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What Motivates People to Commit Random Murders?

15 December 2012, 18:52
The tradegy at the Newtown school in Connecticut made me wonder why people are so easily driven to extreme violence. In the case of the shooter in Connecticut the reasons seem to have been to somehow 'get' to his mother by killing some of the small children in her class and a craving for notoriety.

"In this case, it seems that the young, innocent victims were proxies — they stood in for the mother. The gunman likely moved to kill the mother and then kill everything she loved, everything associated with her, everything she cared for,” said Jack Levin, professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University.He compared it to family annihilation scenarios, when someone kills a estranged spouse and extends the killing to the entire family.(From The National Post )

Elliott Leyton, Memorial University professor emeritus who studies serial homicide and author of the landmark book Hunting Humans: “To kill his mother he had to kill the school.”
The motivation in most of these cases then seems to be a personal connection to the targeted society or school. 

In the far greater massacres committed during the Crusades and at the 9/11 WTC tragedy, (to name a few) the motivation was patently obvious: to cause maximum mayhem and suffering among the hated populace that did not subscribe to the perpetrators' particular brand of religion. In my view this is a far more dangerous motivation.

As a child I was taught to sing 'Onward Christian Soldiers' with various exhortations to 'go to war'. I could never understand why I should go to war, and who I should kill in the process. It seems that many Christians are too willing to take this song to the ultimate conclusion. 

Recently I have been shocked by the hateful and militant reaction of members of my family when it became clear on FB that I no longer subscribed to their beliefs. One very militant fellow actually asked his 'brothers and sisters in Christ' to boycott me. I'm sure that judging by the fire and brimstone flowing from his pen, that, had I been within shooting distance, I would have suffered the same fate as those poor children in Connecticut.

My heart goes out to the families of the victims of this senseless act of violence.
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