Spree shooting is the act of committing an assault with a murderous intention to two or more people within a short while in more than one location. The people committing these acts are known as spree killers. According to the United States of Justice Statistics, Spree killing is defined as murders that happening between two or more places with almost no time difference between them. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also has a similar definition that describes spree killing as murders committed by an offender or offenders in different locations without a resting time between them. This is the difference between serial murders and spree killings. In serial murders there is a cooling off time and might be done over a long period of time.
Though there is no definite cause or causes that are known to lead to spree shootings, there are a number of reasons or causes that can be pointed at as to why people go into a rampage and just start shooting people who have not particularly done anything to them.
Reasons and Causes
Bullying, rape, murders, gang violence amongst others, have been named as some of the reasons that might have increased the shooting sprees that are hitting the headlines today. In March 2005 in Minnesota, there was a reporting of a seventeen year old boy who killed nine people before killing himself. Witnesses said that he was usually bullied at school. In other incident, a girl killed herself after being teased that she may have been involved in a rape incident. Some other three shootings were also connected to her. In other incidences rape victims have gone into a rampage and started spree killing as they have felt like the society was not there for them when this act was committed to them. Some feel that everyone is responsible for everything they have gone through.
According to Professor Thomas J. Scheff of the University of California Santa Barbara, spree killings might be caused by a mixture of emotions revolving around the recursive loops of anger an shame. Loops of shame that are self generated are frequently felt by those who blush. This blushing brings embarrassment which in return brings more blushing. This back and forth action is said to sometimes bring paralysis. Persisting emotions have been a mystery to researchers for emotions are active for only short signals however, emotion loops can go on for a long period of time whether they be of shame anger or embarrassment. These are said to cause so much force that they can drive one to do things that unbelievable. This might be one of the reasons that make spree killers to do such actions.
In the time I have been alive, I have heard especially in the news and even reading the newspapers, of people do unbelievable things that make one wonder whether they are still sane. In 2007, a man shot thirty one people dead in a school classroom and dormitory at Virginia Technical University before he was shot dead. In my neighborhood, there was a policeman who killed ten people at three different locations within a very short time before he handed over himself to the police for he was out of bullets.
There might not be the exact cause or definition or reason why these people have committed such heinous acts but there are characteristics that seem to be common. People involved in the security department have been found to be accused of spree killing. There is the example of Brian Dorian a Lynwood police officer who was arrested in early October this year with the accusations of shooting three people along Illinois-Indiana border. Though this is only one example, there are other examples even in other countries that make police officers be vulnerable to commit such kind of actions especially if they do not gain control of their feelings.
According to Chicago breaking news centre, Dorian’s background as a police officer would have made him more dangerous. This does not mean that all police officers are spree shooters, but the fact that they are licensed to have guns and most of them if not all have engaged in real life shooting or even shot and killed at some point, may have made them loosen up a little and not find killing such a big deal compared to someone who has never done it.
In some cases, it is a matter of love gone soar or to be general, the hurt caused by a loved one. In many cases there are people who have resulted into spree killing due to finding out that someone who they trusted and a spouse had cheated on them or broken their trust. For this reason, these people tend to develop a strong dislike or hate for everybody or anything else as they see as if they will hurt again. If they do not immediate attention or help, they might result in to doing such kinds of acts. This is what happened in my case where I had a neighbor police officer who went and killed ten different people at three different places. He had found out that his girlfriend had infected him with the HIV virus and so he committed these acts as he was searching for her.
There are people who do not know how to speak out their minds or talk about what they are going through. In America, everyone is busy trying to make ends meet or being rich. For this reason, they might feel as if they are being a bother to others but they are slowly hurting inside. These suppressed feelings might explode in different ways and unfortunately, spree shooting is one of them.
There is also a common character that seems to be common in most of these spree shooters. They are mostly quite and are described as ‘good’ by those who know them. This is a description Dorian was given by his neighbors. Though one may really not know a potential spree shooter, there are things that should be implemented in order to avoid such actions. Trying to talk to people who are angry in order to cool them off and bring them down to a reasoning point should be done even with the help of a specialist. People who are shy or those who blush should be encouraged to be more outgoing or even talk more. Those who are not so outspoken should be encouraged to speak more about how they feel especially by those they seem to confide in even a little.