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Scientists Try To Explain What Makes A Mass Murderer

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发表于 2017-10-2 09:30 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
In the aftershock of an incident like this Las Vegas mass shooting, we are left wondering why — what propels a person into a theater, to shoot strangers at random. Is there something in his brain that's blown a circuit? Is it how he was raised? Is it dark and twisted music, TV and video games?
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There are three different types of "multicide," the killing of three or more people: mass murder, serial murder and spree murder. The incident early this morning in Colorado is a mass murder, the killing of a number of people at one time in one place.
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: C& P( {8 T0 ^8 R) s, dResearchers have been trying to answer these questions for decades, but haven't come to a clear conclusion, though they have some hints. By studying previous incidents, researchers have determined that most mass murderers are men, they tend to spend a lot of time alone and have few friends, and they often feel alienated from the rest of the world. They are depressed, angry, and humiliated by the world.
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"All of them are both sad and depressed enough to be willing to die and also angry or paranoid enough that they are blaming other people for their suffering and misfortune," forensic psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz, explained in a Q&A with SecurityInfoWatch. "Those are two of the critical ingredients, there has never been a mass murderer, acting alone, who didn’t have both of those (characteristics)."
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Neil S. Kaye, an assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia noted that "The problem with that is that mass killers do this for multiple reasons, and even when you develop a profile of people at risk, 99 percent of them never go out and do anything bad."* ]- e, V$ r% f9 X5 Q

; t) _: ]4 M) O/ Z+ U! zIt's rare that they are truly psychotic — hearing voices and the like — Michael Welner, a professor at New York University, told The Washington Post in 2007.
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, g$ o6 Q- ^: Y' P: N"But they don't 'snap,' as you so often hear people say," Welner says. "It's more like a hinge swings open, and all this anger comes out."* W" Y5 ~) z- ~0 X/ ]7 X
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They plan everything about the killings, he says, except how to get away.
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3 e( k, w; Z: I$ O! _' H7 j"It's about suicide," Welner says. "It's about tying one's masculinity to destruction."0 I' h) S; Y5 J5 @
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One interesting twist on the Colorado murders involves the shooter James Holmes himself. Usually mass murders commit suicide or force the police to kill them. Not many are taken into custody like the Colorado shooter.3 k% O/ f( P2 {' G5 e0 J3 h4 s* x  [

/ l3 [+ Q3 [3 ]Most of the time, police are left with only a suicide note or other physical things left behind to understand a mass murder's motivation. It will be interesting and useful for doctors, therapists and researchers to learn more about his motives to open fire in a theater full of strangers.
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"It's very unusual for the killer to open fire on strangers. He's much more likely to be selective in his choice of victims," Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University, said in a Q&A with The Daily Beast from 2007. "The more indiscriminate the massacre, the more likely it is that mental illness plays a part."
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Some, like Robert Hawkins, who committed suicide after shooting eight strangers in a Omaha mall in 2007, seem to be in it for the glory. In his suicide note, Hawkins wrote "now I'll be famous." Some researchers suggest that the way the media publicizes these mass shootings incites others to do the same, as suggested by Lavin in The Daily Beast interview.
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We send the wrong message to our youngsters, and it's very simple: "You want to be famous, you want to get a lot of publicity, you want to feel important and powerful and dominant and in control of things? Fine, kill somebody, and while you're at it kill a lot of people, because then you'll definitely make the 11 o'clock news and you'll be on every cable news program in existence."! d1 f; d7 \9 R* [7 ~
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Research by Dietz indicates that the level of news coverage in the US lead to, on average, one more mass murder within two weeks of the first. He explains what he thinks is going on in these copycat's heads:; u7 ?' ?" t2 n% v3 i1 l% k

