Obviously I do not need to explain the impetus for the creation of this thread. In fact, I honestly think this may be my own minds way of seeking to
cope with my own feelings about the spate of spree shootings over the past few months.
In discussing these events, on more than one occasions, when the subject of the shooters being masked was tabled, I would rattle off a basic statement
that the masks served as insulation devices, a means of separating the shooters personal identity with their act. This, I believe, is exactly how
behavioralists also see the reasons for wearing a mask - personal dissociation from the act.
Further, I've suggested that media, and prior crimes, tend to have created an environment where these troubled people feel that wearing a mask is the
appropriate, or correct measure to take. They learn, essentially, from example - something that can only be learned from news stories and fictional
A few minutes ago, however, this thought evolved, within my mind, and created a very troubling realization within me.
The wearing of a mask seems to imply that these shooters are morally aware of the actions they plan, undertake, and commit. They are, effectively,
cogent and able to understand the implications of their actions. The mask is, I think, a way of mitigating or creating separation from the guilt of
what they are planning to do, or doing.
As I write these words, 20 children and 6 adults died today at the hands of a masked spree killer named
Just three days earlier, Jacob Tyler Roberts
took three lives, including his own, and critically injured another girl - while hiding behind what is being described as a hockey mask.
In September a masked Richard Henry Bain
m walked into the Métropolis, in Montreal,
Canada, and opened fire - killing one and injuring another, before being wrestled to the ground and apprehended.
Less than five months ago, James Eagan Holmes
, clad in a mask, opened fire on a crowded
movie premiere and left 12 dead and 58 wounded in his wake.
This seems to be as far as the Google trail wants to lead me, currently, down the path of "masked spree shooters". It would not surprise me if there
are more that I am missing. I am, very admittedly, frazzled and not at 100% today.
It is easy for us to point a ready finger towards films like Friday the 13th,
Silence of the Lambs
, the newer film Savages
with any other number of movies, television characters, comic book influences, music videos, and even the spread of the notion of the hacktivist Group
"Anonymous" - as possible influences for this apparently new twist on the spree shooting concept. The mask.
Returning to my previous thought... using the mask as a device to separate the act from the person. An obvious sign of the recognition of guilt
in my eyes. Mass murderers, serial killers, and even most spree killers are seen as sociopaths, incapable ( at least at the time of their planning and
executing these events ) as being clinically insane and incapable of guilt.
I offer that this recent spate of masked attacks might well mitigate the veracity of that profile and that assumption. I submit that these shooters
seem to me, at least, to be aware of their actions, the consequences of those actions, and of the fact that they are morally reprehensible and
Could we be witnessing the birth of a new class of killer here? Something not unlike the "kill for thrill" fame seeking characters in the film
Natural Born Killers
Some will offer a purely mental health based retort to my thoughts here. And they may well be right. Having said that, while I am not a professional
in any psychiatric discipline, I am well versed in the subject matter, and have a great deal of experience in dealing with those with a variety of
mental and emotional problems. In my experience, the rapidity with which these young, masked killers go from being well socialized, to their act seems
to contradict customarily accepted models for most psychiatric illnesses. Illnesses that tend to be progressive in nature and not nearly as potent and
To me this phenomenon is, to mental health issues, what ebola is to the common cold.
As I know that there are quite a few mental health professionals, and LEO's who have real world experience and training in these subjects, I table
this thread in the hope that we might shine some light on this issue, find some answers, and maybe enable people to have a list of warning signs to
watch for or be aware of.
Tragedies are never positive things, but we can seek to learn from them as a means of preventing future events of the same nature. It is in that
spirit that I post this thread.