Why Do Mass Shooters Kill? It's About More Than Having A Grievance

Highly motivated people satisfy their egos quite differently; they focus their extremism.
By: The Conversation
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - April 18, 2023 - PRLog -- By: Arie Kruglanski, University of Maryland

An acutely troubling aspect of life in contemporary America is the growing proliferation of mass shootings that claim thousands of innocent lives year after painful year and make everyone feel unsafe.

The year 2023 is still young, and already there have been at least 146 mass shooting events in the U.S. on record, including the killing of five people in a Louisville, Kentucky, bank that the shooter livestreamed. There were 647 mass shootings in 2022 and 693 in 2021, resulting in 859 and 920 deaths, respectively, with no respite in sight from this ghastly epidemic. Since 2015, over 19,000 people have been shot and wounded or killed in mass shootings.

In the wake of most shootings, the news media and the public reflexively ask: What was the killer's motive?

As a psychologist who studies violence and extremism, I understand that the question immediately pops to mind because of the bizarre nature of the attacks, the "out-of-the-blue" shock that they produce, and people's need to comprehend and reach closure on what initially appears to be completely senseless and irrational.

Media reports typically describe shooters' motives based on specific individual details of the case, on their "manifestos" or social media postings. These generally list insults, humiliations or rejections – by co-workers, potential romantic partners or schoolmates – that a perpetrator may have suffered. Or they may cite alleged threats to the shooter's group from some imagined enemy such as Jews, people of color, Muslims, Asians or members of the LGBTQ+ community. Highly motivated people satisfy their egos quite differently; they focus their extremism.



The Conversation
Source:The Conversation
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