March 13, 2009

  • Why Do People Go On Shooting Sprees?

    In the aftermath of the shooting sprees at a church, and in Alabama, where the gunman killed at least 9 people, and himself, a friend asked why people do this.  It's actually very simple to understand.

    Ever been so stressed out, frustrated, angry, that you thought you might explode?  When all that stress builds up so that it overrides your ability to control your impulses, this is the most extreme result possible.

    Any one of us, given the right provocation or temptation, at the right moment of mental or emotional weakness, is capable of anything.

Comments (56)

  • I've gotten out of my car in rush hour traffic with a tee-ball bat to have a chat with the people in the car behind me once.

  • Um ... I might disagree. I don't think everyone is unstable enough. Plus, I think there are other motivators involved. Religion could be a deterrent (or an accelerant). Opportunity is another determinant. Personality, mental capacity ... there are way to many variables to say "any of us is capable of anything."

  • Ok, so my gut response to the title question was "For fun!" followed quickly by "target practice!". I have a shamefully dark and twisted sense of humor.

  • @ginsu417 - I once chased down a guy on a motorcycle who had flipped me off, challenged him  to fight, showed him the camper's axe I had, and told him I would cut his f@cking head off.  He was about a mile away in a few seconds!  Good times, good times!  lol

  • @icicle84 - I stand by my analysis.  Anyone is capable.  You hear about ministers, cops, a couple of Popes have committed murder.

  • @MakinzyKrysteen - I love the way you think, so much!

  • my mother and I were just talking about this last night. Given the right circumstances I believe I could kill... but I don't think I could kill innocent people...

  • Well, I am a decent human being and I don't take my shit out on other people.  That is why I can't and probably never will understand people like this.

  • Human kind is evil and sinful by nature, which is why we subscribe to institutions such as a religion ( or to God more specifically) to provide that moral restraint. There is much more to that, but that is it simply put. 

  • hahah for a second, I thought you wrote "why do people go on shopping sprees"

  • My mind tends to go through the "what if I did this?" kind of situations all the time.  What if I stabbed my friend with a knife during dinner?  What if I got up in the middle of lecture and started yelling?  What if I smacked that stranger's ass?

    The world is lucky that this world stays within my mind =)

  • @PaperLion99 - Well, that might apply, also.  And when the credit card statements come, that might make their husbands go on shooting sprees!  lol

  • I've felt such desperation, anger, and panic before that it seems like a good idea.  But I think that's kinda what separates the rational human beings from the crazy ones, thought versus action.

    The difference between a good parent and a bad one, for example, is only THINKING about throwing your baby against the wall sometimes, rather than actually doing it.  >.<

  • @PaytonFamily - Exactly right.  You can think whatever.  But when you lose that ability to not act on your impulses, that's when horrible things happen, or you turn criminal.

  • @lonelywanderer2 - Yeah, I'm sure pretty much everyone's had those THOUGHTS, anyone who's ever been in high school, or gone to the post office during lunch that is.  Lol.

  • @lonelywanderer2 - Lol hey now, I know some husbands who use their credit cards more than their wives!  They definitely use it for different things tho, Women usually use them to go on shopping sprees, & men buy "toys"... biiiiig toys.

    Note: I'm not referring to my husband in this comment, we don't use cards.

  • This is one of the reasons why I would never trust myself with a gun. 

  • @jupiter312 - I've actually done that too... Sometimes in really morbid and creepifying ways (like, one time I read something about this lady who killed her boyfriend in some strategic way, so I was thinking about how I would go about killing mine... It didn't last very long, cause I started crying at the thought of him being dead, but still!)

  • @PaytonFamily - They use their credit cards more than they use their wives?  That's terrible!  

  • I think that if I was unstable enough and lost the plot I probably would... watch out all the bitches who were mean to me at school :P

  • Either you control your attitude, or it controls you, and this what happened when attitude gone beyond control.

  • @Blonde_Baby_Blue_Eyes - @RestlessButterfly - Exactly right.  Makes you remember everybody that you ever thought wronged you, and makes you want to see them one last time.

  • i dont understand it. and it seems to havebeen happening a lot lately...

  • @makethemakersmile - All we can do is, if we have friends/loved ones that are troubled, try to get them help before it is too late.

