Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Death and Killing
A couple of things caught my eye this morning. One is that the Dallas Morning News has reversed its position on the death penalty. That seems significant, in the state that executes more than any other. Also, back to the VA Tech killins, the Washington Post has a piece on the "psychology of mass murder:"
They're not looking for highs -- they're depressed, angry and humiliated. They tend to be rejected in some romantic relationship, or are sexually incompetent, are paranoid, and their resentment builds. They develop shooting fantasies for months or years, stockpiling dreams and ammunition. The event that finally sets them off, Welner says, is usually anticlimactic -- an argument, a small personal loss that magnifies a sense of catastrophic failure.

"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."

They plan everything about the killings, he says, except how to get away.

"It's about suicide," Welner says. "It's about tying one's masculinity to destruction."

It's also rare for them to be truly psychotic, he says. Psychotics hear voices and people from outer space and talking dogs. These are shooters like Russell Weston Jr., who ran into the Capitol building and killed two police officers. He believed he was being told to do so by alien radio transmissions.

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