Female mass murderers can be as deadly as men, but they don't show up at movie theaters wearing camoflauge and seeking revenge. Read More
As a rule of thumb, there are many more crazy men out there than women, but when a woman is crazy, she is crazier than any man.
It does seem that the more impulsive mass murderers are female, and the mass murderers who delay the event in order to carefully plan it beforehand are male. Interesting sexual phenotype expression /behavior, possibly.
I personally think that the "commando killers" have also had a break with reality and also have a long-term but probably mild form of schizophrenia (or autism); the difference is that their "snap" or break with reality just preceded the actual mass murder event by a longer time span.
Could have something to do with impulse control; the "commando's" break with reality occurs at a earlier point in the process: it precipitates the planning stage; its their point of departure.
I think the "commando" type really, really enjoys the planning stage, it gives him a rush: the glee of anticipation. Note that a week before the event, James Holmes sent his notebook filled with drawings and details of how he would pull off his power/revenge fantasy to a psychiatrist at the campus he was attending; Holmes self-identifies with "The Joker", a comic-book super villain, and that's exactly how a comic-book super villain behaves. The comic-book super villain is the penultimate narcissist/psychopath who invariably shares his plans with his nemesis the super-hero, beforehand. Its part of the ego-boosting (male-ego boosting?) fantasy revenge to revel and preen in their own genius and brag about how they will successfully pull off a spectacular, bloody incident and that nobody can stop them, even though he is taunting his enemies with the knowledge of it ahead of time.
My own theory is that these types of mass murder or serial killer incidents occur when there is a *combination* of a personality disorder (most likely narcissistic pd or psychopathy) PLUS a psychotic disorder (most likely schizophrenia or autism.) I think that's why things like this don't happen every week, it takes that particular *combination* of disorders and a precipitating ego-wounding event to set them off.
And low supervision of these marginally functional individuals is a factor as well; these are individuals who are just skimming along the surface of "normal enough", and can easily be tipped over into a psychotic break.
It brings up the issue of the marginally functional individuals in our societyl needing to be given more supervision in perhaps a group residential setting and not being allowed to wander around without a care-giver present to monitor their behaviors and see if the mentally ill person is deteriorating or remaining stable.
Just my two cent's worth.
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Joni E. Johnston, Psy.D, is the author of Complete Idiot's Guide to Psychology.
When and how should we open up to loved ones?