$ D* R0 m* \) SWhen they watch the coverage of a mass murder, one or two will say — 'That guy is just like me! That's the solution to my problem.'... They will say this quite openly to you when you interview them. It's a conscious process... The massacre seems to offer them both an escape from their unbearable pain, and an opportunity to punish the people they blame for their plight.
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 楼主| 发表于 2017-10-2 09:32 | 显示全部楼层
There are different types of mass murderers. Psychotics are out of touch with reality, but the psychopaths know exactly what they are doing. Though both are equally deadly, the psychopath is usually the most feared of these killers. Psychopaths plan and do their best to target specific people. That means if you have wronged this individual, then you are on the menu.! C, N" E+ a1 @# B0 s7 }
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The golden rule to the public is if you see something, say something. That is, if you notice warning signals, you should speak up and notify authorities. However, when it comes to psychopathic mass murderers, few people do.- P8 V) P4 ~( n. y+ g
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A psychopath is fully in touch with reality and plans murders carefully. These are the people who know exactly what they are doing and want to inflict as much damage as possible. With no remorse, they are free to do as they please. Being the narcissists that they are, mass killers make everything about them. The entire killing is meant to highlight the wrong that has been done to them while at the same time punishing those responsible." ?6 r( a! E2 V: U
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When you look at motivation, you find that what lies at the heart of their anger is victimization. Whether real or imagined, the psychopathic mass killer believes that he or she has been ruined in some way. Some lost their careers. Others lost relationships. Some feel victimized by the government. In any event, they lost something very near and dear to them. In their eyes, they were ruined, and a ruined person is a dangerous person. Think of a wounded, cornered animal. What do they do? They lash out from their pain and fear. This, of course, makes them less predictable and more lethal.5 M2 |4 O" D$ r7 Z- i

+ x" S7 L7 D' \; {. TIn the world of profiling, we usually say that psychopaths are more traceable. In short, they follow easy to see patterns. This is true in mass murder; however, there is a twist here. While psychopaths are very meticulous in how they go about killing, those who go down the road to mass murder are especially careful to avoid detection. They know they can easily get on the radar, so they take steps to stay just below it. They see the writing on the wall which to them spells the end. Accordingly, they scheme in a way to hide as much as they can.
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* p8 _/ O/ e& cBut their anger leeches out; they can’t help it. When you hate something or someone that much, it is bound to show. Little bits here and there come out. They may make cutting comments about their targets or even out and out make a threat. Yet when they do, the killers pretend it was simply a bad day or a joke. They do their best to reassure those who may be suspicious. If that doesn’t work, then they threaten. In both cases, they tend to be effective in quieting people they may have upset.1 T- q2 b' R* Z- @6 J5 n/ l5 A; R7 |

  w& U4 q/ E1 X4 m$ q: n; sSo the problem is that in most of these cases, there are people who know about the killers’ plans but say nothing. Out of fear or denial, they stay silent. It is easier not to get involved as the public has become increasingly detached. Our society has turned very selfish, and few will stick their necks out to save others. As long as it is not them, then they will look away. This naturally is devastating because the killers are free to move about and get closer to their targets.' C" w: r! o4 Z

3 {" A- p+ B1 t7 P3 _; g3 A8 T  ?* _I’ve interviewed several mass murders on Death Row. They were strikingly the same in how they viewed people and what they said about their crimes. Some of the more interesting quotes were:9 T# v7 Z) j3 |9 J, ~2 ^( M

! f1 q* Z4 o+ N, F3 T* L-You’re not going to live while I die.- S  C9 ?, H5 A7 p) v4 r% a

9 n. n. c- u. l+ O( O- I5 I, U& y-You pushed me too far, and now you are going to pay.0 G' G( I- A( I( A2 w( B

7 t+ q/ U8 |$ L( m4 a/ a2 H" X  z-I’m going to hurt you, and there is nothing you can do about it.( L) |: f5 ]* W. b' F: W
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-You can’t think you can kill me and ride off into the sunset.
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-Some people deserve to be killed
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From those statements you can see the common thread. They are saying they’ve been hurt at such a core level that the only recourse they can see is murder. It also is clear that they want their victims and the public to feel fear. After all, how many hidden killers are out there muttering these very words right now? Does it make you want to look over your shoulder? Are you sure you haven’t done something horrible to someone? Are you next on the list? Will your past behavior come back to haunt you?7 t5 m8 \1 d9 r$ t

, k3 ~1 S. f- N; }8 k; vThis is what is so frightening about these killers. There are a lot of people out there who can look back and secretly admit they did someone really wrong. That very well could mean you have a target on your back. Knowing this instills fear, which is what these offenders want.* J3 c! q0 Q. }) k+ Q

