Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

March 12, 2009 -

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.


Comments

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

Proper payment.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

 

TBoneTony

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Magic Taco

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

 

TBoneTony

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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

--Verbinator

--Verbinator

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

Most murders in America are crimes of passion, not products of mental illness.


Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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-

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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-

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

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

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

Ah, the old "Appeal to authority".

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

Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

And not doing it guarantees you're not.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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

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

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

Peter Langman, we salute you

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

 

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

 

 

 

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.


Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

There are people out there that need it reiterated to them.  They think the evil video games, science books, or some other stupid BS brainwashed them to do it, when if anything their religion has because it confused them on what the difference is between reality and fantasy.

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Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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

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

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

I think you're confusing religion and faith.  I have no problem with faith.

------- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

 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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

"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

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

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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...

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

Depressed and paranoid...

That sounds like a textbook case of crazy.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

Re: Author of New Book: School Shooters Are Mentally Ill

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.

 
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