Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

While violent video games often come in for blame when school shootings occur, a new book maintains that such rampages occur because school shooters are mentally disturbed.

The Associated Press reports on Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters, written by  Peter Langman. The child psychologist studied ten school shooters, including Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and Virginia Tech mass murderer Seung-Hui Cho. Of his research, Langman said:

The biggest eye-opener was the extent to which Dylan Klebold really was mentally disturbed. That was not in the literature, not in the media accounts. To realize that, you had to see his journal. His journal is very fascinating, a very disturbed piece of writing.

 

[Klebold and four other shooters] were suicidally depressed and full of rage at the inexplicable unfairness of life. In addition, they were not living in reality. They all believed that people or monsters conspired to do them harm. … They were confused and desperate and lost in the mazes of their minds.

Langman speculated that Tim Kretschmer, who attacked his former school and killed 16 people yesterday in Germany might be psychotic, psychopathic or a victim of childhood trauma. But Langmant emphasized that it was too early to make such a call. The AP writes:

At first, Langman’s conclusions might sound obvious: These kids would have to be crazy to go to their school and open fire. But the public and the media, especially in the immediate aftermath of a school shooting, have usually focused on other factors: the killers’ fascination with violent movies and video games, their easy access to guns, even the side effects of psychiatric drugs.

Langman says some of these may have been factors but do not by themselves explain rampages in places like Littleton and West Paducah, Ky.; Jonesboro, Ark.; and Springfield, Ore. Millions of kids watch violent movies and live in households that harbor firearms. Yet only a few have ever gone on to become mass murderers.

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93 comments

  1. Tammej says:

    It’s just plain not true. Except if the book redefines "unhappiness with life" as a mental illness. I’ve been interested in the subject for quite a while now, and I’ve seen the goodbye notes from several of these school shooters, for example.

    I’ve taken a look at their home pages, and I’ve read lots of Articles and Documents about them and the incidents.

     

    And you know what? None of them struck me as mentally ill. They were all smart, seemingly normal people. The only differences I’ve noticed that they were always dissatisfied with life, with humanity, with the planet they lived on, with their family, with their school, what have you.

     

    They were *so* fed up with it all that they usually sought out one specific kind of fantasy to flee into and shield themselfes from the rest of the worlds sights and sounds. That was sometimes a movie, sometimes a game, sometimes made-up world domination stories, or end-of-the-world predictions, and such.

     

    Again, these people were not sick in the head, they weren’t dumb either. I’m not defending them, I just hate to see the attempts to make them *look like* they were simply too stupid or mentally ill. The truth is they were filled with rage so much that they turned numb to having feelings for people, and started killing at some point. They were murderers, and to they were convinced (or convinced themselfes) that these things had to happen.

     

    Whenever there’s one of these shootings I see media reports on blaming video games, blaming parents, blaming this and that, followed closely by reports on the mental sicknesses some people just *have* to assume the shooter had. These shooters were ‘sick’ in a disgusting kind of way, because of what they did, but they weren’t raving lunatics, they were ice cold murderers in the end.

     

  2. MasterAssassin says:

    This book only states the obvious of what we already knew. Most mass murderers have had some case mental illness as well as psychological or physical abuse yet the media never pays attention to that. I find it funny though how it’s always video games that spawn the school shooters yet they don’t get blamed for crazy postal workers and disgruntled employees or the random nutjob who goes into a cafe or shopping mall armed to the teeth, what made them kill? The problem is we keep acting as if school shootings are any different then the crazy postal workers and others. They aren’t any different, same circumstances, same contributing factors. The problem is that we as a society are in denial that teenagers or kids could do something so evil and henious because we falsely assume that young people are "innocent"(totally untrue, espicially this generation) and because of that we blame somebody else for it. We need to start taking responsibility and realize that our kids can be evil as well, just as evil as the worst adults.

  3. Zephyrus says:

    unfortunately I would fear that some may turn to the "video games made me do it" defense so as to get a more slack jail term, god knows its happened before for smaller scale killinga, luckily so far unsuccessfully

  4. Erik says:

    "The nature of the school shooting mentality is "I WANT TO DIE, BUT I WILL NOT DIE ALONE."

    Is a decision birthed from a mentally ill mind.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  5. BrandonL337 says:

    if the people were zombies

    There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

  6. mdo7 says:

     

    "The biggest eye-opener was the extent to which Dylan Klebold really was mentally disturbed. That was not in the literature, not in the media accounts. To realize that, you had to see his journal. His journal is very fascinating, a very disturbed piece of writing."

    That’s true and this is what show the Colombine shooters who they are.  I guess JT and other video game critics doesn’t believe the journal thing.

    "[Klebold and four other shooters] were suicidally depressed and full of rage at the inexplicable unfairness of life. In addition, they were not living in reality. They all believed that people or monsters conspired to do them harm. … They were confused and desperate and lost in the mazes of their minds."