% x$ @5 L' o8 O* Z  kDon’t ever underestimate the desire to kill when someone is full of rage and despair. When you pair those two things together, look out. If someone thinks that there is no future and his or her life is full of nothing but pain, then violence is a very likely scenario. It may not rise to the level of mass murder, but these factors fuel many assaults and murders. For those with a propensity toward psychopathy, rage and despair often equals murder.
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' s' t: w. Z  u) `( gToo many people are at a loss to understand such killings. They can’t comprehend the deep pitted hatred that fills the black hearts of these multiple murderers. A shooting or mass event shocks the public which doesn’t spend its time dreaming of murder. However these killers do just that. Every waking moment is focused on their deviant desires. By rote, they practice over and over in their minds how they will destroy as much life as possible. They live and breathe an inevitable revenge. Fueled by continuous anger, they prepare for their destiny. That is how they see it. Every mass killer I interviewed said they always knew they would kill. In a way it is a self fulfilling prophecy., q1 R7 `) }# [+ z4 h. t
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Whatever method they choose to execute their plan, they practice ad nauseum. They go to the location they want to attack. Once there, they watch. They want to memorize the patterns of the people at the location. They want to see who is there and where they go. What is normal for this area? Yes, killers profile too. They need those patterns so they can predict the behavior of their targets. When they can anticipate how a victim will react, they can cut off escape routes.
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1 j4 S% r; G5 Q1 l5 MWeapons are obtained, and very often, they tell someone of their goal. Though they are deadly serious, the threat is blown off. People have a hard time believing that this person could do such a thing. Or, the person is too frightened to say a word. Thus, the behavior and words do not get reported. And the plan continues.* ]" x/ J% @, p8 o: d

