Characteristics Shared by the Young Men Committing Mass Shootings

Traits Shared by the Younger Males Committing Mass Shootings


Ninety-eight % of mass shooters in america are male (The Violence Venture, 2021). Past genders, no single apparent issue predicts who will change into a mass shooter. And gender will not be that useful in pinpointing who wants assist or who wants an intervention!

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

Understanding mass shooters is vital to stopping mass shootings

Supply: Photograph by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

Whereas analysis has not recognized particular person components that predict or clarify why one particular person chooses to change into a mass shooter, if we higher perceive the interplay between the organic, psychological, and social components which have contributed to mass violence, we can higher establish people with a propensity to commit mass shootings. Identification may help us focus care and therapy in a approach that may forestall future rampages.

Organic Traits Frequent to Mass Shooters

Langman examined the interplay between organic traits, psychological traits, and social components which may contribute to the chance of 1 particular person turning into a mass shooter over one other. (Langman, 2017).

In his findings, Langman recommended that the bodily presence of undesirable organic components, significantly how considerably these attributes are allowed to affect the particular person’s self-evaluation and vanity, is a key part usually evident within the people’ propensity to mass violence.

Whereas the mixture of organic components and the interpretation of these components (decrease vanity, for instance) are frequent to many individuals and are usually not—by themselves—not correlated with violence, the “mixture of quite a few patterns, traits, and experiences might lead to violent conduct.”

Feeling insufficient in comparison with friends creates long-term insecurity that makes sure people extra more likely to change into mass shooters.

The Position of Masculinity and Sexual Identification in Mass Shootings

Sexual id and masculinity are key elements current in nearly all, if not all, male perpetrators of mass violence. These challenges could also be pushed by exterior traits, inner experiences, and the expertise of sexual abuse.

Superficially evident traits comparable to quick stature or low muscle tone relative to the shooter’s peer group, are frequent amongst mass shooters. Internalizing disgrace from sterility or reproductive abnormalities, romantic rejections, or unfulfilled sexual wishes, are additionally prevalent. Shooters have typically been victims of undesirable sexual experiences comparable to early sexual abuse. The mix of exterior and inner components, amplified by trauma ensuing from abuse, can create significantly troublesome struggles with id and insecure masculinity.

Mass shooters are inclined to expertise difficulties with id and insecure masculinity.

Utilizing Firearms and Different Behaviors to Improve a Sense of Ultramasculinity

To counteract the self-perception of bodily inadequacy, there’s an elevated propensity among the many younger males who do change into mass shooters to hunt out alternatives to interact in behaviors and actions they really feel will improve their sense of ultramasculinity, usually by the usage of violence and firearms. Langman additional notes the preoccupation with perceived hypermasculinity by emulating significantly militaristic function fashions.

Many mass shooters had a historical past of publicity to weapons of their household properties rising up. They could have gained expertise with firearms by leisure searching, the navy, and even holding positions in regulation enforcement.

Mass shooters can understand utilizing firearms as a approach to improve their sense of masculinity.

Psychological Sickness or Trauma because the Catalyst for Mass Shootings?

Traditionally, each the general public and policymakers have assumed that the prototypical mass shooter has a major psychological sickness. In reality, the bipartisan gun laws signed into regulation in June 2022 contains about $8 billion for psychological well being and school-based applications. (That is one-third greater than the fiscal 2022 allocation for the Substance Abuse and Psychological Well being Providers Administration!) Whereas we welcome funding for psychological well being applications in and out of doors of faculty, the concentrate on psychological sickness is misplaced.

On a intestine stage, for most individuals, the suggestion {that a} mass shooter who strategically plans and executes a deliberate bloodbath on as massive a scale as attainable doesn’t have a psychological sickness appears preposterous. Nonetheless, with a view to higher anticipate the chance of sure people turning into mass shooters and others not, it’s important to grasp the excellence between psychological sickness as a prognosis, and the way shows by the potential mass shooter might, or might not fall into that class of psychological sickness.

Quite a few scholarly articles throughout completely different platforms (Langman 2017; Pies 2020) assert that the overwhelming majority of perpetrators who commit mass shootings don’t fulfill the diagnostic requirement for psychological sickness.

The diagnostic definition of psychological sickness contains how distorted perceptions of actuality intervene with one’s self-regulatory and government functioning and success of needed day by day duties. So whereas most if not all mass shooters will surely qualify as “emotionally disturbed”, a fixation on mass violence wouldn’t essentially fulfill the diagnostic necessities for psychological sickness.

The shooter’s overriding “worldview [as] considered one of anger, resentment, victimization, and narcissistic grandiosity” would appear to be related to a noticeably elevated propensity for violence with out requiring different psychiatric markers of concern (Pies, 2020).

Most mass shooters don’t fulfill the diagnostic requirement for psychological sickness.

The Position of Repeated Publicity To Traumatic Occasions

The apparent query is, if psychological sickness doesn’t trigger mass shootings, what does?

Peterson and Densley asserted that mass shooters constantly “undergo early childhood trauma and publicity to violence at a younger age, [including] parental suicide, bodily or sexual abuse, neglect, home violence, and/or extreme bullying”.

Trauma typically triggers psychological well being issues in adolescence together with melancholy, anxiousness, hallucinations and delusions, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. However it’s usually the repeated, long-term trauma that catalyzes the violent outburst — when triggered at a pivotal time in life (Langman refers right here to repeated failures in life); quite than the far much less probably psychological sickness with out the backdrop of repeated early trauma. (For extra details about how repeated publicity to trauma may cause Complicated PTSD, or C-PTSD, click on right here.)

Repeated publicity to trauma is a danger issue.

Addressing Trauma to Avert Mass Shootings

 VOA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Police strains after the varsity capturing on the Robb Elementary College in Uvalde, Texas

Supply: VOA, Public area, by way of Wikimedia Commons

Whereas nobody remoted occasion or attribute is sufficient to make an individual more likely to change into a mass shooter, the interplay of those completely different social, organic, and psychological experiences—when considered by the person’s notion of their experiences, should all be considered in predicting the chance of anybody particular person’s chance to change into a mass shooter.

A male with organic disadvantages is extra more likely to have decrease vanity in comparison with their friends. Their insecurity in thein masculinity, and the need to interact in behaviors and actions of extremely masculinity, must be significantly thought-about, i.e., in environments the place publicity to navy affect or weapons is offered.

Lastly, and maybe most critically, unsafe house environments or people that exhibit signs of repeated traumas must be recognized and addressed, with whichever interventions are needed, in order that quite a few life stressors don’t subsequently set off the already struggling male to comply with within the footsteps of his predecessors and be part of the ranks of mass shooters.

© 2022 Dr. Fabiana Franco. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *