Mass murder of young children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut
Columbine. Charles Carl Roberts and the Amish school killings. SSG Bales and the Afghan village. The Arizona congresswoman. The nanny. Virgina Tech. Aurora movie theater. The Stuy grad. There are other shocking, relatively recent murders that I'm not remembering right now. I've read that typical-crime rates are going down, but mass murders are on the rise.
Add to them an elementary school in peaceful Newtown, Connecticut. The New York Times reports that the Children Were All Shot Multiple Times With a Semiautomatic, Officials Say. The incident's wiki page.
First graders, 6 and 7-year-old children, surprised then shot multiple times. The killer presumably kept shooting into the increasingly mangled bodies after the children were dead. Six school staff, all women, including the principal, school psychologist, and teachers, killed. He also killed his mom. Reports say the principal and psychologist ran to the sound of guns and the teachers died trying to shield their students.
Apparently, the murderer had no current personal relationship with the elementary school but reports say he attended the school as a child. Some reports say his mom continued to volunteer there. People, classmates and instructors, who knew him in high school say he was socially awkward with odd behaviors, though there were no violent indications, no criminal record. While he kept apart from others in school, he was not devoid of friendly social interaction. He played sports and was part of the technology club. There's no mention that he was attending college, despite that he was 20 years old and reportedly very smart. Add: He reportedly had congenital analgesia (inability to feel pain) and Asperger's Syndrome. A possible beginning of an explanation are reports that in the weeks or months leading up to the killings, he was self-hurting, his mom talked about 'losing him', he was jealous of his mom volunteering at the elementary school and the children his mom helped, and he was upset his mom had begun the involuntary commitment legal process. The murderer was 20, an age when many young men seriously take account of their lives, reflect, introspect, and envision the long term of their lives for the first time. Did he reach a conclusion that informed his final decision?
Neo-neocon comments on and recommends a sociologist's commentary, written in September before the Newtown massacre, on "rampage killers". A psychologist's theory that resonates.
There seems to be a growing trend of shocking multiple or mass murders that are random, unpredictable, and involve murderers who offer no warnings in the traditional sense of a personal conflict, criminal record, or a stated cause. They're not crimes of passion. They're not serial murderers who plan for secrecy. They killed for the sake of killing. They plan to cause death on a grand scale. They often have a trail of mental illness, but not always a psychological record that is predictive of their final acts.
By the time law enforcement can react, the killing is done. Like many, but not all of them, the killer in Newtown concluded his murder spree by committing suicide. The nanny also tried to kill herself.
I asked about the nanny killings, why? Now again, why? It doesn't make sense.
It's like they're possessed or rabid. Were I religious, I would say they were possessed by the Devil. I'm not religious, so I'll just call them psychotic, even evil. But that's not an explanation.
I initially wanted to call the Newtown murders terroristic, and terrorism has much in common with these sensational killings, but there normally is a cause behind terrorist acts and a strategic purpose, however twisted. These murders seem to have no sense to them at all. Just crazed killing.
A smart seemingly unremarkable, if odd and awkward, perhaps alienated kid commits mass murder-suicide of children who were strangers to him for no apparent reason. There's something very very sick here. Very wrong.
What am I going to do about it? What should I do? What can I do when I can't even answer why?