What happens in the mind of a mass killer?

What happens in the mind of a mass killer?

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by Pat Dooris, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 6:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 12 at 12:57 PM

TROUTDALE, Ore. -- What happens inside the mind of a teenager that allows him to go on a murderous rampage at his high school?

It’s a question many are asking after the shooting Tuesday at Reynolds High School in Troutdale.

Forensic Psychologist Frank Colistro, who is not involved in the case, believes he knows.

“In general, they tend to be insecure, inadequate adolescents who are what we call 'resentment hoarders,'” Colistro said.

That means they pay attention to every little slight in life.

“These guys are making a list and checking it twice. They remember every tiny little slight, everything that was ever said to them or done to them. So its accumulating and it hits this critical mass at some point and sets this violent trajectory in motion,” said Colistro.

Because of that, the victim is often not connected to the shooter and often is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Colistro said we should also worry about copycats.

“It’s a significant danger,” he said. “Think about this as a violent trajectory.”

Colistro said shooters often begin with daydreaming, move to planning, then begin acquiring weapons, practicing and then acting.

He compares it to a staircase. The top brings explosive action.

“So right now, there are countless kids on that staircase at various levels. And there are a few on the top step and they’re gonna see this and they’re gonna go, time to act,” Colistro said.

Below: KGW Reporter Pat Dooris shares the discussions in the KGW newsroom about the media role in such stories, including the challenge of fully reportong on the shooter without glorifying his actions. What do you think? Join the conversation on the KGW Facebook Page.  

 

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