    That’s what I notice in infamous school shootings, the shooters took their own life.  I don’t remember any video game they own has any suicide in there.  It wasn’t video game that made them do it.  I believe it their psychological problem or something from the past.

    "At first, Langman’s conclusions might sound obvious: These kids would have to be crazy to go to their school and open fire. But the public and the media, especially in the immediate aftermath of a school shooting, have usually focused on other factors: the killers’ fascination with violent movies and video games, their easy access to guns, even the side effects of psychiatric drugs."

    There you go, it’s not video game that make them killer.  It’s how and what they think makes them a killer.  Killers always watch violent entertainment, they can get guns easily just by stealing it from their parents or steal it from the gun store or buy it on the black market.  Video game do not make killers, a person’s mental state create killers.  Also, I read Kretschmer said he was going to do the school shooting via video blog, you can read it on CNN .   

  7. konrad_arflane says:

    "Again, it is VERY, VERY EASY to say "They’re mentally ill", because no one needs to change. No one needs to treat each other better."

    That is only true if:

    a) each event can only ever have one cause

    AND

    b) the only reason to work against bullying is to prevent school shootings.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that both a and b are false. And anyway, it seems to me that you’re arguing against the truth value of a statement ("school shooters are mentally ill") based on the perceived consequences of it being true. That’s a logical fallacy (appeal to consequences). I think you’d be better served by finding arguments for a more inclusive school environment that don’t implicitly blame the victims of school shootings for their own deaths.

    Also: of Tim Kretschmer’s victims at the school (haven’t found info on the ones killed elsewhere), all three teachers were female, as were eight of the nine students. All twelve were shot in the head, indicating a less than random spread of fire. Is that consistent with the "jocks got what was coming to them" theory?

  8. JHorel says:

    From what I can tell, all this author is saying is that the shooters are mentally ill not that all mentally ill are potential shooters. It’s the same argument gamers use; just because the shooter is a gamer doesn’t mean all gamers are potential shooters.

  9. Krono says:

    What is "mentally ill"? Aspergers? Bipolar? Psychopathy? Schizophrenia?

    It’s all of those and more. 

    -Gray17

  10. SounDemon says:

    What is "sane", Zero? "Sane" is a very vague term. I could be "insane" because I talk about bad taste subjects. I could be "insane" because I have Aspergers. I could be "insane" because the hate for my tormentors and betrayers is neverending. I could be "insane" because I play violent video games. What is "mentally ill"? Aspergers? Bipolar? Psychopathy? Schizophrenia?

    First and foremost, it takes a loss of empathy with people at a High School to want to perpetrate a school shooting; you must believe them beneath you and with no rights worth respecting. How is this different from those jock assholes who brutalize millions of students a day?

    In Japan, it was once that if someone disrespected you, you would duel to the death, and to not do so would be worse than death. Does that make Samurai murderers?There are people in Iraq right now killing people. Does the act of killing make one a murderer? Is it the intent? The cause? Does anything that happened prior matter? If someone raped, killed, and ate your mother, would you want to "murder" them? Would you be justified? The legal system would say "No, even if this man murdered and ate your mother, he still has the right to live". But does he?

    What makes one act of brutality worse than the other? 
    Why do school torturers get away with so much, and yet it is wrong to retaliate in ANY way, whether by words, fist or Kalashnikov? Who will these people answer to?

    Again, it is VERY, VERY EASY to say "They’re mentally ill", because no one needs to change. No one needs to treat each other better. We can just go back to the way we were, betraying our friends because they are no longer convinient, watching horrible abuse and laughing in a circle of cruelty, and never making a difference.

     

     

  11. SounDemon says:

    "Now if you want to talk about suicidal tendencies, I may very well be willing to concede that bullying is at least as big a factor, if not greater, than pre-existing mental conditions, but that is another debate for another time."

    The nature of the school shooting mentality is "I WANT TO DIE, BUT I WILL NOT DIE ALONE."

    School shootings are basically Suicide Plus, and thus your argument that they are two different issues with two different causes is moot.

  12. Larington says:

    One of, or several of the gaming supporting organisations really should ‘gift’ this book to a number of prominent politicians. It’ll make a far better point of the issue than the angry ravings of all of us will.

  13. JustChris says:

    It’s too bad that nearly all school shootings end in the same way- the murderer takes his own life. They may be nut cases, but they end up acting woefully predictable. Their suicides are actually helping other people jump to incorrect conclusions about what went wrong.

    If we captured the murderers alive, authorities would be able to interrogate them and get motivations from a genuine source. But with them out of the picture, we get politicians and other public figures trying to read their minds while pushing their own agenda.

    The most unbiased source for explaining a murder is, ironically, the murderer himself. He knows what’s going on, and everyone else can just try to form a guess (whether it’s educated or inconclusive).

