PJ Media

School Killers--Evil, Sick or Socially Toxic?

Last night I had the pleasure of discussing school killers and the characteristics of mass murderers on the a href=”http://www.townhall.com/blog/g/d951313d-0281-42f8-b105-5c4c29d9225a”Hugh Hewitt Show/a (welcome to his readers and thanks for stopping by). Mr. Hewitt, like everyone else is America, is struggling to understand what would lead a man to a href=”http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5401194.stm”kill innocent young Amish girls/a execution-style yesterday. One of a href=”http://www.townhall.com/blog/g/d951313d-0281-42f8-b105-5c4c29d9225a?comments=true#comments”Mr. Hewitt’s commenters /a is wary of psychologists who discuss psychological reasons for extreme acts of violence:br /br /blockquoteWe have become inured to the idea that such a thing as “pure evil” exists, despite the constant evidence of its existence.br /br /I heard a bit of Dr. Smith’s commentary. In my opinion, to try to find a pschological root cause for this man’s behavior is to attempt to excuse it.br /br /What could be more evil than terrorizing the children of one of the most innocuous and inoffensive religious sects in existence?/blockquotebr /br /I understand this suspicion of mental health professionals, after all, many of us are a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060391979?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0060391979″Whores of the Court./aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0060391979″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / That said, psychologists can add to the discussion of why people commit mass murder. After all, who has more access to the minds of killers and criminals than we do? If information is used in the proper way, without a political agenda, mental health professionals can help laypeople to understand and make sense of the worldview of a murderer. Does this excuse it? No. Does it mean that evil does not exist in the world? Not in my opinion. However, psychological data can be useful in preventing the next round of senseless killings, and I, for one, am not willing to say that doing nothing is the best tactic to take in protecting innocent victims from the next atrocity.br /br /In my opinion, school killers — and other mass killers — are a combination of many variables–all of them complex, yet rational in the mind of the killer. Why choose an Amish school house? Because there is no or little security and the victims you are looking for are readily available. Why did Charles Carl Roberts kill innocent Amish girls in the first place? We may never know, but there are a few clues. He said he was avenging a wrong done to him 20 years ago and he had an infant daughter die 9 years before, meaning that his female victims were close in age to the daughter he never held. What does this mean in his mind? Who knows? But it is possible that someone could have understood and helped him make sense out of his anger, depression and suicidal feelings before it was too late. I believe that this could have happened, for I have seen patients who have teetered on the edge be brought back again to functioning without killing. Male suicide is prevalent in this country. 24,000 men take their lives every year–yet no one gives a damn. Now that they are taking others with them, will the country listen? br /br /For those of you who wish to learn more about the characteristics of mass murderers and school shooters, take a look at a href=”http://www.fbi.gov/publications/school/school2.pdf#search=%22fbi%20report%20on%20school%20shooters%22″the FBI report on school shooters/a or read the more in-depth work of J. Reid Meloy, author of a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0970318901?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0970318901″emViolence Risk and Threat Assessment: A Practical Guide for Mental Health and Criminal Justice Professionals./em/a img 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 /Update: You can read a transcript of my radio show with Hugh Hewitt a href=”http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/Transcript_Page.aspx?ContentGuid=107b956d-e4c5-48e5-a2cd-a079edad77a4″on school killers here./a