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Author(s) Auxéméry, Yann
Year 2011
Title Le meurtrier de masse
Published in Annales médico-psychologiques, Vol. 169, No. 4
Pages 237–247
DOI 10.1016/j.amp.2010.04.020
Abstract Multicide and other mass killing are sufficiently dramatic to excite great interest from clinicians, criminologists and behavioural scientists. A review of avaible literature on the topic is presented and analysed, in order to define mass murder and to learn about sociodemography and psychopathology of mass killers. Mass homicide is typically defined as the intentional killing of multiple individuals, injuring five or more persons, of whom three or more are killed, during the course of one criminal event. The functional difference between mass and serial homicide is quite obvious, particularly in setting, time, victim status and modus operandi. Classification of these acts requires a number of parameters. Mass murderers usually involve disgruntled employees, annihilation of families, and recently school shootings. Although they are rarely psychotic, mass murderers have serious deficiencies in long-term emotional relationships. They have no obvious personality type but tended to be egocentric, rigid and obsessional. They are few individuals with signifiant histories of criminal offending or violence. For example, school shooting perpetrators are more than twice as likely as their victims to have been bullied by their peers. They are described as loners and poorly integrated into school activities. The formulation of a plan for a massacre might be fostered through identification with a role model offered through films, television, Internet, or other media. Suicides, homicide-suicides, murder-suicides and suicide pacts tend to co-occur in the context of mass murders. The biological, psychological, and social determinants of auto- and heteroagressivity remain to be similar. Furthermore suicide-related reporting, especially of nonfictional individual suicides, triggers additional suicides: So-called imitative effects. Similarly copycat crimes were reported to follow violent episodes that receive wide coverage in the media. Suicides and mass-murders are likely to be imitated. But media discourse supports preventive efforts when it educates the public about the treatment of mental ill and suicidality. The prevention of copycat suicides and mass murders rests on the adoption of precise guidelines for the reporting of these episodes.
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