In rampages, it’s about revenge

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By James Alan Fox | CNN | February 9, 2013

The dreadful shooting sprees of the past few months, which claimed dozens of innocent lives, shocked and unnerved millions of Americans. The specter of some heavily armed madman turning a theater, a temple, a mall or a school into his personal battle zone has become all too real and terrifying.

The latest episode still unfolding in Southern California implicates, oddly enough, a former Los Angeles police officer, 33-year-old Christopher Jordan Dorner, who allegedly is seeking redress for perceived mistreatment by the LAPD. Dorner was a member of the department for three years before losing his badge in 2008, reportedly for lying about a fellow officer. When he was unable to win back his job, murder became, as a manifesto attributed to Dorner put it, “a necessary evil” for him to prevail in the face of racism and injustice.

Other than the alleged gunman’s former profession, this case is actually quite prototypical of the nearly two dozen massacres that occur each year in the United States. It is a story that my Northeastern University colleague Jack Levin and I have seen time and time again in our several decades of research on this extreme form of violence. By looking closely enough, one can usually make some sense of seemingly senseless behavior. Read More

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