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Author(s) Langman, Peter
Year 2009
Title Rampage school shooters: A typology
Published in Aggression and Violent Behavior, Vol. 14, No. 1
Pages 79–86
DOI 10.1016/j.avb.2008.10.003
Link [1]
Abstract A number of researchers have sought to identify the features that school shooters have in common in terms of family life, personalities, histories, and behaviors. This article examines the cases of 10 rampage school-shooters in an effort to find out not only how they are alike, but also how they differ. Based on available information, these youths are categorized into three types: traumatized, psychotic, and psychopathic. Out of the 10 shooters discussed, three were traumatized, five were psychotic, and two were psychopathic. The three traumatized shooters all came from broken homes with parental substance abuse and parental criminal behavior. They all were physically abused and two were sexually abused outside of the home. The five psychotic shooters had schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, including schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder. They all came from intact families with no history of abuse. The two psychopathic shooters were neither abused nor psychotic. They demonstrated narcissism, a lack of empathy, a lack of conscience, and sadistic behavior. Most people who are traumatized, psychotic, and psychopathic do not commit murder. Beyond identifying the three types of rampage shooters, additional factors are explored that may have contributed to the attacks. These include family structure, role models, and peer influence.
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