    GameSnooper

  14. Krono says:

    Or a possibly number of other things, perhaps a personality disorder. Or maybe they developed something due to heavy abuse as a child. The list goes on.

    Exactly.

    -Gray17

  15. konrad_arflane says:

    FWIW, Germany already has fairly strict gun laws, AFAIK. The only restriction I can see making this tragedy less likely would be to outright prohibit guns in private homes (i.e. sports shooters’ guns are kept under lock and key at the shooting range). The gun used by Tim Kretschmer was one his father (who owned several guns) had failed to lock away as he was legally required to do.

    We can only make laws. We cannot ensure that they are absolutely obeyed at all times. Not without turning into a police state, anyway. In the end, we must accept that tragedies happen, and that we can’t prevent them all.

  16. Nekowolf says:

    I, myself, have a mild case of Asperger’s. And I’m not really any more violent than, well, probably anyone here. Sure, I’ve had fights with my own sister, but I have never, purposefully, physically harmed anyone, nor do I have any such intention unless it is a situation that calls for it (such as fending oneself from a criminal).

  17. konrad_arflane says:

    FWIW, I know a guy with Asperger’s who used to beat up his younger siblings. But his home life wasn’t exactly ideal, so it’s probably just as likely there were other causes.

  18. lumi says:

    You are grossly, and irresponsibly, oversimplifying the effects of "social darwinism" in a high school setting.  If you weren’t, we’d be up to our eyeballs in school shooters.

    The number of kids who are demonized, ostracized, ridiculed, and the like is actually probably on par with the number of people out there who…play violent video games.  And just like violent video games, statistics pretty much blows your claim out of the water.

    If anything is problematic about this article, it’s simply the headline.  "Mentally Ill" covers an enormous range of conditions, some of which can indeed cause anti-social and/or psychotic behavior, up to and including mass murder.  Bullying or a similar outside force is the catalyst that sets off this kind of behavior, it’s not the foundation.  If you removed the psychosis from a sick, teased child, the odds of him killing his tormentors is negligible, but if you remove the teasing and ignore the psychosis, the odds of an anti-social outlash is still non-trivial.

    "The atmosphere of High Schools needs to change in order to reverse the trend of school shootings, and it’s an EXTREMELY EASY COPOUT to say that "oh, these kids just snapped", because it means that nobody has to try fixing anything, they can just rest easy because the kids were crazy, not byproducts of their social system."

    What an utterly ridiculous statement.  Of course we still need to try and improve the situation even if these kids are unwell.  Believe me, I will be one of the first ones on the picket line to try and eradicate bullying in our schools if and when the practical opportunity to do so arises, but saying that it’s all bullying and that mental conditions have no bearing on the situation is doing everyone involved just as much of a disservice as the idiots claiming that it’s violent media entirely at fault.

    Now if you want to talk about suicidal tendencies, I may very well be willing to concede that bullying is at least as big a factor, if not greater, than pre-existing mental conditions, but that is another debate for another time.

  19. konrad_arflane says:

    How do you that they don’t want to cop out of life? Did you ask them? No wait, you couldn’t. They’re (nearly) all dead.

    As far as I can make out, school shooters want both revenge and their own deaths. Dylan Klebold, for example, quite clearly didn’t expect to survive the Columbine shooting (http://www.acolumbinesite.com/quotes2.html#420).

    And if you want less stigma directed towards the mentally ill, it would probably be more productive to ask people to use more precise terms (paranoid schizophrenia, psychosis, etc.) if you feel that calling these killers "mentally ill" is demeaning to people who are no risk to others. Because as I see it, the point isn’t that mental disorders never make people violent, but that that it’s a very broad term that should only really be used for lack of a specific diagnosis.

  20. Nekowolf says:

    Yes and no; you were fine right up until Pong.

    That game, has to be the absolutely most violent game ever made; it’s so horribly gruesome that not even I can defend such a henious creation!

  21. Bennett Beeny says:

    No!  This guy is crazy, and a monster to even suggest that violent maniacs are psychopaths!  The murderers are obviously normal people made deranged by playing games.  It HAS to be the vidja games!

  22. Nekowolf says:

    Yes, we must ban the indarvebs! Its tubes are clogged with grotesque violence, rape, and murder simulators!

  23. Nekowolf says:

    Probably why they try to be fancy and "professional" sounding with it; that way, you’re too busy thinking of the words you are going to say, keep the mind occupied from how much bullshit it is.

  24. Nekowolf says:

    Or a possibly number of other things, perhaps a personality disorder. Or maybe they developed something due to heavy abuse as a child. The list goes on.

  25. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I think you are overreacting a bit.

    I don’t think this book wants to, or would even try to label everyone with a mental illness as a possible mass murderer.

    There are hundreds possibly thousands of mental conditions that humans suffer. To label all of them as a potential threat to public safety would be a very ignorant thing to do. So I highly doubt that any doctorate would attempt such a claim.

