We all probably wonder how someone could do such a thing as was done in Las Vegas Sunday night. Most of us probably think the killer was big time mentally messed up and crazy. That might be wrong.
Most mass killers haven’t lost touch with reality. In fact, they know exactly what they are doing. They spend considerable time and effort planning what they want to do. They might spend months or even years preparing for the big event when they are going wreak revenge on the rest of humanity for the way they have been treated. They are detail oriented. They probably will case out the setting in which they will execute their carefully laid out plan so they can trap and kill as many as possible. They dream of an enclosure from which their victims cannot escape.
So a music festival surrounded by four high walls will seem to be a good venue, or a crowded nightclub with low lighting in which they can creep around without being detected by victims in an alcoholic stupor. Above all, they want unarmed victims. They won’t knowingly invade a cop bar or the Hell’s Angel’s clubhouse or the Tanner Gun Show or the NRA Annual Meeting.
They’re psychopaths, but they are not psychotic.
The psychotic may mix reality with imagined sights and sounds. The psychopath sees what is front of him just as it is. He may have dreamed about it for a long time but he won’t impose the details of the dream on the real environment. Instead, he will seek out an environment that best fits his dream scenario. This makes a psychopathic mass killer much more dangerous and deadly than mere psychotics who are likely to give themselves away before they have a chance to do anything like commit a mass murder. Contrary to popular belief, most psychotics are more of a nuisance than they are dangerous.
When a psychopath strikes and kills masses of people it is common for people who knew him to say they never saw it coming. Stephen Paddock’s brother claims to be dumbfounded at what his brother did. He’s probably being truthful.
Narcissism is the dominant personality trait among psychopaths, but most narcissists don’t commit mass murder. We all know people whom we suspect of having narcissistic personalty disorder to some degree. They believe themselves to be superior to others. They expect others to acknowledge their superiority and become angry at those who refuse.
A woman I know to be drowning in her own narcissism once said to me, “I wish I could kill you!” I had committed the sin of not properly celebrating the pageantry of her life.
I have no fear that my life is in any danger. In fact, I remain fairly close to this woman. I still like her, I m a true friend. I know her faults but I love her in spite of that. Her narcissism makes her a nuisance sometimes, but never a real danger. She’s never going to take a gun or a knife to me because she’s way too intelligent and aware of the consequences to herself that would fall out of that. The fact that I can know all of this about her is precisely because she is not a psychopath planning mass murder. If she were, she would have long ago been cleverly hiding anything that might have given her away. Of course, most psychopath mass murderers are male, so that’s another factor. But women do commit murder, and most conform to the same script by not telegraphing their intentions.
Well, that’s a fine picture you’ve painted there, Mr. TeeJaw. How are we supposed to stop these bastards if what you say is true? Well, the one thing they might slip up and give away is how angry they are at the world. They will probably let their emotions give way to their senses and loudly complain about something that happens to all of us and which we normals take in stride. The psychopath doesn’t take much of anything in stride. They are narcissists, they don’t suffer perceived insults gladly. They take offense easily. They usually but not always have a hot temper. That describes a lot of people who are not psychopaths so as to make it less useful for prediction, but unfortunately it’s about all we’ve got.
Hardening the target is something that can be done. Making sure that wherever a lot of people gather at one place there are ample exits. Psychopathic killers are looking for corralled groups of people. That’s what makes schools vulnerable. Hospitals, retirement homes, churches, etc.
Here’s a big thing that can be done but probably won’t be. Eliminate all so-called gun-free zones. Increase the requirements for concealed carry permits if necessary, but make it so someone who has passed a background check and whatever other anal inspection you want to impose to obtain a CCW permit able to carry their gun anywhere police officers are allowed to carry. If you remember anything, remember this: Psychopaths are looking for unarmed victims.
Actually, gun free zones sort of work for me. They give me a powerful excuse for why I don’t want to go to cocktail parties or social events. I can’t take my gun. Mrs. TeeJaw is on to me so it doesn’t work all the time. I go, sans gun. Don’t tell any psychopaths you might know.