Mass Killings – The 4 Warning Signs

by Jack

The nation was rocked once again by back to back mass shootings.  Why haven’t we done a better job to prevent these mass killings?  Is it even possible?  I think so, but we’re going to have to work together and not settle for knee jerk fixes like we’ve done in the past.

First step – identifying the problem.  The National Institute of Justice has recently completed a study that includes interviewing incarcerated perpetrators, their friends, their family, first responders, the media, social media, they read manifestos, suicide notes  and interviewed a host of psychiatric experts.   After this extensive study they concluded there was strong commonality among almost all the killers and I’ve listed them below.

There are four common denominators in the personal profile of virtually every killer.

  1.  Severe, long term early childhood trauma and exposure to violence, this included sexual assault, severe bullying, parents that committed suicide and this was often a precursors to mental health issues that frequently resulted in extreme depression, anxiety, thought disorders and or suicidal thoughts.
  2.  There was a crisis point or crisis trigger in the weeks or months preceding their rampage.  They become angry and despondent because of a specific grievance.  This could have been a parent that died, relationship rejection or loss, fired from the job, change in job status or kicked out of school, and this left them with a crisis trigger, something they could rationalize as justifiable cause for their rampage.  This was communicated to others by a marked change in behavior, suicidal plans or talking about specific acts of violence.   In almost all cases there was a period of weeks to months where these people could have been identified if those around them were paying attention to the symptoms.
  3.  Notoriety, validation and education.  They wanted the world to know their hurt and anger.  The thought of leaving behind a legacy the world would remember was a strong incentive. They studied the actions of other mass shooters.  They noticed there were scripts to be followed that would guarantee them notoriety, even in death.  So they modeled their attack after previous attacks.   The news media becomes an important part of the plan.  Without the news media speaking their name and showing their pictures every hour, the study concluded it could have drastically compromised their motivation to follow though with the killings.  This is why mass shootings always tend to come in clusters; such violence becomes socially contagious.   Note: Many are radicalized online in their search for validation.
  4. Access to weapon or the instrument of injury.  Once a person has come to the conclusion that once their life is no longer worth living and that murder is a proper revenge only means and opportunity stand in their way.   In over 80% of cases the weapon was obtained in some way from their friends or family.   In less than 5% of the cases was the weapon obtained completely lawfully.

Without the publicity, mass killings would lack one of the key reasons motivating the killer.  However, for the media to cut back on coverage runs contrary to everything they  have been taught to do.  They want the whole story, they have been conditioned to publicize the name and face of the killer and to do background stories on them because this is what sells.  In a free society like ours I’m not sure how we would ever get the cooperation of the news media, but if we did it would save hundreds of lives, that I have no doubt.

Additional background checks on gun sales may be near worthless.  Background checks are nearly universal now, even at gun shows.  There’s no evidence to show how expanding the current system would be helpful.  But, if the background check included a psychiatric check, that could be helpful in keeping guns out of the hands of some mentally ill persons, not all, but some.   Currently we have no way of knowing the psychiatric history because it is difficult to access without a court order.  Probation, prisons, child protective services, county jail, psychiatric facilities, parole, courts, law enforcement often operate without sharing valuable case history.   We definitely could improve on this through a common data entry point.

Restricting a magazine capacity for a semi-automatic rifle is too simplistic and it diverts our attention away from real solutions – solutions that would identify a problem before it blows up in our face.   This is not an easy fix, pass a law and it goes away kind of thing. We’re going to be required to up our game, starting in Congress.  In the case of the media, its going to take a monumental effort to reverse what they are currently doing, which is to provide the killer with motivation.  We will then find out what is the most important to the media, a juicy story or lives.

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30 Responses to Mass Killings – The 4 Warning Signs

  1. Chris says:

    “Beginning in 2015, however, it became apparent to those who had eyes to see that our nation was starting to experience a new youth movement of hate. The Charleston church massacre was followed by a strange — and for those who experienced it — terrifying wave of bizarre online racist harassment. The word “alt-right” entered the American lexicon. It targeted Jews, it targeted African Americans and Hispanics, and it targeted critics of Donald Trump. It obsessed over immigrants from south of the border. It used words like “invasion” to describe immigration, and words such as “replacement” to describe the imagined fate of white America. It thrilled to Trump’s rhetoric, and parts of Trump’s movement loved it right back. No less a figure than Steve Bannon, the man who became Trump campaign CEO and later a senior White House aide, boasted that Breitbart (then one of the most trafficked sites in conservative media) had become the “platform of the alt-right…”

    • J Soden says:

      You’re a few years too late on your “beginning.” Many of today’s tensions began when Obumble was elected and he appointed Holder as AG. Then began 8 years of selective enforcement of laws, pandering to the Antifa thugs and making excuses for those who turned to violenc. And of course, Al Sharptongue was a hero to the oval office and continued to spread his evil whenever possible.
      Just another failure that can be traced to Obumble.