    What this book is most likely trying to do is find out just what the condition of these killers minds were in before they snapped so that we can have a better understanding of what to look for in the future.

    Most of these killers suffered some kind of depression. Yes there is more than one kind. But it is treatable. But am I saying that all depressed people are going to snap and kill people? No. But severe cases of depression can lead to suicide and possibly killing someone who the depressed person feels is responsible for thier feelings.

    Mental illness is a very complex issue and I think you are jumping the gun on what this book is saying.

    I suggest that you calm down a bit and wait until you have more information.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  26. Krono says:

    Yes, school shooters largely are mentally ill. "Mentally Ill" covers the entire range of "something not right in the head". When we say that the shooters were/are mentally ill, we don’t mean they have Aspergers, we mean they’ve got psychopathy, or psychosis, or clinical depression.

    -Gray17

  27. JessJames says:

    OK after just reading the article about him being a CS player (I think these things get reported by some kind of automatic propaganda machine whenever there’s a shooting – evidence or not… it’s like clockwork)…

    What actually worries me more is this quote :

    "German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he could not see how a change in the country’s weapons laws would have prevented what happened.

    "We are checking everything but our arms law is very strict," he said.

    But he said Germany had to consider whether tighter controls on access to violent imagery were needed."

    "The gun’s aren’t the problem (because the gun lobby is powerful), it’s the damn media… we’ll get right on it."

    It seems so transparent to me, I don’t understand how these people can say these things with a straight face.

  28. Zerodash says:

    Wrong.  A sane mentally healthy person, regardless of their place in the school "caste" system, will not kill people- because they are SANE.  Many people are bullied & picked on, and the overwhelming majority of them never lash out.  If what you are saying is true, then we would be up to our necks in Highschool age corpses. 

    "Mentally Ill" is an umbrella term just like "cancer"- there are many types with varying properties. 

    I had no friends until I was 16, beat up almost daily, and ridiculed constantly.  This was the 80’s, so the teachers didn’t care and actually encouraged bullying.  Nearly all of the bullies were athletic "early bloomers".  In fact, I can say with a degree of certainty that I endured unusually intense amounts of bullying in shool- some things I was subject to were criminal.  I can say first hand that this caused great amounts of anger that I harbor to this very day- but I never killed my calssmates…had I been "mentally ill", the story might have been different. 

    In all fairness, I doubt people with Aspergers are dangerous- the ones I know all seemed like good people.  However, there are other types of mental illness that are less passive…

  29. nightwng2000 says:

    "Mental illness" comes in a great many forms and varieties.  When the average person sees "mental illness", they think "crazy" and that’s as far as it goes.

    But, in the complexity that is the individual Human, the effects of the psychological can affect each of us in a great many ways.  And all the other factors that make each of us up has a great deal to do with how those psychological effects play a part as well.

    So many factors go into determining how any one individual will react in any given situation at any given second of that situation, that it is completely impossible to predict any one individual’s choices in advance.  Even profilers do not have the capability to predict every action of an individual, even if they knew who the individual was because they cannot know every single detail, the life experiences, the genetic dispositions or probabilities, the personalities, and all the other factors, about the individual.

    We all go through life not even thinking about all the factors that actually do have an effect on us and lead us to act in certain situations.  But those factors still exist.

    And as the doctor said, no one factor is to blame for any act.  While the doctor can no more know every single factor in each of the subject’s individuality, he still does a very good job of trying to point out that each of the subjects were individuals who were far more complex than what has been presented in the media and elsewhere.

    And while we know this to be obvious, there still are a great many uneducated or even intentionally ignorant individuals who set out to intentionally lie to and deceive others for their own personal, religious, and/or political agendas.  So, yes, the necessity of such a book is of great value.

    Nightwng2000

    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  30. Zephyrus says:

    The phrase "mentally ill" umbrellas a fairly large psychiatric field of conditions I’m sure.  Some of these people may not have had schizophrenia (not sure on the spelling there) or other labeled conditions, but they definitely were not right in the head.  There are a lot of people who get bullied in elementary and high school, and college, I was lucky, I was not a target as much as others.  The issue is that there are many individuals who do not deal with bullying in a healthy way, and I’m not inferring that bullying should happen by that statement, and they turn to suicide, or in even more rare cases they go on a murdering spree.  These individuals need medical attention to help them deal with what has happened, and in many school shooting cases it has surfaced where the shooters have not been entirely connected to the real world, either due to some condition or by simply not dealing with their stresses in a way that was healthy, their reality was fractured by pain and suffering, leading to hate of everyone.  Many of these individuals have been receiving treatment for their issues and voluntarily (it seems) turned away from the treatment.  I just can’t see how you can say that these people don’t have some form of psychological issue or condition.  In many cases where media violence is to blame for example, many of the violent individuals have a predisposition to violence referred to either by people who knew them, or medical practicioners who were working with them.  In the case of school shootings my belief is that there is a predisposition that some people have to not dealing with the psychological stress of our social world.