  • @lonelywanderer2 - exactly I mean... One girl made my early highschool years hell for me and there was nothing more that I wanted than to shoot her in the head... terrible but true. I suppose its whether or not you'd feel sympathy for this person/persons family. All the greatest serial killers addmitted that they didnt feel guilt or sympathy... hmmm 

  • @Blonde_Baby_Blue_Eyes - I know.  One of my high school "enemies" died horribly in a cycle accident.  When I was told, I said "Good, I've had a bad weekend, I needed something to cheer me up".

  • i've considered going on a shooting spree before, but i think nope, there's far better ways to dispose of enemies.. i think getting to be friends with them then slowly poisoning them so you can watch them suffer is so much better, that's so much more my style

  • @shel - Um, Shel, I won't be able to make that dinner appointment, after all!

  • very true, we are all ying and yang. My mom is the sweetest lady I know, but put her in a car in peak traffic in Johannesburg, and she gets road rage so bad that I get scared of her...see, ying and yang my friend!

  • key words there being mental weakness,,,,  which is used as well as a defense in many a conflict with the law,,,,, "any reasonable person"

    if its not reasonable,,, it stands to reason,,, your nuts,,,, not to assume your nuts,,,,, unless you go into an area and do something nuts,,,, like shoot a few people,,,

    everybody may have felt like it ,,,,, feeling like it and losing reality are two different things,,,,

    i feel like doing a lot of things i wont do,,,, im a reasonable person,,,,,

    hahahahahaha,,, most of the time anyway....

  • @streep - My wife, the same.  Put under stress, look out!  

  • @mejicojohn - Yup, It's the "nice, quiet neighbor" you always hear about, after he kills half the neighborhood!  lol.

  • appearances can be decieving,,, altho,,, have you ever noticed the pics of the quiet neighbor usually appear to be someone who just broke out of arkham asylum for the criminally insane,,,  i never saw a pic of one id trust from the get go,,,,,,

  • @mejicojohn -  "He was really quiet.  Never said much.  But he was always watching, and had a strange smile on his face.  We didn't know where he'd been for the last few months."

  • you had 34 comments and 34 eprops. i am not upsetting that balance.
    because i am mentally capable.

    I think it's all an underlying means of population control.
    (which is why serial killers and war also exist. humans way of checking themselves)

    serial killers have souls like swiss cheese.
    they're missing pieces, they have no sense of right or wrong.
    they're fascinating people really.

  • @towersofcaesious - You're probably being somewhat facetious, but years ago (way before working Law Enforcement), I proposed to my father that serial killers were nature's way of keeping human population in check.  They look human, and have brains similar to humans, but are actually a natural predator of humans.

  • @lonelywanderer2 - oh, i was being entirely serious. Even about the serial killers souls being swiss cheese. That is often how sociopaths souls are described. :] i really do morbidly believe it's part of the balance. 

  • The shooters do it for the lulz!

  • @apriltwenty - Everybody's gotta have a hobby, I always say!

  • @lonelywanderer2 - haha exactly! Its not that we dont have the ability to show or have compassion... yet, you feel, in a sense, that the world or you would be happier without them. Children have a higher agression system than adults... It doesnt take them much to kick their sibling or squish those ants... so then, whos better off? The remorsless killer or the one without the ability to care?

  • Yep, that's why I try not to piss off people for no reason. Everyone is potentially a bomb ready to be set off, and you might be the trigger that sets them off.

    I would never physically hurt other people because of being stressed out though. Okay, maybe if I was really annoyed and some guy kept bothering me, then maybe I'll punch him in the face LOL. But not uh, to the extreme of killing people. I'd be the type who would suicide afterwards from the guilt hahaha. I mostly take out things on myself <____<; -sigh-

  • Of course we are.

  • @jupiter312 - What town do you live in? I need to stay away from there, otherwise I could be driving next to you on a bridge and be the victim of a "What if I rammed her into the wall and made her flip over the guardrail?" moment.

  • It's an interesting theory, but I don't think I could kill innocent people. As a matter of fact, I'm sure of it. 

  • I think that it is terrible that people resort to violence to make themselves "feel better". That is what therapy, meds, and clergy are for. Talking to a clergy or therapist can help a lot, and when that doesn't work, then doctors have meds to help. I have been super stressed out the past week, but what has helped me relieve stress has been exercise- especially weight lifting- it really helps. There are so many healthy options for relieving stress that there is no excuse for violence. Violence makes me sad, it is sad that the world is in the state that it is.

