Dr. Patricia Farrell on Medika Life

Mass Murder Fired Up by Personal Loss or Something Else?

Mass shootings and murders in the US have led to research, new groups, and media outcries, but people are still being killed, and we still ask, "Why?"

Mass murder, defined as killing four or more people in a single incident, has perplexed scientists and the public for decades. There is no one theory about what drives mass murder because the reasons and situations are so diverse. But it is known that mental instability, a history of violence, and access to guns all play a role in a person’s decision to kill many people.

Many people point to mental illness as the cause of mass murder. According to research, sixty percent of mass shooters had a diagnosed mental condition, with depression and personality disorders being the most common. While it’s true that some people with mental illness are violent, the vast majority are not, and only a tiny fraction of mass killers have diagnoses of severe mental diseases like schizophrenia.

The perpetrator’s history of violence is another aspect suspected in mass murders. One study found that almost two-thirds of mass shooters had a history of violence, either in the form of past crimes or domestic abuse. According to these findings, a history of violence may be a major risk factor for mass murder. Bullying and abuse have also been noted in studies. What about guns?

The availability of firearms has also been linked to violence. A study found that mass shootings happen more often in the United States than in other industrialized countries because guns are so easy to get. I recall one professor telling us that if there’s a gun in the home, chances are it will be used against someone. But mass murders have other commingling factors contributing to their violence.

Mass murder is a tragically complicated phenomenon for which no simple answer exists. As noted, studies have found that some things, like mental illness, a history of violence, and access to guns, may make someone want to kill a lot of people. Even though these things may make mass murder more likely, they may not cause it.

More research is needed to figure out what causes mass murder and come up with effective ways to stop it. Gun availability is only one factor of many in this tragic equation.

Tragically, mass shootings have long been a problem in our society. It’s sad to see innocent people die in these senseless acts of violence, and it’s important to find out why these horrible things happen. Although the exact reason why some people turn into mass murderers and shooters is unknown, research points to a number of intricate and interconnected factors that may be at play.

Mental illness, as previously mentioned, is one element that has been linked to numerous mass shootings. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that most people with mental illness don’t act violently. It’s critical to understand that most violent crimes, such as mass shootings, are committed by people who haven’t been diagnosed with a mental illness.

But a history of mental illness, especially if it is not treated, might make it more likely that someone will act violently. There is a higher likelihood of aggressive behavior in people with some mental diseases, such as schizophrenia.

history of trauma or abuse is another element that has been linked to mass shootings. Losing a loved one, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences, are common among mass shooters. The gunman may occasionally seek retribution against people who they feel have mistreated them.

Social and cultural factors influence mass shootings. According to studies, societies with a high level of inequality and a culture of violence have a higher risk of mass shootings. That guns are everywhere in society is another factor that has been pointed out as a cause.

Gun violence, especially mass shootings, happens more often in places where more people own guns. Another factor may be the way the media reports on mass shootings since they often make the gunman and the act of violence seem like big news could also cause a “contagion” effect, in which potential shooters are influenced by what has happened before. How many “shooters” have a manifesto that they want to be published or read on TV?

Mass shootings also heavily depend on the shooter’s psyche. Research has found that many mass shooters have similar psychological traits, such as a need for attention, a sense of entitlement, and a lack of empathy for others. These people may also feel helpless or disenfranchised, which motivates them to use violence to gain control.

Some specialists have identified the “copycat effect” as a phenomenon. This means that people tend to act like the people they think are successful or powerful. In the case of mass shootings, this can look like people trying to act like previous shooters to get attention or feel powerful and in charge.

The more shootings that take place, the more the stress level will rise, but we must keep one thing in mind; more guns don’t equal safety.

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Pat Farrell PhD
Pat Farrell PhDhttps://medium.com/@drpatfarrell
I'm a licensed psychologist in NJ/FL and have been in the field for over 30 years serving in most areas of mental health, psychiatry research, consulting, teaching (post-grad), private practice, consultant to WebMD and writing self-help books. Currently, I am concentrating on writing articles and books.


Medika Editor: Mental Health

I'm a licensed psychologist in NJ/FL and have been in the field for over 30 years serving in most areas of mental health, psychiatry research, consulting, teaching (post-grad), private practice, consultant to WebMD and writing self-help books. Currently, I am concentrating on writing articles and books.

Patricia also acts in an editorial capacity for Medika's mental health articles, providing invaluable input on a wide range of mental health issues.

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