  31. Zerodash says:

    Um, a mentally healthy person does not go into a school and kill people randomly.  Explain how a sane person would do that.

  32. Michael Chandra says:

    You seem to be making a mistake. The chance that someone is mentally ill if they’re a school shooter, isn’t the same as the chance that someone becomes a school shooter if they’re mentally ill.

    And the type of mentality named by the author is only one of many types, and sounds like the one that indeed needs therapy to deal with. Therapy this boy refused.

  33. Nekowolf says:

    You, apparently, are the ignorant one. There are a myraid of ways a person could be "mentally ill" with a number of various disorders or other ways.

    The person above me says, many are not violent. That is true. But, that does not mean they ALL are not, nor does a book like this say they are. Someone who believes that, is a fool to begin with.

    You are saying, there are absolutely no forms of mental illness that make people more violent, and perhaps, that maybe the case in the strictest sense of the word, "violence" but it could well make them more "volatile."

    Jeffory Dahmer, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, Albert Fish, Dennis Rader. Are you saying, that these notorious individuals, especially Dahmer, not ONE of them were mentally ill to some point? After all, just like school shooters, they too were serial killers or mass murderers. What is the difference between them, aside from how they killed.

  34. TBoneTony says:

    I agree with that statement,

    You can’t give Mentally Ill people any more stigma than what they have already been given.

    It is that stigma that will eventually hurt them more if they are sensitive to that.

    And in the end, it will be us who are the blame because we as a society gave them that stigma in the first place.

    Not many Mentally Ill people ever are violent, most suffer in silence because they are afraid of people judging them. Or at least this is only my thoughts as I have been quite sensitive when I was younger about people teasing me about something that I am passhionate about.

     

  35. Moriarty70 says:

    You’re right, suicide doesn’t make sense. However when pushed day after day and constantly told how worthless you are, the majority internalize it. They begin to believe that everyone else is right, since that’s what the majority think. And if everyone else agrees, then the only reasonable thing (given the perspective) is to remove the common denominator, themselves.

    If one or two people have a problem with you, it’s probably them. After the third, you need to start looking at yourself. Old rule of thumb I leaned from the folks growing up.

  36. TBoneTony says:

    I was teased allot in school when I was younger,

    then I went into a new school and started to act like I was one of the cool kids,

    not many people teased me at the new school because I acted cool, but the sad thing was I kept myself away from even making any close friends.

    All the people I knew at school were just people I knew, but I kept myself away from making close friends because I was so afraid of being teased.

    When I finally opened myself up when I got into college, I found myself a few good friends, but at the same time I treid to do the same thing when I started work and I got teased at work and quit my job because of the teasing getting almost to the point where it was almost like the abuse I got when I was in school.

    So yeah, it was hard to quit my job because I liked it there, but I quit because I had that choise,

    At school, you don’t have any choise to quit.

    You only are forced to believe that if you make it though year 12 or what ever you need to get our full marks, then you are a winner. And if you give up then you are made to feel like a looser.

    So you keep on staying and going though hell until you go to a new school and start fresh again.

    Yet what also most likely happens is if you do the same thing, you still get teased and if you try something different then you still get teased.

    People talk so much about how it is important to be social but in the end tying to become social only leads you to be teased or bullied because you are easy to be picked on.

    If you try to retaliate to try and stop the bullies of bullying you, you get in trouble by the teacher seeing you hitting the bully, but they don’t see when the bully was teasing you first.

    It is this violent and insensitive life we all live in school and we either take it on the chin or at least islolate ourselves from social contact to avoid it.

    and we get bullied by even trying to isolate ourselves too.

    So that was why I pretended to be one of the popuar kids even though I was isolated most of the time, it was because I was afraid to become bullied by trying to become social like I was in I was in my younger school years when I was being teased.

     

  37. DarkSaber says:

    Well that clinches it! The intartubes made him do it!

    ————————————————–

    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  38. TBoneTony says:

    You got to understand the people who were treated harshly in the school to fully realize that this is a problem within society and how people treat each other.

    And finally we get this book that gets closer into talking about it.

    Even though some of the school shooters killed themselves on the day they went on rampage, we would learn allot more about their state of minds by looking at the evidence of what they wrote about their feelings in their diarys.

    Sadly for many people, this never gets talked about because the news media only focuses on what sells as news.

    And talking about someone’s feelings is not as newsworthy as blaming something else that just happens to be a little more popular with the youth culture.

    So in a way, the youth culture has been scared not by the school shootings but by the way the mainstreem media picks on the things that the youth like because the mainstreem news media don’t care about telling people the truth when they can make as much money out of telling lies and getting money from newsworthy stories.

    Sad truth, but lucky it sounds like this book goes a long way in trying to understand the real reasons behind the school shootings that needs to be told but never is because it is just not as interesting to the mainstreem news media.

