Through col­lab­o­rating with my North­eastern Uni­ver­sity col­league Jack Levin over three decades in exam­ining count­less case studies of mayhem, sev­eral common char­ac­ter­is­tics and moti­va­tional themes have emerged. Mass killers tend to be pro­foundly frus­trated and despon­dent over life’s dis­ap­point­ments, iso­lated from family and friends who might be in a posi­tion to pro­vide com­fort and sup­port, and see them­selves as the victim of unde­served mis­treat­ment and unfair­ness. For them, the act of murder against cer­tain people seen as respon­sible for their mis­for­tune, if not against a cor­rupt society in gen­eral, is jus­ti­fied. Suc­cessful and ful­filled people, by con­trast, have little need for vengeance or reason to wreak havoc in such a dra­matic and public fashion.

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