In the November 9-10, 2013 Wall Street Journal article, “What Mass Killers Want” by Ari N. Schulman, the author presents the personality profile of mass shooters and from the evidence compiled by the research states that their murderous acts are a kind of theater. “Fantasy, public expression and messaging are central to what motivates and defines massacre killers … Like terrorists, mass shooters can be seen, in a limited sense, as rational actors who know that if they follow the right steps they will produce the desired effect in the public consciousness…the perpetrators…are following a ready-made, free floating template for young men to resolve their rage and express their sense of personal grandiosity.”
He correctly concludes that “treating mass killings as a kind of epidemic or contagion largely frees us from having to understand the particular causes of each act. Instead we can focus on disrupting the spread.”
As a way to discourage future mass shootings, Schulman proposes that the killer must be deprived of an audience. He goes on to propose specific recommendations such as never publishing a shooters propaganda, hiding their faces and names and so on. What he is proposing is to deprive the energy behind the shooters motivation to carry out his destructive act.
Schulman’s “treatment” for the problem of mass shootings is correct because it is based on an accurate understanding of the dynamic forces operating in the minds of these killers.
His approach is an application of the medical-psychiatric model to social “diseases.”
In order to treat a disease an accurate understanding of it’s origin is necessary. Human destructiveness in the social realm of which mass shootings is one example, is a manifestation of people’s emotional sickness. It is the result of an actual bio-social disease called the emotional plague, the treatment of which I discuss in my book, The Emotional Plague, The Root of Human Evil,