     

  39. Geoff says:

    Well there was obviously some sort of mental degeneration in all of these incidents.  Whether it was actual mental illness that went unchecked or a process that was started and spurred on by social pressure and a poor environment can only be determined in a case-by-case basis.

    Mental illness, in and of itself, isn’t going to cause a person to lash out so violently unless it’s either an extreme case where the mind is totally "broken" or if said illness goes unchecked.

     

    Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

  40. SounDemon says:

    Suicide makes much less sense.

    If these people have pushed you to the point of wanting death, why would you kill yourself when these other people are the cause of your hate and rage and self-depression?

    They don’t want to cop out of life, they want REVENGE.

  41. Moriarty70 says:

    I think what sets these shooters aside and qualifies them as "mentally ill" is the fact that, when most can’t take it anymore, they take it out on themselves. Suicide by bullying. School shooters however take it out on those who pushed them that far.

  42. MountainKing says:

    A few minutes ago, the police announced at the press conference, that Tim Kretschmer had psychic problems and was in treatment several times but apparently stopped going to the clinic a while ago. They mentioned it in the context of his army-checkup (every german men has to go there) but I´m not sure whether they discovered it there or if it was just the first public record of it. So it seems to stenghten Langmans position.

  43. SounDemon says:

    It’s a pathetically easy and self-deluding thing to say that all school shooters are mentally ill, Zero. Because they’re not, and the "mentally ill" do not need any more stigma than they already have.

     

    The "mentally ill" need help, not even more stigma from ignorant people.

  44. SounDemon says:

    No. School shooters are not mentally ill.

    To a large extent, school shootings are a byproduct of the social atmosphere in High Schools (and to a lesser degree, college). High School is an exercise in social darwinism, where those who have the most connections will do the best, while those who want to succeed but are "deviants" are cast out like lepers, creating an artificial "us or them" mentality in the school.

    "In addition, they were not living in reality. They all believed that people are monsters conspired to do them harm. … They were confused and desperate and lost in the mazes of their minds."

    The thing that the good doctor does not mention is that Humans are inherently selfish dicks. They may not CONSPIRE to do one harm, but they are not above it in the least if they will gain some amusement or benefit from it. What do you think pushes students to beat up "the weird kid"? Mental illness? Or dickheaded selfishness?

    I have been in such a "mentally ill state", and I have Aspergers, which already makes me "mentally ill." When you are the deviant in high school, you are hated, beaten up, and spat upon for no good reason other than being different. And when you are abused and maligned daily, the hate eats away at you and your humanity, and you begin to hate all of humanity for it’s selfishness.

    The atmosphere of High Schools needs to change in order to reverse the trend of school shootings, and it’s an EXTREMELY EASY COPOUT to say that "oh, these kids just snapped", because it means that nobody has to try fixing anything, they can just rest easy because the kids were crazy, not byproducts of their social system.

  45. Zerodash says:

    Somebody remove the ban for this topic- I NEED to hear Jack Thompson argue that these child killers aren’t mentally ill.

  46. Nekowolf says:

    Sorry, yes. That was my mistake, thank you for the correction.

    Though, in some cases, while not necessarily "criminal," displinary action has been taken. For example, like when a child is suspended from school, for wearing pagan jewelry. Now, that is against constitutional rights, and action by a higher authority has claimed it so, but still.

  47. NotSoHardcoreGamer says:

    This is going off-topic, but doesn’t this just highlight that religion (or lack of it) doesn’t really play a role in these things?

    If a Christian and an atheist here can recognize something that’s morally wrong and logically unreasonable, it shows that both are on the same ethical side.

  48. BrandonL337 says:

    "I’m white, male, Christian: the epitome of right-wing oppression, and personally, I’m tired of being portrayed as the bad guy. "

    See that kinda goes both ways, I’m an atheist and to many religious people not just Christians I am the ultimate bad guy on par with Wiccans, gays, or actual Satanists.

    You’de be surprised how many times I’ve seen atheists refered to as satan worshipers or Darwin worshipers.

    There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

  49. BrandonL337 says:

    Do you mean persecute? because i doubt that they are putting Wiccans on criminal trial

    There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

  50. Vake Xeacons says:

     It also has do with your definition of religion, and I think this issue as continually popped up here. I’m white, male, Christian: the epitome of right-wing oppression, and personally, I’m tired of being portrayed as the bad guy. 

    I think vellocet’s right. Religion and faith are two different things, and my church has been trying to shed the "religion" persona for quite some time. But I can promise you, either way, religion had nothing to do with Columbine, unless they were going after Christians (which I doubt). They shot one girl after she said she believed in God (although they probably would have shot her anyway).

    Before Columbine, Michael Carneal, in Kentucky, shot up a group of kids holding a morning prayer in the lobby (they were probably just the first kids he saw). This doesn’t prove any of these kids were after Christians, but I think we can all agree, they certainly weren’t sympathetic.

