I apologize for the delay in posting. Our website was hacked and our website developer was out of town. Things are back to normal and I will be posting soon. Thanks, … Mark
I want to start out by first apologizing for not posting last week, and for posting late this week. Between work commitments and summer work around my home, I just ran out of time. When this happens, I am not keeping new and relevant information flowing to you, my readers. For this I apologize.
Last week I described the five types of shooters that I have identified in my research. They are:
- Terrorist shooter
- PTSD Shooter
- Domestic spillover shooter
- Mental health shooter
- Fame and recognition shooter
We have already discussed the attributes of the Domestic Spillover Shooter, so this week I will discuss the Fame and Recognition Shooter. The Fame and Recognition Shooter has motives of being recognized and becoming infamous. In most instances they want to be covered by the news, and they are often inspired by previous news reports about mass shooters.
The noted forensic psychologist James L. Knoll calls these mass killers pseudocommando’s.
The term “pseudocommando” was first used to describe the type of mass murderer who plans his actions “after long deliberation,” and who kills indiscriminately in public during the daytime. He comes prepared with a powerful arsenal of weapons and has no escape planned. He is sometimes described as having the intent to die in a “blaze of glory.” Since glory has been defined as “a state of great gratification or exaltation,” the clich to go out in a blaze of glory would seem to be a perverse turn of phrase, considering the unfathomable pain and tragedy these individuals cause. This article briefly explores what is known about the mindset of the pseudocommando mass murderer and how he transforms his desire for revenge into a perverse sense of honor, which allows him to justify his actions (Knoll, 2012, p. 1).
He goes on to explain:
The research on pseudocommandos suggests that they are driven by strong feelings of anger and resentment, in addition to having paranoid character traits. Dietz described these individuals as “collectors of injustice” who hold onto every perceived insult, amassing a pile of “evidence” that they have been grossly mistreated. To sustain the revenge “romance,” they must corral the unwanted, hated, or feared aspects of themselves. This collection is then re-assembled into the form of an “enemy” who “deserves” to be the target of a merciless, incendiary rage. Thus, the pseudocommando maintains object relations with others, which are heavily based on envy and splitting.
Mullen described the results of his detailed forensic evaluations of 5 pseudocommando mass murderers who were caught before they could kill themselves or be killed. Mullen noted that the massacres were often well planned out (ie, the offender did not suddenly “snap”): the offender arrived at the crime scene well-armed, often in camo or “warrior” gear. He appeared to be pursuing a highly personal agenda of “payback.” Mullen’s study also found a number of traits and historical factors that these individuals had in common: They were bullied or isolated as children and had become “loners” who felt despair over being socially excluded. They were also described as being resentful grudge holders who demonstrated obsessional or rigid traits…
… Narcissistic, grandiose traits were present, along with heavy use of externalization. They held a generally disparaging view of others, which resulted in spending a great deal of time ruminating on past humiliations. The ruminations evolved into fantasies of violent revenge, to the point that the offenders seemed to “welcome death,” even perceiving it as bringing them “fame” with an aura of power. Most of the literature references the pseudocommando’s motivation of revenge, which may be directed at a group (pseudocommunity) or representative ideology. (Knoll, 2012, p. 2)
Knoll (2012) has done a large amount of forensic research on past mass killers, and in my opinion, he hit the nail on the head! While he calls them pseudocommando’s and I call the Fame and Recognition, what he describes accurately identifies the same type of shooter, and the same motives that I have found.
The weapons usually used by Fame and Recognition Shooters is typically a firearm. They will usually bring a more than one gun, and an exorbitant amount of ammunition. Occasionally they will bring improvised explosive devices to cause more death, damage, and destruction. On the rare occasion, they will also bring knives, however it should be noted that this is a very rare occurrence.
The Fame and Recognition Shooter will have committed hundreds of hours of research about killing. They will research every detail, thought out every step of the plan, and they will usually have a manifesto. This manifesto will probably detail why the feel wronged, who their intended targets are, and a highly detailed blueprint about how they plan to carry out their heinous crime. They also do not usually plan an escape because they plan to die in a blaze of glory.
The age of the Fame and Recognition Shooter can be anywhere from 12 years old to 90 years old. It is important to note that the vast majority of them are 30 years old and under. Just because the majority of these individuals are under the age of 30 does not mean it that you should remember that they can be any age. If you suspect that someone is going down the Fame and Recognition Shooter path, do not hesitate to contact the FBI or law enforcement.
