General Question

augustlan's avatar

Murder/suicides and shooting spree/suicides...What are these people thinking?

Asked by augustlan (47725points) July 25th, 2008

Even assuming they had “valid” reasons to hurt/kill others, by doing it this way aren’t they just turning their victims into martyrs and themselves into monsters?

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14 Answers

girlofscience's avatar

Honestly, this is such a large sociological topic that I’m sure there have been many detailed studies conducted on this matter, and I think you’d find much better answers to your question by reading some articles on this topic rather than asking the collective’s opinion.

scamp's avatar

I can’t imagine anyone ever having a valid reason for doing these things, but I guess in their sick minds they think they do. It’s a horribly scary thought because we hear more and more of this all the time. Someone at my job just went a little postal last week. I’m just glad she didn’t do it here.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

because some people are just ticking time bombs and they don’t know how to handle life.

Mrs_Dr_Frank_N_Furter's avatar

well i can’t say for sure, but I believe that it is because they are one, problem mentally unstable or two, are overly depressed and feel that the whole world is against them so they either killthemselves or want to kill the people that hurt them (plus others).

wildflower's avatar

What would be a “valid” reason? Seriously, I don’t see how there could be such a thing. I think the vast majority of these cases are due to people living in isolation/fear/anger – something that may be caused by a society of ideals, looking down on those who deviate, making them taboo and unacceptable – and way too easy access to means of destruction (guns, etc.)

JH's avatar

because they lost what they cared for in the world

marinelife's avatar

I think in many cases, if mentally unstable people did not have such easy access to guns in our country, they would not happen. From Professor Elliott Layton, an anthropologist and expert:

“These kinds of killings occur everywhere. We’ve two or three big ones, horrible ones, in Germany in the last few years, and several in France. So, it’s by no means unknown. There was a couple of horrible mass killings in England, plus the Scottish ones. It’s not unique to us.

I think the most balanced and fair perspective is that provided by Philip Jenkins, a criminologist in the States, who said that as a rule, the mass and serial killing rate is one per cent of the murder rate. So, if you have a very high homicide rate, like the United States does, it’s unparalleled in the developed, Western world, then you would expect a similarly inflated number of serial and mass killings. Whereas, European and Canadian murder rates, in general, are very low, and we have comparably low numbers of serial and mass killers. ”

augustlan's avatar

Just something I wonder about every time I hear it in the news..and it hits close to home, as one of my daughter’s classmates’ father killed his 3 children and wife, then himself. @wild I agree…there IS no valid reason, but the killer obviously feels there is. Even so, by killing the objects of his hatred (jealousy, rage, whatever) the rest of us certainly view them as innocent (and therefore, good) and him as a monster. This would seem to be at odds with what he’d like the world to “know” about the victims. Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to write a suicide note telling the world how “bad” those people are, then kill only himself? Then (in his mind, only) the world would see them as the bad guys and him as the victim. I know, I know, logic and crazy don’t really play well together…but, still!

wildflower's avatar

Like you said, logic and reason are long gone when they take to these measures. My pocket-theory (not based on any professional expertise) is that they feel overlooked, ignored, abandoned and they attach the blame to certain people or groups. Since they feel so ignored, they probably don’t believe anyone would read and understand a note, so they must do it in a way that people can’t ignore.

augustlan's avatar

@ marina I couldn’t agree more about unstable people with access to guns. I know “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” but a person with a gun can kill a lot more people, in a much shorter time frame, than someone with a knife. I’ve only ever heard about one “stabbing spree”, (in another country, can’t remember which one) and most of the victims were wounded, but not killed.

Zaku's avatar

It’s not a matter of objective logic. Few decisions truly are, even peaceful ones which have lots of agreement from others.

allengreen's avatar

I think that as America moves toward parity with China (in terms of wages, civil rights) and the developing world, those who thought themselves entitled to middle-class things like college, health-insurance, cheap food, and a living wage will increasingly tip off the table of civility and react violently.

I think about the former construction workers, and other formerly blue collar folks, pick up trucks with shotgun racks armed to the teeth, will tip toward violence when they can’t afford their six-packs and ground beef, lottery tickets, and retirement.

There is only a fine thread holding civility of society together today. Wait until gas is $10 per gallon, until your grocery story’s shelves are bare because the society built around the assumption that fuel will always be cheap—the sprawl of suburbia—we will still congregate around the Walmart Strip malls—not to buy Chinese crap, but to scrounge for bits of scrap metal and glass to sell to recycle. As the consumer get’s cut off from international credit sources, and the service industry wanes—watch the desperation of the population who thought they were entitled to a better life than their parents realize that they (we) are the new third world.

Get a game plan, it is right around the corner.

I do not hope or wish for this, but I believe we are having a collective Wiley E Coyote moment now. (creidt to JHK)
Google the Book “World Made By Hand” or the “The Long Emergency” for a clearer and better articulated view.

A chipper topic indeed.

jvgr's avatar

I’ll take a stab (verbally):

I’d say that at the root the majority of those who undertake these actions have never learned to accept responsibility; that everything bad in their lives is solely the fault of someone else and, hence, life’s problems are resolved by controlling others.

When the individiual reaches the point that their lives are totally screwed up, the only thing left is ultimate control.

And when it’s all over they “think”: problem solved.

cdwccrn's avatar

to put it simply, they are not thinking- they are feeling- rage, hurt, unspeakable pain, hopelessness.

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