  51. Nekowolf says:

    Sorry, I have to say something.

    I’ve seen a lot of blame on religion. Hell, I know others of my own ideologies (Wiccan) face prosecution by those of other faiths; in the US, it is mostly by Christians, Catholics, and other demoninations. Yet I will still stand up for religion as a whole.

    There is no bad, or evil, religion. It is people. Sure, if you take Christianity, they may teach things that seem bad or stupid or what not, but it is up to the person, the individual. They are the only ones who should teach themselves their own spirituality. Some do, and some don’t.

    But also, religion, it is not a thing set it stone. It can change. Whether or not it does change, that is up to the people, the followers, the leaders if it is organized.

    But even then, the ideas of "reality" and "fantasy" are, at their core, subjective. We can only understand what we can percieve, either naturally or through artificial means (technology). So yes, that is reality. However, there may well, and probably forever will be, things we do not percieve, hence, cannot logically understand (by that, I mean "logically" as understanding with sciences and technology).

    For example, ancient man could never "see" a black hole, nor had the understanding to do so, or the understand to fully comprehend, so it must not have existed to them, or exist as an alternative (let’s say, they are the holes that the gods themselves rip open, upon their birth, to enter the heavens).

    So in the end, one cannot dictate, in absolute unquestionablity, what is "reality" and what is "fantasy." In a case like this, their "fantasy" came from being mentally ill. But what we may consider "fantasy" was all too of a "reality" to them.

  52. SounDemon says:

    Nope, even though I have a vendetta against religion, religion is NOT the cause of school shootings.

    There are no "causes". There are contributing factors, some more than others. Religion is a contributing factor. The social atmosphere of High School is a greater contributing factor.

  53. NotSoHardcoreGamer says:

    Trying to follow SounDemon’s argument here…

    I can’t agree completely with him that there’s a complete break between mental illness and violent acts in children.  At the same time, it is indeed somewhat of a copout.

    Their mental illness does not remove the moral responsibility of their acts.  We cannot just say "they’re crazy, thus they went out and killed," from the sense that it demeans those who are mentally ill (I myself have OCD) to the sense that it becomes an "excuse" for these acts to exist.

    But you have to note that mental illness does make sound judgement, certainly on ethical issues, difficult to make.  At what point does going out on a rampage and killing innocent strangers acceptable to society and to one’s self in both an ethical and psychological capacity?

    (It also makes me wonder where the line is between Ethics, whether philosophical or theological, and sound mental health.)

    What really pisses me off about this issue, though, is that guys like Jack Boy are completely willing to overlook psychological counselling for kids like these or the idea of tighter gun controls in favor of bashing video games, which is a most peripheral issue here.

  54. BrandonL337 says:

    oooh BZURN!

    There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

  55. Erik says:

    Well yes, you and I are aware of that.  But you see I was using extreme sarcasm to point that fact out to sounDemon.  Really dude is being FAR too sensitive in this situation.  He can’t seem to seperate aspergers from the mental conditions which CAN cause someone to commit attrocities.  He can’t seem to understand that when people are saying the mentally ill we are refering to the true pyshopaths and not sufferers from aspergers.

    He is throwing up a strawman and a rather silly one at that.  And I really know what I’m talking about as my Generalized Anxiety Disorder has landed me in the psyche ward of a hospital on two occasions.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  56. Michael Chandra says:

    You mean serial killers where many get pleasure from such acts? Of course, the fact they get pleasure from it points at a mentally disturbed state, which sometimes is caused or increased by a biological factor.

  57. SounDemon says:

    Ah, the old "Appeal to authority".

    GUESS WHAT? DOING RESEARCH DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE AN EXPERT IN A SUBJECT.

  58. Erik says:

    So how "passionate" does one have to be before they kill people, chop them up, eat them, and keep the rest in the freezer like Dahmer?  Pretty fucking "passionate" I’d imagine?

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  59. Nekowolf says:

    Key word: "Most"

    These school shootings like Columbine and V. Tech, they fall out of that "most" catagory, they are not norm, they are deviant.

    And that’s assuming (I refuse to take side if you are without proper evidence) what you said is, in fact, correct.

    Also, killing a person who your wife was cheating with. That is murder by passion. Going after the person who fired you, after twenty years of working at that place, that is passion.

    Killing people because they sexually appeal to you, making you want to rape, torture, and kill them. That is not passion, that is psychotic murder.

  60. Nocturne says:

    The problem with your reasoning is that it’s the PDD’s that are dubious as being classed as mental illnesses, not the psychopathic or sociopathic conditions which there is evidence that several of the shooters named in the article had.

  61. DarkSaber says:

    Go and write your own book then, seeing as how you know better than peole who have done research.