  2. Chris says:

    I beg you to read the David French piece and understand that it is downright negligent to leave out the growing threat of white nationalism when it comes to these killings. Nearly every politically motivated murder in the US over the past year was committed by a white nationalist. I have been sounding the alarms about the growing tolerance of white nationalists and their talking points on the right wing for years here, and the El Paso shooter’s manifesto proves I was correct; he was echoing words about a Hispanic “invasion” and “replacement” of whites that have been pushed by Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter, and even the President of the United States with increasing frequency, as the French piece points out. Trump today again fanned the flames by blaming the “fake news” for the El Paso shooting, which is the same thing the shooter said in the manifesto! If anyone is guilty of spreading fake news that motivated this shooter, it is Trump himself, and those on Fox News who went as far as to claim, absurdly, that immigrants were bringing in “smallpox.” When will the rest of the conservative media realize that David French is correct now, and has been correct in his critiques of Trump’s dangerous xenophobic rhetoric for years now?

  3. RHT447 says:

    Best comment I’ve seen so far–

    “The recent rash of mass shootings has left the nation stunned but, sadly, not speechless. The usual media and political suspects are saying the usual things, using the bodies of the innocent as a sickening ideological soapbox.

    We’re not going to do that here. These gruesome murders are not about, nor caused by, politics. Rather, they are the unavoidable and perhaps unstoppable product of a deeply diseased culture. A culture which has become the perfect growth medium for psychopathy.

    “Loners” are no longer alone when in their online worlds. They can communicate without actual human contact. They can find reinforcement for their darkest and most twisted thoughts and fantasies. They can give the worst demons of their psyches an artificial, external life in cyberspace – free to express hatred and anger anonymously and without consequence. And on the Internet, madness can hide in plain sight.

    After all, who’s going to notice or care about garden variety insanity in a world which routinely describes everyone as murderous: baby killers on one side, Earth-destroying Nazis on the other. The stakes are absolute, the “other” is the enemy, and words are just words…until they become actions.

    The social mechanisms which formerly prevented these massacres have crumbled. The bonds of family, friendship, and faith. A shared sense of community. Optimism about the future. Moral certainty and personal responsibility.

    Instead, we now live in a crowded world of communal loners, all staring at their phones instead of the world and people around them. Politicians and media figures preach an unsubtle and dangerously divisive message of absolutes: you are either on this side or that, either all good or all evil. There is no middle ground – only calls for action. Calls that the wrong people are hearing.

    We live in a culture in which too many feel they have no meaning or importance, but believe that one spectacular act of madness can give them the instant celebrity which defines success in a sick society. And so they kill to feel alive. To experience an illusion of power at the expense of the powerless. And even knowing the likelihood that they will be killed during their heinous act, they believe they will live eternally in the electronic ether, washed in the blood of the sacrificed.

    Gun control can not and will not change any of this. The phenomena of mass shootings is, in fact, unstoppable absent a wholesale change in our culture, our way of life, and our society’s unhealthy obsession with an inhuman and inhumane electronic world.

    The good news is that the vast majority of people still retain values strong enough to keep them morally centered in our crumbling culture. The bad news is that unless those values can regain cultural dominance, and unless we can replace combativeness and angry confrontation with honest conversation, mass murder will continue to be our inescapable new normal.”


    • Post Scripts says:

      RHT, I absolutely agree with that post. Dysfunctional and even dangerous people can now get their bizarre and twisted thoughts validated online by similar people. Freedom of speech is being tested to its limits when people can become radicalized online and motivated to do sick, unthinkable of things. This is not a political thing or a gun thing, people who think that are not seeing the bigger picture. This is a societies new nuclear bomb and we’re standing at ground zero with no clue what to do about it.

      • Chris says:

        Dysfunctional and even dangerous people can now get their bizarre and twisted thoughts validated online by similar people.

