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April 17, 2007 - 4:15 am

The coverage of the VT massacre continues and it seems that little information is being provided. The gunman was possibly a student, maybe even a teaching assistant, but this is not yet known.[Update: The shooter--at least in the second shooting is a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18148802/?GT1=9246"now known to be a VT student]. /aIt would make sense, since he seemed to have good access to the buildings and knew how to quickly get around in the engineering building. The authorities are not saying if the two incidents in the dorm and later Norris building are connected, yet one would think they would be. My guess is that this was a student of some sort whose girlfriend was seeing another man and the killing was out of revenge–both at her, her new suitor and the school. Perhaps he was having a hard time at the school and had decided to kill himself. Suicide is often the accompaniment to mass murder now in our society. br /br /In many of the news reports, students who saw the killer’s face remark on how calm and unemotional his face appeared. People mistakenly believe that the killer would look angry and deranged in the act of mass murder–but that is a different kind of violence–affective violence in which a person feels an imminent threat from another person etc. By the time the killer gets to the stage of actually taking revenge on his targets, he is in a warrior-like state, on a mission, and in predatory mode. In predatory violence, the killer is generally calm and cool, there is minimal or no accelerated heart rate, breathing, or flushing of the skin. There is no conscious emotion and the killer may feel emotionally nothing at that point (for more on predatory violence, take a look at J.Reid Meloy’s book, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0970318901?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0970318901″Violence Risk and Threat Assessment: A Practical Guide for Mental Health and Criminal Justice Professionals/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0970318901″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” /). br /br /By the time, the killer walked into those classrooms, my guess is that he had rehearsed his mission a number of times, all in his head, while practicing private rituals to encourage him to take the steps necessary to overcome any fear or doubt he might have had. He is the hunter and they are the prey. At that point, nothing will stop this type of killer except the gun they put to their own head or the shot from an officer or private citizen’s weapon. br /br /I have many questions. What brought the killer to this point? Could someone have intervened before he went on his rampage? Could the school authorities have done a better job of warning students about the potential of a gunman on the loose? When you have a double murder in a dorm and a gunman who has not been caught, doesn’t it make sense to let students know what is happening? For the killer has had the opportunity to think through his act a thousand times in private and has the element of surprise. The students and teachers who were wounded or killed had no warning at all. Would the warning have helped? I don’t know, but it couldn’t have hurt.br /br /Update: The gunman a href=”http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2007170635,00.html”was a jilted lover /awho apparently killed his girlfriend and her new lover. [Correction: The jilted lover theory may be false according to the media, the male student killed in the dorm was an RA coming to assist a female resident of that dorm].

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