    ————————————————–

    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  62. Werrick says:

    Psychopathy is a mental illness. A psychopath who kills does so because he is mentally ill. A paranoid schizophrenic can kill, and does so because he’s mentally ill.

    Not all mentally ill persons are killers, but many, many killers are mentally ill. There’s nothing unfair about that statement.

  63. mdo7 says:

     

    All gamers and people who think medium are not involved with violent act are all backing up this guy.  I think this guy should team up with Kutner and Olson to combat those anti-gamer (and probably anime haters who decide to scapegoat anime/manga next).  Looks like JT might want to add this guy to the conspiracy list.

     

    Jack Thompson saying this guy is a video game defender and part of the conspiracy in 3..2..1

     

     

     

  64. Brokenscope says:

    Uh yes I have been depressed and paranoid. I was for the most part unable to function even outside of the situation that caused my depression and paranoia. Thats crazy.

  65. Good Lord says:

    Not really, if you actually know someone who’s depressed or have been depressed yourself.

  66. Bennett Beeny says:

    Well the difference is this:

    Normal kids might get depressed, scared and even vengeful, but they stop short of murder because they know they’ll get caught or they just know it’s not right.  It’s not that they realize that shooters get treated by the press as psychos.  Heck, as a teen I had my own death list, but I never acted on it because I knew I’d get caught if I did, and there was no point in murdering the bullies if I was going to waste the rest of my life for it.

    Psychos, on the other hand, don’t get any further than wanting their victims to pay.  If they do consider the consequences they don’t care.

  67. Vake Xeacons says:

    I disagree. Depressed and scared does not equal crazy. Lots of kids go through similar phases in high school, especially if they’re harassed a lot. After getting verbally and emotionally assaulted, it’s easy to see the fear of harm, even in a sane person. Then why don’t we see more school shootings? Because most kids realize that shooters don’t get lionized as martyred heros, but, like this article, psychos. But we do see plenty of suicides…

  68. TBoneTony says:

    People like JT, Keith Vass and also Michael Atkinson are the real bullies by calling us nerds and making false statements about us.

    We don’t need people like them ruining our lives.

     

  69. magic_taco says:

    Still, If JT and any other Im"moral" crusaders wouldnt give a Chocobo’s Butt on Relevant Facts like these and only do their goals just for media attention and possibly money.

  70. Michael Chandra says:

    The way in which they are disturbed is different however. Someone who gets pissed, pulls a gun and shoots people he hates, and has every reason to hate for screwing him over, treating him as trash, bullying him for years, igniting a fight and ridiculing him, stuff like that, is different from a guy who is raving mad, thinks the entire world is out to get him and decides to strike back.

  71. avar1ce says:

    I don’t know about anyone else but I didn’t need someone with a doctorate to tell me that people who shoot other people are f***ed up in the head.  I would think that would be readily apparent.

  72. SounDemon says:

    And they deserve it, because kids with Autism are not killers because they have Autism, kids with Bipolar Disorder are not killers because they have Bipolar disorder, and kids with Aspergers are not killers because they have Aspergers.

    Saying school shooters are mentally ill is a mental copout designed to make people feel better.

  73. Verbinator says:

    Still, there’s bound to be some sort of response from support organizations for the mentally ill demanding a retraction.

    –Verbinator

  74. MaskedPixelante says:

    Another well thought out arguement as to why there are a myriad of factors beyond simply playing video games as to why school shooters do what they do…

    And when the mainstream news gets a hold of the German shooter story, studies like this will be ignored because they don’t support the news stations arguements.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  75. Soldat_Louis says:

    Another book worth reading on the subject is Rampage : The Social Roots of School Shootings by Katherine S. Newman, Cybelle Fox, Wendy Roth, Jal Metha and David Harding. Violent video games are briefly mentioned, but just to dismiss the "video games made me do it" theory. In fact, the book’s real point is to ask those questions : "How could these low-crime, family-centered, white communities have spawned such murderous violence? How did these particular families, known and respected by neighbors, teachers and preachers, produce rampage killers?" And the surprising answer is that contrary to all the appearances, this kind of community creates a favorable environment for school shootings.

    Writer James Graham Ballard had made a quite similar point years ago with his novel Running Wild.

  76. chadachada321 says:

    The last two paragraphs, though common sense, are brilliant in today’s standards. I might actually buy this book, it looks like a decent read.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  77. JC says:

    Wow, someone that really looked into the psyche of these people. It likely took years to come to these conclusions, but I guess the states and ambulance chasers don’t like such "lengthy" and "well-thought-out" studies to interfere with their agendas.

    I wonder how much else the book elaborates on and hopefully not a "formula" as to why. I think one thing to remember is to never try to make sense of every homicide and assault, some are just unexplainable and impossible to make sense of.

    I wonder how many months it’ll take for him to come to any conclusions about the recent shootings and how long it takes the nutjobs to come to their conclusions, so we can compare and contrast.

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