    Thanks for the post. Have a good weekend!

  • I don't agree at all.  Anyone can lose their temper, but few shooting sprees are unplanned.  It's no answer to say ministers, cops and Popes have committed murder, because that's the opposite statement.  Sure, a killer can be anyone, a minister, a cop, a teacher or a boy scout leader, but that doesn't mean everyone has it in them to be a killer.  I can cite hundreds of thousands of examples of people under severe stress and mental weakness who didn't go on shooting sprees.  They're all around you, every day.

  • wow. Everyone has such lovely tempers. Lol.

  • @ordinarybutloud - "I can cite hundreds of thousands of examples
    of people under severe stress and mental weakness who didn't go on
    shooting sprees.  They're all around you, every day."

    Very true.  That's why I said "When all that stress builds up so that it overrides your ability to
    control your impulses, this is the most extreme result possible."  When people do act out violently, it is often redirected against themselves, as a suicide. 

    "Anyone can lose their temper, but few shooting sprees are unplanned."  Also true.  The shooting spree results when the stress, frustration and rage are suppressed, and the person seethes quietly for a long time, planning how those who are perceived to be at fault will pay.  The planning is a way of regaining the control he feels has been taken away from him.  The planner tells himself "They only still live because I let them.  If the person feels wronged by Society in general, anyone will do as the object of wrath.  More often, it is directed at people known to the shooter.

  • I think everyone is capable of a heinous crime. Given the wrong circumstances ang frustration level.

  • @seedsower - May I ask you to come up with an original PLUGZ pic?  I offer, once again, a guest post,  if you want one!!

  • I will be glad to do that for you,how about something like THIS?

  • @seedsower - My god; that is awesome!  It touched me at first sight.  It captures my vision of myself perfectly.  I hope the people who have you in their life IRL know how lucky they are, and that you know your own worth!  It sounds hollow sometimes online, but I do love you, and consider you a friend.

  • Here's the thing... I'm an immigrant in this country and considering the fact that us immigrants, even when doing what where supposed to do, which is going to school, working, paying taxes, raising a family, it seems like it's not enough for most part of the Anglo-saxon community.

    We get that look every time we go to the store, we hear that small comment from people saying "go back," teachers not wanting to help you or just simply ignoring you. you guys should read the newly posted "no right to remain silent" book by a teacher at the Virginia massacre explaining how the student who went on a killing spree recurred to psychological help PLENTY of times and the documents disappeared all of the times; if the names in the documents wouldve been John Smith, or Kimber Johnson, I bet they wouldve done something about this.
    People dont realize how much it hurts to leave your country and everything else behind and to come and work you ass off here, for the so called "American Dream" which is another big scam like everything else they try selling you here in this country.

    People only look at the aftermath, not at all the little things that ocurred to build this monster. The fake people at school that only wear hollister and abercrombie & fitch dont even have to talk to you to make you feel bad, why? because the entire community has set a stereo type that if you look like this, you're this, if you look like that, then you're... THAT!

    Well latin america, except Mexico, we're all Latinos... wheter you're black, white, blonde, brown, yellow, purple... WHATEVER... you're just a Latino... here in the states, everyone is so prejudice nowadays and always have been, that even if you wear a certain brand you're a "gangsta", or your "preppy" or "elmo" or "cholo"? c'mon people.... its 2009....its been two thousand and nine years since are master Jesus came to Earth, and we still are doing the same thing we were doing and even worse, before Jesus came to Earth.

    I dont fight the fact that you go and kill people, but the situation in this country makes it THAT way. People in this country dont kill because they're hungry, because there's terrorist invading your house, because of pirates, because of poverty. People kill because of the pressure that this capitalist system puts on you, if you fall behind you're a nobody, if you're on top then you're the king of the world, so where's my chance as a human being? Either I adapt to this system or else? Why our so called democracy works on electoral votes? by the people for the people? I'd like to say, by the masses for the masses. Look at our high schools, you can't even get to know you're on teacher, not only because there's 60 students in your classroom, but because you get 45 minutes and THAT'S IT! you dont get to talk to no one, and its bad to talk about your personal issues lately.