        Right now they’re being validated by the President of the United States. Yesterday I showed you a video of a Trump rally from back in May where he laughed off supporters yelling about “shooting” immigrants, after which Trump responded he could “get away with” it…and you said nothing. This validates white supremacists, too.

      • Harold says:

        RHT, I agree completely with your post, validation of the rage and bizarre twisted thoughts can be viewed here on post scripts by the never Trumpers.

        Sadly, the age of social compromise and civility apparently has been lost on the newest generations, the ability to post anything, in any manner under the guise of keyboard anonymity is a contributing factor for that.

        • Post Scripts says:

          Harold, I feel your pain. Civility, empathy and a willingness see things outside their box is almost an impossible stretch. They’ve been indoctrinated and their wrong (and dangerous) views are constantly being validated within their closed circle of friends. What can we do? If the destruction wrought on CA is not enough to wake people up what is?

  4. Peggy says:

    And faster than the start of the Kentucky Derby Democrats, the party of hate, are accusing the mass shooting on the man who has been in office for 2.5 years and is trying to fix the many problems our country faces. Problems our congress has refused to address and resolve for decades. One finger pointed out leaves four pointing back.

    Doing nothing is acceptable. Maintaining the status quo of death, drugs and law violations is preferred to saving lives from drug overdoses, MS13 members, rapes and making our communities safe.

    Disgusting is the fact, before families can bury their loved ones Democrats are campaigning for funds because of their loss.

  5. Libby says:

    Look at you … promoting taxpayer funded DOJ research. Why aren’t you being appalled at all this frivolous grant-making? Be consistent, fer pity’s sake.

    But you don’t say what research exactly you gather this from. If this is something recently published, at the instigation of that Trump operative, W. Barr, we will have to take issue with it’s integrity and veracity, won’t we?

  6. Cherokee Jack says:

    Almost everything we do we learned from others. Walking, talking, the concept or right and wrong, you name it. Can anyone say they learned something completely on their own, without any previous information on the subject? We are copycats. Our culture has continuously evolved as a result of a barrage of information, some good, some useful, some pure evil, and some wasted brain space.

    The power of suggestion can do wonders. From it we got underarm deodorant, pet rocks, sitcoms, 38 genders, tattooed faces, nipple piercing, and mass shootings.

    Maybe the shootings are a fad that can be replaced by something else as dramatic, that will give the nutcases the same twisted sense of accomplishment. Like diving head first into a wood chipper with plenty of media on hand. Assembling the media wouldn’t be a problem.

  7. J Soden says:

    Giving up your freedom of speech or the right to bear arms in favor of the illusion of “safety by legislation” is NOT a good idea since criminals DO NOT OBEY THE LAW!!!!!!
    I’ll keep my own weapons, thank you!

  8. Peggy says:

    Turns out the Ohio shooter was a Warren not Trump supporter and he was a pro-Satan leftist too. Where was the condemnation of Bernie for the guy who almost killed Scalise or Obama for the gay nightclub massacre in Florida and the couple in San Bernardino?

    Trump needs all of congress to step up and do their job by working with Trump to solve this problem.

    Ohio gunman described himself as pro-Satan ‘leftist’ who supported Elizabeth Warren:

    “The Ohio gunman described himself on social media as a pro-Satan “leftist” who wanted Joe Biden’s generation to die off, hated President Trump and law enforcement, and hoped to vote for Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president.

    “I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding,” he wrote in one tweet, according to

    “Vote blue for gods sake,” he wrote last Nov. 2. On the day of the senator’s death, Betts wrote “F—k John McCain.”

    “This is America: Guns on every corner, guns in every house, no freedom but that to kill,” he wrote in December, and on the day of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, he tweeted at Sen. Rob Portman: “hey rob. How much did they pay you to look the other way? 17 kids are dead. If not now, when?”

    In reference to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, he wrote “you can’t kill 50+ people and injure 600(!) In 10 minutes with cigarettes my dude.”

    • Chris says:

      Turns out the Ohio shooter was a Warren not Trump supporter and he was a pro-Satan leftist too. Where was the condemnation of Bernie for the guy who almost killed Scalise or Obama for the gay nightclub massacre in Florida and the couple in San Bernardino?

