Although mass mur­derers attempting to express their moti­va­tion in writing isn’t new, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity crim­i­nology pro­fessor Jack Levin said tech­nology has changed the way that their mes­sages are deliv­ered. In the case of the Vir­ginia Tech shooting in 2007, Seung-​​Hui Cho went to a post office and mailed videos to NBC, which even­tu­ally released them.

Nowa­days young people know enough about the Internet that they can do it them­selves,” Levin said. “They can place them­selves in a celebrity posi­tion without the help of tra­di­tional news sources.”

Levin said he wor­ries that Rodger’s col­lec­tive YouTube con­fes­sionals will set a new prece­dent: mass shooters making detailed videos.

Levin’s col­league James Alan Fox said mass mur­derers typ­i­cally leave writ­ings as a form of justification.

It’s very impor­tant [to them] that the world doesn’t view them as some nut that killed for no reason,” said Fox, who has written sev­eral books on mass shoot­ings. “In their minds, they are good guys.”

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