/ [2 R& f5 d6 R% aCan you stop them? The honest answer is: sometimes. Sometimes you can stop them before they act out. But these are your clever, anger, revenge driven killers. You can’t get revenge if you announce it to the world. They try to keep to themselves and contain their hatred until they lash out big time. Prior to that, they mask their behavior and intentions to keep you from finding them out.
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Once the deed is done, their only regret is that they could not torture their victims and make them suffer more. Remorse is foreign to them. They have none of it and would gladly kill again.People often ask why the murderers don't just kill themselves. Why do they have to take so many lives?6 p$ N- ?. R" ?3 A. l" ^; @
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The reality is, if you wonder why they don’t just kill themselves, then you really don’t understand them. The whole point is to crush as many people as possible, to destroy them as the killer has been destroyed. The more victims, the more people left behind in misery. The plan is like a spider web of destruction. Little lines go out everywhere to hit their mark. The media becomes alarmed. The public is shocked. Family and friends are left behind. Fear sets in when people realize that no one is truly safe. This is mission accomplished for the mass murderer.+ D' N5 z/ j8 S+ {9 ~5 V) _, q. g
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Researchers have used PET scans, functional MRI, and other head scans to help determine what damage to the brain could be correlated to this violent behavior. We have looked into their backgrounds and found commonalities. Chemical imbalances have been examined. Yet, still, no one can predict with one hundred percent certainty who will become a mass murderer. That is because the mass murderer is a wild card. He or she acts in one event, making it very difficult to stop.
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These killers have their agendas and will do anything to make their fantasy into a reality. Woe to the person who stands in their way. At least that is how they think. The destruction will take place. It is simply a matter of when and where. Our best bet to stop these offenders is to encourage people to come forward if they know about such plans for violence. Eyes and ears on the street can identify risk. If you have heard someone make threats, please tell authorities. Don’t think your information is too insignificant. You may think that you cannot make a difference, but in cases like these, you absolutely can.% O! i9 l/ d9 j9 `7 ]& k
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Remember, these killers are out there just waiting for their chance. If you know someone planning mass murder, don't let them have the opportunity. Come forward and say what you know.
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 楼主| 发表于 2017-10-2 09:34 | 显示全部楼层
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In response to the mass murder in Aurora, CO, we seek to know why. James Holmes, 24, was arrested for allegedly entering a theater during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Reports say he was dressed in riot gear, with a gas mask, and that he threw a canister into the audience before he began to shoot. With a dozen dead and many hurt, people want answers and they want them now. However, when media outlets oblige, early reports can mislead.7 g2 O' x: O8 {: O
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In truth, there are many different types of motive for mass murder, ranging from revenge to despair to free-floating rage at the world. Some people develop visions of annihilation, while others seek headlines. For the Aurora incident, we should allow time for a proper analysis. The shooter himself might not realize the many threads that wove into his stunning act of violence.# ^/ u! v  m6 S3 B8 N; L, j) `. `9 R% V
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I’ve been reading Dave Cullen’s book, Columbine, about the 1999 massacre in Littleton, CO. I find many of his insights to be quite relevant to the Aurora incident. Notably, Cullen dissects the media coverage to explain how the many myths and misunderstandings emerged about shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Some persist even today (and Cullen admits his own role as a journalist back then in contributing to the errors). In the chaos, reporters had recreated the incident via contradictory eyewitness accounts and brief law enforcement reports, but this “need-to-know-now” approach typically produces errors.' J& i, [, _- y0 }; F- X8 |
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It’s surprising how many media “facts” emerged about the Columbine shooters and how long the errors have endured. Cullen offers a careful account, using interviews and documents that were unavailable until years after the shooting. He includes what we know about the distortion factors in perception and memory, and his evaluation easily generalizes to other headline-grabbing massacres.1 c! m8 O% f4 V8 R) P$ X" k
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Having spent nine years on research, Cullen suggests that Harris had groomed a depressed Klebold for the day of destruction. Harris’s journals detail an intense hatred of his “inferiors,” which included just about everyone. Far from being unbearably bullied, he himself could be a bully. More to the point, Harris had “extinction fantasies” about wiping out other people.
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In The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, psychoanalyst and social philosopher Erich Fromm described extinction fantasies as an aspect of “necrophilism,” which can feed malignant aggression. People with a "necrophilous character" are guided by a set of values that glorifies death and demolition.
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; ^+ Q9 h& q- e! X, pMalignant aggression, accordng to Fromm, is rooted in the desire to make a distinct mark on one’s world. Such people often have dreams about dismembered parts or rooms full of corpses. They have trouble relating to others and tend to feel bored. Preferring dark colors, they’re often obsessed with devices of destruction or role models who carried out large-scale slaughters. They feel a smirking superiority toward others, often being insensitive about tragedies that involved a loss of life.9 a! t2 f: |: h, R3 H

; v/ U' z0 L9 F3 @  L; H. G/ m1 W, }/ HAs Klebold struggled with a sense of failure, equating suicide with tranquility and escape, Harris aimed his hatred outward. He attended closely to stories of prior school shootings. The way these young men reinforced each other’s dark side is a striking factor in their “mission.” Each time they worked on their plans, laughing over who might die, they took another step closer to action. Setting a date, collecting weapons, and having a clear target and a stated purpose increased the probability that they would play out their fatal scenario.7 }+ b# }# J8 C* s
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Although the shooting in Aurora differs in many ways from the Columbine massacre, one thing is certain: pressure to identify a simple reason is a mistake. A motive for planned violence of this magnitude generally simmers for a while, absorbing support from multiple sources until it reaches the boiling point. If we want perspective that could help us understand and prevent, we’ll need to be patient. It’s unlikely that immediate post-incident observations will be definitive.
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 楼主| 发表于 2017-10-2 09:35 | 显示全部楼层
Just days after a gunman opened fire in a gay club in Orlando, Florida, a complex and sometimes contradictory picture of his motivations is emerging. He called 911 during the attack to pledge allegiance to the jihadist group ISIS and its rival, the al-Nusra Front, according to the FBI. He was known to spew hatred against women, Jews, black people and gays, but apparently used gay dating apps and visited Pulse (the nightclub he would later attack) regularly for years, according to multiple people who knew him before the shooting.  
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* D, r- A% q/ r- xAs bizarre as these facts are, mixed and murky motivations are standard for so-called lone-wolf attackers, regardless of whether they are defined as terrorists, experts say. There is no template for the path to violence, and rarely can a single cause explain any one atrocity.
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: t) j" K- Y$ `* aWhat that means is that researchers and others trying to prevent these attacks are focusing less on ideology and more on behavior. One study of lone terrorists of all stripes found that 83 percent had hinted to others about their plans before becoming violent, said Mia Bloom, a professor of communication at Georgia State University who researches suicide terrorism. The Orlando club shooter was reportedly no exception: NBC has reported that his wife told the FBI that she knew of his plans and tried to talk him out of attacking.
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No template for violence
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The revelation that the Orlando shooter used gay dating apps and frequented Pulse has led to speculation that closeted self-loathing played a role in the shooting. There is some scientific evidence that self-hate can be outwardly destructive. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people with implicit same-sex desires (revealed by word-association tasks) who identified strongly as heterosexual were more likely than those who were more in touch with their sexual desires to show hostility toward gay people.4 u8 a8 n0 ^$ {2 y