      The Ohio shooter does seem to have been on the left but unlike the El Paso shooter there is no evidence yet that his motivation for his mass killing was political. It seems like he was trying to kill his sister. The El Paso shooter left behind a manifesto explaining exactly who he wanted to kill and why, and used talking points straight from the White House and Fox News. The Dayton shooter did not.

      Some did blame Bernie’s rhetoric for motivating Scalise’s shooter. This is the first I’m hearing of Obama being to blame for the Pulse shooting or the San Bernardino killings. Obama had no history of extreme anti-gay rhetoric at all, so I don’t understand how you could blame him for that. What’s the theory on San Bernardino? That President Drone Strikes wasn’t tough enough on Islamic terrorism? I don’t get it.

    • Chris says:

      On the day of the senator’s death, Betts wrote “F—k John McCain.”


      Between Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump, which one would be more likely to say “F–k John McCain?”

      We both know. But you’ll pretend not to.

  9. Libby says:

    Well … we’re not quite ready to turn on the Blathering Obscenity in the White House … but the Republican Rank-and-File is having a tough time:

    They’re telling her to resign! … that she’s unfit for office! … can you believe that!

    • Post Scripts says:

      Libby, this is what I mean, we’re totally off track, this is not a political issue. We’re allowing ourselves to turn on each other, to throw stones at each other and that’s not helpful. You know and I know the left has said equally stupid things as this lady, but so what? How is that even remotely helpful. It does nothing to help us find creative ways to stop the violence and save lives. Everyone is so upset and angry over these shootings, but what we really need are viable solutions, not candlelight vigils, not mud tossing or finger pointing. We need answers and we need them now. With all the brilliance in America we should have no problem stomping this virus out of existence.

      • Chris says:

        Jack, the El Paso shooter’s motivation was clear: he wanted to stop the Hispanic “invasion” of Texas. There is nothing wrong with pointing the finger at those who have fearmongered about just such a non-existent invasion, because those are the people who put these ideas in his head and kept them festering. You can’t “both sides” this one; blaming anti-immigrant political rhetoric for this mass killing is nothing like blaming gay marriage for the killing, as Keller did, because one is objectively factual and the other is not.

      • Libby says:

        Jack, she made up a passel of perfectly absurd reasons for our little outbreak of domestic terrorism … just like you are doing.

        She is unfit for her office. Trump always has been. The people who elected him totally abandoned their responsibility to the Republic and the Republic cannot survive a whole lot more of this.

  10. Chris says:


    The Only Thing Trump Should Say Right Now is “I’m Sorry”

    By former RNC spokesman Tim Miller

    There are no magic words that a president can offer to bring back those who have been lost to senseless tragedies or end the mass violence that is haunting our land. There are no magic words that can suture the cultural fissures that have deepened in the past few years.

    But a president does have both the opportunity and the platform to shape the way the country thinks and talks about these acts, to set a north star for change, to console those whose communities have been shattered by violence.

    Donald Trump has failed miserably on that front to date—recall his “joke” following the Tree of Life synagogue shooting that he should cancel his remarks because of a “bad hair day.” But the heinous acts of gun violence in El Paso and Dayton this weekend—the former being an explicit white supremacist terror attack targeting Hispanics—present him an opportunity to do so. And if he genuinely wants to make an impact on our nation’s rift, there are a few magic words he could utter, words that might help bring an end to the suffocating tribalist hatred that has consumed us.

    Those words must go beyond naming the El Paso attack “white nationalist terrorism,” as the Washington Examiner and others have rightly called for. For Trump to join Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Commissioner George P. Bush of Texas in describing the El Palso atrocity as such is necessary, but not sufficient. No, for there to be any hope of healing during this presidency, the only thing Donald Trump can say is: “I’m sorry, and I will change.”


    I’m sorry for my role in stoking racial divisions in this country.

    I’m sorry for re-entering the political arena on a fraudulent racist platform where I knowingly lied about my belief that the first black president was actually born in Africa.

    I’m sorry for launching my presidential campaign on the backs of Mexican immigrants, claiming that many are rapists and murderers.

    I’m sorry that I made the head of an anti-immigrant hate site my campaign’s chief strategist.

    I’m sorry for leading rage-filled rallies that stir up animus against my political foes and people of color.

    I’m sorry to Khizr and Ghazala Khan. I’m sorry to Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

    I’m sorry to all the minority students who have been told on the playground that the president will deport them.

    I’m sorry to the American green-card holders who we detained in airports just because of their country of origin.

