3 or 6? Such arbitrariness suggests a probable reason why this definition plays no part in relevant legislative documentation in the USA.

Definitions for mass shootings are even more arbitary. Examples from authoritative American sources include examples where no death occurred.

Whilst you're correct that mass murders can occur without the use of firearms (e.g., the Boston Marathon bombers, who killed 3 people), because of previous postings, my comments about 'opportunity' were restricted to the USA. I should perhaps have made that clearer. As a proviso to the following, note that homicide data from the USA is less restrictive than that of some other countries. For example, US data includes some cases without a formal legal decision that the death was homicide rather than manslaughter, self-defence, accidental, etc. The most recent FBI data from 2016 reports that of 15,070 homicide victims, 11,004 (73%) were killed by firearms and 3,966 (27%) by other means. These numbers translate into rates of 3.4 homicide victims by firearms per 100,000 American residents and 1.2 victims per 100,000 residents by other means. Clearly, most US homicides were by firearms. You're also correct that more firearm deaths were classified as other than murder than as homicide (i.e., 7.4 versus 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people). The former include suicides and accidents.

The main point I was trying to make is that easy access to semi-automatic weapons, coupled with cultural factors and individual traits, suggests that correction for increasing numbers of mass murders in the USA is unlikely to occur soon.

Cheers, Mike
 

James Lemon

Active member
Hi James

Existing definitions are not consensual. The FBI definition for mass murder includes 4 or more victims, that may include the perpetrator, during a very brief time period. Why 4 victims, why not 2, 3 or 6? Such arbitrariness suggests a probable reason why this definition plays no part in relevant legislative documentation in the USA.

Definitions for mass shootings are even more arbitary. Examples from authoritative American sources include examples where no death occurred.

Whilst you're correct that mass murders can occur without the use of firearms (e.g., the Boston Marathon bombers, who killed 3 people), because of previous postings, my comments about 'opportunity' were restricted to the USA. I should perhaps have made that clearer. As a proviso to the following, note that homicide data from the USA is less restrictive than that of some other countries. For example, US data includes some cases without a formal legal decision that the death was homicide rather than manslaughter, self-defence, accidental, etc. The most recent FBI data from 2016 reports that of 15,070 homicide victims, 11,004 (73%) were killed by firearms and 3,966 (27%) by other means. These numbers translate into rates of 3.4 homicide victims by firearms per 100,000 American residents and 1.2 victims per 100,000 residents by other means. Clearly, most US homicides were by firearms. You're also correct that more firearm deaths were classified as other than murder than as homicide (i.e., 7.4 versus 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people). The former include suicides and accidents.

The main point I was trying to make is that easy access to semi-automatic weapons, coupled with cultural factors and individual traits, suggests that correction for increasing numbers of mass murders in the USA is unlikely to occur soon.

Cheers, Mike
Mike

Yes I realize the numbers of victims is irrelevant to the study . I am interested in the cultural and social aspects of these violent crimes and the propensity of individuals to commit them.

Prior to 1996 school shootings had taken place but none of the perpetrators were juveniles.In the last 20 or 30 years there has been a huge increase in young men committing such crimes. Why the increase?

Best, regards
James
 
Just an aside with regard to statistics the police in Cali, Colombia were criticised for reporting a lower annual number of homicide deaths than another city entity. Their response was well we count the number of people we find dead. We don't go around to the hospitals later checking to see how many of the wounded have died. Practical.
 
Just an aside with regard to statistics the police in Cali, Colombia were criticised for reporting a lower annual number of homicide deaths than another city entity. Their response was well we count the number of people we find dead. We don't go around to the hospitals later checking to see how many of the wounded have died. Practical.
Right, Peter. Different countries count homicdes using different criteria. That's why cross-country comparisons are misleading.

Cheers, Mike
 
Mike

Yes I realize the numbers of victims is irrelevant to the study . I am interested in the cultural and social aspects of these violent crimes and the propensity of individuals to commit them.