Next week, we will continue down the path of identifying the specific types of shooters and the common attributes they display. Until then, be safe and be vigilant!, … Mark
As I sat down to write this week’s blog, I reflected on the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas last week. I am asking all of my readers to remember to pray for everyone involved in that incident. From the students and teachers that were attacked, the family members of those attacked, the police, firefighters, and EMS personnel, and yes, the shooter too. We also need to pray that potential future events might stopped before they occur so that there is not another senseless loss of life. Details are still coming in, and the underlying factors to this horrible event are still emerging. No matter what the underlying factors are, I believe that we all can agree that this was a horrible and irrational shooting incident.
Part of preventing an incident is knowing the signs before an incident occurs. By knowing the underlying motivations and the warning signs, we are better prepared to stop it before it occurs. My research has identified five different types of mass shooters. They are:
- Terrorist shooter
- PTSD Shooter
- Domestic spillover shooter
- Mental health shooter
- Fame and recognition shooter
While I could go in the order they are posted, I feel it would be better to start with the most prevalent. That means I will start with the Domestic Spillover Shooter. Anyone that has ever had their heart broken by a domestic partner will know that domestic issues can be devastating. Relationship problems can cause grief, anger, disappointment, shock, denial, fear, and many other feelings. To list all of the feelings that an individual could go through would be nearly impossible, but these emotions are real to the person who is suffering from a break-up. Sometimes these emotions overcome individuals to the point that they do irrational things. Whether a lapse in judgement, an uncontrolled temper, or a mental health issue, the actions that some take are frightening, and can even deadly. Watching and knowing key signs may assist the church in pre-identifying those that may act out.
It is important to note that according to statistics by the National Domestic Violence Hotline (n.d.), 24% of women and 14% of men (over the age 18) in the United States will suffer severe physical violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence affects over 12 million people per year. More frightening is that 48% of all women and men have suffered psychological abuse from their domestic partner. Additionally, 16% of women and 5% of men will be the victim of stalking in their lifetime (National Domestic Violence Hotline, n.d.).
One method of identifying whether past or current domestic abuse occurred, is to look for specific warning signs in the person who you suspect is being abused. Those signs can include physical signs of injury (such as bruising and welts), low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. You may also notice that they tend to stay isolated from family, friends, and their church family. If their abuser is present, they will tend to stay close by, so not to anger them. They may not take pride in themselves or their children, including their (or their children) physical appearance being unkempt. You may even suspect drug or alcohol abuse.
If you are looking for signs in the potential abuser, those signs can be controlling or unpredictable behavior, extreme jealousy, unrealistic expectations, or they may be verbally abusive to the victim or their children. This abuser will usually isolate their victims from others and/or make sure they are present any time the victims is near someone else. They may suffer sudden mood swings, and they may be cruel to children and/or animals. Many times, they will threaten violence to solve any problems they have, or they may blame others for their problems. In some instances, you may feel that they are a ticking time bomb, ready to go off.
When there is a break-up, or sometimes even a proposed break-up, the domestic aggressor may act out. Their targets might be those they believe led to the break-up, the victim, or the victims’ children, family, and/or friends may be their target. They may act out of anger, impulse, revenge, or from a mental breakdown. Sometimes, these individuals have the mentality “If I can’t have them, then nobody will have them”. Other times, they blame others for splitting the couple up or their domestic problems. If they mentally work themselves up, they might act out and become a mass shooter.
The common weapons used by these individuals are guns and knives. In most instances, they want to see the damage being done. This is why they will usually inflict the damage themselves. While the aggressor can be male or female, men are typically the perpetrator of mass shootings, while women typically harm or kill the individual they have an issue with. This is not to say that a woman could not, or would not, perpetrate a mass shooting, but statistically speaking they are less likely than men to commit a mass shooting.
If you see the signs of domestic abuse, or you have been told by an individual that they are being abused, you should immediately involve law enforcement. A mass shooting could occur even if they are not splitting up! The aggressor may be upset because the abused person is attending church, or even talking to someone about the couple’s problems. If you are aware of or suspect abuse and there is a split-up, then the church should be hypervigilant in watching for the abuser. It does not even matter if the abused is in hiding, the abuser may associate, even if untrue, that the church or someone in the church is responsible for the break-up.
Next week, I will discuss the Mental Health Shooter, and things to watch for with them. Until next week, be vigilant and maintain a strong situational awareness, … Mark
National Domestic Violence Hotline (n.d.). Get the facts & figures. Retrieved on May 23, 2018 from: http://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/