PSYCHOLOGY 101: the mind of a shooter

Understanding how a gunman thinks could help law enforcement prevent another shooting tragedy


     "They're "loners", not only in the outside world but in a family setting as well," Lenhardt says.

     Similarities among the shooters included:

  • Exaggerated need for attention and respect
  • Rejection and isolation by peers
  • Feelings of alienation, bullying and persecutionAntisocial tendencies
  • Poor coping skills
  • Anger management issues
  • Relationship and discipline issues
  • History of making violent threats
  • Depression
  • Attempted suicide
  • Access to parents' weapons

     Lenhardt's research indicated at least 1,000 students were enrolled in the schools the shooters attended, most of which had an insufficient counselor-to-student ratio.

     Lenhardt recommends implementing counseling and prevention programs in schools, starting in kindergarten. This will allow for intervention, conflict resolution and anger management strategies to positively influence children at an early level.

     A penchant for violence often manifests in adolescence due to years of ignored social and psychological issues. But early intervention for children at high risk for violent behavior could prevent the youths of today from turning into the cold-blooded killers of tomorrow.

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