% H" L) M& ~: X6 Z; C1 z0 ^Parenting also played a role in this association. In the 2012 study, people who grew up in authoritarian households — those with strict, harsh parents — showed larger gaps between their implicit sexual desires and their outward sexual orientation than people raised by more accepting parents. [5 Myths About Gay People Debunked]
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9 o( p- d. @1 Z; KThe problem with understanding lone-wolf terrorists or mass shooters, however, is that anger or hate alone doesn't predict violent action.' f3 x! P. m( n9 J

4 @2 q- p6 Y: u3 v# v1 t# d"There is no template," Bloom told Live Science. In the past, many scholars looked at terrorism as a destructive, but basically logical, decision. People born to Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland in the 1950s, for example, might have absorbed political messages from a young age about British oppression and then joined a paramilitary group that matched their ideology, Bloom said.% b) R9 @1 X, }2 E$ t7 e

% c! R) f( i. ]: E+ A9 }6 q"What we're seeing more and more is that the logical, normal sequence is out of whack," Bloom said. Jihadist groups such as ISIS recruit in prisons, luring people who have checkered pasts with the promise of personal reinvention or greater meaning in life. Lone actors may use political causes as a veneer of respectability to cover for personal rage or despair, she said.
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"You can have multiple, overlapping motivations," Bloom said.
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( @1 k% C1 a8 X( V. ~9 DPersonal or political?. o9 Z/ ^1 k: n7 X8 Z
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Some researchers think that even people who seem like straightforward terrorists — suicide bombers, for example — are driven by personal mental-health problems. In his book, "The Myth of Martyrdom: What Really Drives Suicide Bombers, Rampage Shooters and Other Self-Destructive Killers" (St. Martin's Press, 2013), University of Alabama criminal justice professor Adam Lankford argues that mental-health problems are common in suicide attackers. In a sample of 130 suicide terrorists, he found that 44 showed signs of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental-health issues; 104 had dealt with a crisis event before the attack; 12 had serious physical injuries or disabilities; and 66 had previously lost a loved one unexpectedly. [Mass Shootings: Why It's So Hard to Predict Who Will Snap]! e1 l7 `9 |8 y6 v( G3 K" z7 M. B

; ~" K* s# y; g8 D8 I9 g: S  vLankford's analysis goes against the mainstream view of suicide terrorists, which holds that most are psychologically normal, he said. The debate hints at the challenges of understanding motivations across time and culture, especially when a suicide attacker's family or fellow terrorists have a vested interest in making him or her seem sane and devoted to a righteous cause.; h7 w6 P( h. J) `  x* R% t
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Lone-wolf terrorists are less likely to be suicidal than public mass shooters in the U.S., Lankford told Live Science, but many lone wolves suffer from mental-health problems or personal crises that echo those seen in public mass shooters. A terrorist is defined as someone who uses violence in pursuit of political aims, whereas a public mass shooter is generally driven by more personal motivations.
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. U0 Q. w: x3 P# I2 f+ y! s) J( cHowever, these categories can blur and overlap, said Lankford. For example, the shooter who killed African-American congregants at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, ultimately was not charged with terrorism but rather a hate crime. That was a controversial decision, as many saw his desire to start a "race war" as a political motivation.
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/ V# W) I- b8 |It can also be difficult to tease out who is ideologically motivated. For example, the shooter who carried out an attack on Virginia Tech in 2007 referred to martyring himself "like Jesus Christ," but isn't usually seen as having religious motivations.
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+ |0 z6 l0 W! N6 ?"We just tend to dismiss such claims because we 'know' that Christianity isn't really the explanation for the [Virginia Tech] killer," Lankford wrote in an email to Live Science.
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A final complication is that terrorist organizations are constantly changing and adapting. When Israel's security forces started to catch male suicide bombers, Bloom said, terrorist groups started sending women strapped with explosives to checkpoints. In Nigeria, the Islamic militant group Boko Haram has even used children to carry out attacks. ISIS has, at various points, tried to recruit everyone from violent prisoners to do-gooders who feel the urge to help war orphans, Bloom said. The group also exhorts loners with no real connection to ISIS to commit attacks in its name.0 L) S* ~) J/ ?
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"The moment there is a profile, you know what they do? They switch it up, and they change the operative," Bloom said.
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* u: ~8 \4 r9 L7 O) ]& i+ H; nMass shooting intervention  `' o7 L, K$ ~2 ^- p