Prior to 1996 school shootings had taken place but none of the perpetrators were juveniles.In the last 20 or 30 years there has been a huge increase in young men committing such crimes. Why the increase?

Best, regards
James
Hello James

Sorry for this delayed reply due to demands that needed quick resolution.

The overall increase in mass homicides probably has to do with changes to US legislation regarding automatic weapons and large magazine sizes. Legislation in 1994 outlawed possession or purchase of any "assault rifle" or large capacity magazine unless the weapon was transferred or obtained through a government agency or for law enforcement purposes. During the subsequent decade, violent crime rates decreased, with the use of assault rifles relatively infrequent (estimated at 2%-8%). However, in 2004, President George W. Bush chose not to renew this legislation. Since that time, the USA witnessed increases in opportunities and frequencies of assault rifle use in mass shootings.

On a personal note, I wondered how easy it would be to buy an assault rifle in the USA. To find out, a holiday trip to Texas included a visit to a gun fair in Fort Worth. The answer from a stallholder was that with a little deceit by me (i.e., no mention that I was from Canada; some form of identification like an envelope with a local address for me), a phone call would suffice for permission to buy a used automatic weapon, if unconcealed upon departure from the fair. The weapons at that stall included a used AK47. I left without a weapon, somewhat perturbed about the ease of getting one, but with curiosity satisfied.

Why are recent mass murderers so frequently young men? Partly because the most common age group for all homicide perpetrators in the USA is 20-24 years. Note, however, that such data are from 'solved' homicide cases (i.e., with a convicted perpetrator). The FBI estimates that up to 40% of homicides are 'unsolved'. Mass murderers are almost always males, about 60% of who are white males. Most experts that studied mass murderers agree with Elliott Leyton's hypothesis that they perceive disempowerment because of cultural factors (e.g., feminism, race, religion, etc.) or immediate circumstances (e.g., an unfaithful lover, an unsupportive workplace) that unfairly works against them.

I know Elliot well and respect his anthropological interpretation. However, when writing his books over 20 years ago, he discounted psychological perspectives because of a lack of good evidence at that time. Nowadays, the evidence from psychometric and brain imagery research is far more convincing. However, such evidence indicates that not everyone with psychopathic inclinations ends up as a violent criminal or under psychiatric care. The same characteristics, under different circumstances, may contribute to ‘success’ in crime, business, entertainment and (dare I say it) religion and politics, with ‘success’ defined here as subjective perceptions of reward, esteem and status.

An example I encountered, during a brief period of work in forensic field, was a now deceased lifelong criminal. His early experiences at home, school, and during adolescence were those of a runt of the litter: he was bullied and belittled at every turn. When imprisoned as a young man in the local penitentiary, the other prisoners treated him the same way, until…. A chance incident led him to deliberately knock a guard unconscious. The other guards promptly beat him up. Then they carried him back to his cell. The noises he heard when entering the cellblock were applause and cheering by the other prisoners. To them, anyone who knocked out a guard was a celebrity. The consequence was that the former runt now knew, for the first time ever, how to achieve esteem and status. He reasoned that only among prisoners was he likely to attain such celebrity. So he decided to climb the reputational status ladder within the prison community. The first steps on the ladder were jail breaking, which he skilfully achieved in several prisons over a decade or more. The ultimate status among prisoners, however, was to become a cop killer. He attempted but never attained such status. The lessons this example taught me included how conventional and subjective perceptions of ‘success’ can be associated with very different precursors and outcomes. However, common elements of different subjective perceptions of ‘success’ include high levels of reward and recognition from members of a valued reference group.

Another example is from a book by a developmental psychologist and prominent brain imagery researcher. This author illustrated differences in brain activity between serial killers and law-abiding citizens. Then he provided an illustration his own brain activity. It resembled that of a serial killer more than that of a law-abiding citizen. The point he made was that behavioural outcomes depend more strongly on interactions between life history and basic biological factors than on their separate effects.