    I’m sorry I spent a week winking and nodding at white nationalists after they killed an innocent woman in Charlottesville.

    I’m sorry that I said that we should have fewer immigrants from “shithole countries” and more from Norway.

    I’m sorry to everyone who received a bomb from Cesar Sayoc, a person who said my rallies were a “new found drug.”

    I’m sorry for telling four minority women duly elected to serve in Congress that they should go back to where they came from.

    I’m sorry that we caged citizen Francisco Galicia in a disgusting human kennel without due process just because of the color of his skin.

    I’m sorry to the asylees and refugees who I have treated as subhuman because they came from Muslim countries, or countries in Central America. I’m sorry to all the aspiring refugees who have not been welcomed to the land of the free because the bigots I put in positions of power have ensured we accepted the fewest number of refugees in decades.

    I’m sorry to Shaima Swileh who spent a year away from her dying American toddler because she had a Yemeni passport. I’m sorry to all the Americans whose family members couldn’t come to see them because we put a ban on travel from Muslim countries.

    I’m sorry about the lies I told about Middle Easterners and people with Ebola coming into our country through a southern border caravan. And sharing a dubious story about a “prayer rug” found miles from the border.

    I’m sorry that I lied about the number of white people murdered by blacks.

    I’m sorry that I can’t help myself but make barely coded racist attacks against “the blacks” generally and black athletes, Congress members, and urban communities in specific.

    I’m sorry that I made a joke in Pensacola about people in the panhandle murdering immigrants.

    I’m sorry that I have repeatedly shared posts on social media from the members of the alt-right who are fomenting race based violence in this country. Anyone who is arguing that we should be concerned about white genocide or the replacement of white people is a disgusting bigot, not someone who should be elevated by the leader of the free world.

    I’m sorry that I invited bloggers who have allied with white supremacists to the White House.

    Most of all I’m sorry for calling people who are coming to America for a better life for their family, as so many of our ancestors did, invaders and worse. If anyone who heard these words took them to mean that these people are attacking us or are our enemies I want you to hear from me that these are human beings who deserve our love and compassion, not our hatred.

    Kellyanne Conway tweeted on Sunday that “We need to come together, America.”

    You know what else doesn’t solve problems or save lives? Hollow calls for unity. And Conway’s tweet is just that unless the president offers the first olive branch.

    Because “coming together” after years of bitter insults, personal affronts, and racist actions requires sacrifice and recognition of the past ills for it to be meaningful. Demanding that everyone “come together” behind a president no matter what he says or does isn’t healing, it’s servitude.

    Without contrition, and without a commitment to spend the final 16 months of his presidency demonstrating through words and actions that he genuinely wants togetherness and healing, Trump’s words will be simply more salt in the wounds.

    • Post Scripts says:

      Chris that screed is not helpful and it’s not going on page 1. It’s lucky to be posted in comments. It’s divisive and hateful – we don’t need that crap.

      • J Soden says:

        Thank you for pointing that out to Chris, since he is evidently unable to reach that conclusion.

      • Harold says:

        It is way to early for me to form a opinion on the rational of the shooters, currently there is to much “me first to report” media frenzy.

        As it sorts out there may possibly come some viable information as to the why of these shootings. We need that more than immediate commentary.

        But now, we only have the rush to judgement political venues to digest, which by any standard is a incredibly bias source of opportunistic misdirection into the causes.

        I agree with Post Scripts, it’s time to start filtering such article/posts when it comes to posting initial political bombastic finger pointing and fuel flaming opinions of events.

        But given the narcissistic culture of today, it is easy to understand someone’s need for their 15 minutes of fleeting notice, however it will never make it acceptable .

    • Libby says:

      Jack, that screed is a very succinct statement of Trump’s culpability in all this … from a Republican.

  11. Chris says:

    Your blog, your rules. If you can get around to it, I’d like to know why you think this article is divisive and hateful but the things it words Trump should apologize for are not. Isn’t the point that the leader of our country has made many divisive and hateful statements, and should apologize for them? Certainly you might take issue with some of the portrayals of Trump’s statements in this article, but there have also got to be some in there that you legitimately believe were wrong and should be apologized for, no?

  12. Peggy says:

    Watch Democrat Socialist refer to themselves as “comrades.” Really, “comrades.”

    What A Democratic Socialist Convention Is Like:

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