+ M/ `2 D' g! i1 \5 M% r; vWith no consistent profile to use as a guide, researchers and threat-assessment professionals are working to figure out who, among the unstable and rage-filled, might progress to violence. This is not an easy task.; M; Z' D1 V# C/ h* \- L
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"You can't measure the dogs that don't bite," Bloom said.
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Standard measures for violence risk in extremists often fall short. Scientists reporting in a paper published in March in the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management attempted to use a standard risk checklist called Identifying Vulnerable People to determine if that list could have predicted people who committed violence under a host of ideologies, including radical Islam, animal-rights activism, far-right ideology, militant Sikh ideology and the Irish Republican Army. School shooters were also used for comparison.1 N9 \% ^# }& S; {6 T" E& S2 ?7 D

  [4 G4 i# u7 \: Z0 KThe checklist turned out to be somewhat reliable in screening Irish Republicans and Islamic terrorists, the researchers found, but it didn't do well at detecting those who committed violence for animal rights, or nonideological school shooters. The screening tool was best used for screening conventional violent extremists, the researchers concluded. Even then, the predictive power is modest, given that violence is a relatively rare outcome.   
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Another method is to look for red flags in online missives. A study published online in January in the Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention found that automatic text analysis can detect linguistic patterns that predict self-harm or violence toward others. The researchers analyzed suicide notes and legacy videos from active shooters and compared them to writings by typical college students. Red flags from online rhetoric could provide justification for law-enforcement sting operations, Lankford said, though sting operations themselves can be controversial.
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5 M* V6 y' Z7 G' [Perhaps the best hope for stopping terrorists and active shooters before they kill is to recruit bystanders, Bloom said. By studying the cases of 119 lone-wolf terrorists, scientists found that in 82.4 percent of cases, people around the terrorist knew of his or her grievances prior to the plot; in 63.9 percent of the cases, the attacker actually told at least one other person that he or she planned to take violent action. In nearly a quarter (22.7 percent) of cases, the person issued a direct pre-attack warning, the scientists reported in 2013 in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.
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In almost 54 percent of cases, friends and family described the lone-wolf terrorist as angry. Of those, 62.5 percent noted that the person had been increasingly angry leading up to the attack.      " y4 R6 u+ \- [% @. ?# y/ ]# \

* \) {" x, V+ H/ YIn that sense, the Orlando shooter is very typical. Former co-workers and his ex-wife have described him as angry and violent. His father reported that the shooter had flown into a rage after seeing a gay couple kissing. He had been reported and investigated by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 because of talk about terrorism, but those investigations were closed. Though his wife apparently knew of his plans and even accompanied him to buy weaponry, authorities didn't know of the final planning phases of the attack. That's where bystanders could have mattered, Bloom said.6 D1 u- c3 j, o9 C; n

' r5 d  M+ P4 H# y; E! B& O"We need to get rid of the bystander effect," Bloom said. "We need to find a way that if someone says they are planning to do something, that there are safe mechanisms for the individual to report without themselves becoming a suspect or a person of interest. We need to come up with a way of separating the wheat from the chaff as far as people who are serious."
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