It’s for reasons like those discussed above that I think homicides will remain more frequent in countries that do less to limit opportunities for firearm possession. I also think that interactive effects of culture and psychobiological propensities relate more to homicidal tendencies that either alone. Does anybody on OPFI have ideas about possible effects on violence exacerbated by right leaning and left leaning political thought? I'm really interested in the question but conflicted about the answers.

Cheers
Mike
 

James Lemon

Active member




It’s for reasons like those discussed above that I think homicides will remain more frequent in countries that do less to limit opportunities for firearm possession. I also think that interactive effects of culture and psychobiological propensities relate more to homicidal tendencies that either alone. Does anybody on OPFI have ideas about possible effects on violence exacerbated by right leaning and left leaning political thought? I'm really interested in the question but conflicted about the answers.

Cheers
Mike
Hello Mike

Thank you for your response! I would agree that limiting the easy access to guns would have a positive effect. Who needs an Ak-47? Although it would not address the underlying problems associated with such diabolical behavior..

"Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry."

"Renowned psychiatrist Peter Breggin documents how psychiatric drugs and electroshock (ECT) disable the brain. He presents the latest scientific information on potential brain dysfunction and dangerous behavioral abnormalities produced by the most widely used drugs including Prozac, Xanax, Halcion, Ritalin, and lithium"

https://breggin.com/brain-disabling-treatments-in-psychiatry/.

My position is that the Food and Drug administration should be held accountable just as much as the gun industry if not more so when it comes to the overall well being of individuals.

I see strong connections and patterns in regard to some of these shootings. Look at the warnings of these drugs.

Best, regards
James.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Mike,

To me it’s self-evident that an AK-47 is not beneficial to the community and the whole concept of needing it is absurd.

The rise in mass murders with the Bush Presidential release of its prohibition for general sales makes its continued legal ownership a foolish threat to society.

I would institute metal detectors for all public places so that we can feel safe in schools, malls and movie theaters, even if sale or possession of further such super-weapons like the AK-37, are banned.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Trump has risen as a public figure, in the news partly by his claim tobwealth but also by his noetriety in insulting others and being racist to blacks and Hispanics.

Asher
 
This is very interesting reading to me especially all the in depth analysis of reasons and motives. I know what goes on in the states but haven't lived there for many years. I would say things are very different here in Colombia and perhaps through Latin America (but I don't know that). In my neck of the woods people are most often killed for resisting a robbery but they are also killed for a number of other specific reasons that include not paying a debt (or killing the lender so you don't have to), reprisal for some injury to self or family, competition among drug dealers, witnessing a crime, and some gang fights in the barrios. There are awhile slew of mass killings related to the guerrilla and paramilitaries but shouldn't be brought up in a discussion of civilian actions. The rate of violent crime here is extremely high compared to the US but I am thinking hard and can't recall ever hearing or reading about a "mass murder" committed by a civilian. Well I take that back. In a village I've visited (it's called Cielo Azul in Valle del Cauca department) seven people were killed by drug gang people to warn the rest of the village not tell on them. They were gut shot on purpose the most painful way to die. I think it's safe to say that violent crime in Colombia always has a clear purpose. And guns, all kinds are just as available as in the US, just not legally.

A personal; anecdote : one day some years back I was driving on Calle 50 about to enter the superstore EXITO and the street was blocked off just past the entrance. There was a body in the street. I learned later that it was a girl I didn't know personally but knew of because she was friends with other Americans I know. It turns out she had just gone to a supermarket about five blocks away to collect money sent to her by an American boyfriend at a Western Union outlet there. A bad guy was watching and followed her in her taxi on his moto. When she reached EXITO she had the taxi let her out in the street instead of entering the shopping center. The guy on the Moto pulled up and grabbed at her purse. She resisted (she probably had a large sum sent by the boyfriend) and he shot her dead. She was the body in front of me in the street.
 
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