    When I took Human Development in high school there were times we had to speak about our own experiences, and like all anglos their experiences and everything else in their lifes are "nice", everything is "goooood" everything is so COOOL!, everything is perfect and everything is excuse me and "im sorry" Well that's not the way life goes, like Jesus said,(in another words) treat your brothers like you'd treat yourself. Then why when someone has real issues, people dont seem to worry about it, but HATE IT! see, now a days its BAD to have problems, and even worse if you share them.
    When I tried talking about what was going on in my house, the entire classroom laughed, people said "Oh My GOOOOODDD!!!" like Anglos usual response is, and I'll never forget a girl named Abby, that told me, "WOAH DUDE! you're a freak!"
    Why? because I speak my heart out? because I'm seeking for help? and then and there I learned that you can't share you're personal life with Anglos, because, 1st they dont care, and 2nd they DONT CARE! Good thing though, I never killed anyone, but up to the date, I regret not saying anything, and feel bad that the teacher didn't say a word to the students but actually stepped on their side!! only one girl put her hand on my shoulder, why? because she was puerto rican.... she knows what people go through when they come here. And sorry to say this, but I believe most Anglo's dont have a heart, as a matter of fact, the only anglo I know with a REAL heart is father Karl in Church Virgen de Guadalupe on 24th street here in Omaha, Nebraska. He actually helped the pro-undocumente immigration rallies and marches.

    This country has became so independent that we dont even know our neighbors anymore, unlike minority countries, people would go and knock on your door and ask you for some sugar if they didn't have any, or couple tomatoes, or salt, or whatever it was, and people dont look at you wrong, its in our morals to help our community. So what I'm trying to say here is, most of Anglos dont have morals no more, people in this country don't have standards of living, if you ran out of sugar, go buy some, if you ran out of tomatoes, SORRY SPORT! go buy some! and that's why people go and just shoot anyone who stands in their way. Why? because this capitalist system makes everyone look like a robot, makes God a question, and makes you feel so, so little and unimportant. Like the 18 year old boy who went into Von Maur in Omaha, Nebraska last December and did the same thing, now notice he was anglo, but look at his problems though. Well, read his suicide letters. The phrase "i'll be fucking famous" is stuck in my mind, because, especially THIS country make famous people special, and everyone else just a robot. He just wanted a chance of that material comfortness that seems SOOOO important in this country. If you drive a 89 Honda Civic you're a nobody, but if you're driving a H3 Hummer with 24" rims then you're someone to look up to. Why is that? that's the question people should be asking, not the reason why people kill. Why is it that materialism is so much more important in this country than people's personal issues? How come our society works so hard to improve new material things instead of improving new state of minds? Why do this society figure a way to be much more efficient, so if you're not that, then you dont fit in this system? Why is it that after Obama is our president, Old Navy's theme is black people that look like Obama, his wife and the kids? more cartoons are coming out with colored kids and parents in it? why now? because that's where the money is huh? this is where im going to, the media and this society dont care about the human's well being, but just their money!

    Well this is obviously becoming way too off hand for what it was, I hope to hear back from anyone who has to say anything about this. Any issues about it will be adressed with facts.


    Leonardo Brito

  • @leobrito09 - You have much to say, and make very many good points.  We have gotten too large and impersonal, and concerned with things more than people alot of the time.  For me, race or Nationality matters not a bit, except as interesting conversation.  I am glad to meet you, and hope to get to know you better.

  • @lonelywanderer2 - Wanderer,

    I'm impressed by your response, and I'd like to say something i didn't mention. I wasn't trying to specify on the anglo-saxon community as white people, I believe african-americans as we call them, have many many things in common with white people.

    You do have a great point which is race or nationality matters not a bit, and I did talk against myself in there by specifying groups, but we have separated ourselves into groups.

    I am also glad to meet you, and as soon as my book is published you'll get a copy for free.

    I also want to say that the US has given me opportunities that I've probably never ever would've encountered in Venezuela, especially with the president we have, or just anywhere else in this world. It has given me a home in Omaha and a few true friends, several experiences that rounded my personality up, today.

    People as opend minded as you make the world go around.

    Thanks for letting me post here

    Ill add you as a friend, and by the way you'll be my first one here.

  • @leobrito09 - I am glad to be your first Xanga friend.  Everyone, myself included, is leery of the person with no history.  But I try to remember, I had a first Xanga friend too.  You will find more good than bad here.  Welcome, my friend.

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