Thursday, April 26, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Motive of a Mass Murderer

We keep hearing how the investigators are working hard to find the motive in the mass murder at Virginia Tech, that somewhere in the life and writings of Cho Seung-Hui there is the answer to why he committed such a horrible act. I say, why are we wasting so much time to search for an answer that is meaningless and also impossible to prove as being the actual truth of the matter?Cho was a psychopath who hated the world. If he were alive, he might pick this motive or that motive in an attempt to justify his actions. This supposed motive might be something he feels comfortable with as his reason for committing a heinous crime or it might be a motive he picks just to make himself look better in the eyes of the world. He might choose a motive to punish his classmates, his family, or some girl who didn’t give him the time of day. He might pick a motive just to play games with us. If Cho were alive, we might get some sort of answer but we would never know the veracity of it.

But, Cho is dead. We can peruse his mind through his writings and behaviors and take a wild guess at a motive, but we will never get his confirmation that we have the right one (the one he wants us to buy which makes it a nonsensical exercise anyway). So what is the point of this exercise in futility? I guess folks just want some answer they can live with, an answer that will assure us that this horrifying act was an anomaly which only happened because of one specific issue in Cho’s life. Then we can breathe a sigh of relief and say, well, there is nothing we can do about some that one circumstance that set him off..

However, if we admit that Cho is a violent psychopath who simply wanted to get his revenge at the world for damned near everything that he felt went wrong in his life, then we have bigger problem: other psychopaths may come out of the woodwork and repeat Cho’s crime just for the hell of it. To stop future mass murderers we must address the creation of psychopaths and how we enable them to eventually take revenge on us. Accepting Cho as a psychopath is much scarier than just thinking he is a psychotic who misinterpreted some incident and snapped. If we finally accept that school mass murders and serial killings are on the rise in this country, we then know it is just a matter of time before we see another tragedy in the news.

Let’s stop looking for the “motives” of psychopaths and start spending our time figuring how to keep our children from developing antisocial personalities and how to protect society from those psychopaths that are already among us.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, very good Pat, I completely agree with you. When someone is murdered by a psychopath and the family say I want to ask them why they did it, I always think 'why? why do you want to ask a psychopath why they killed someone?' It's just that they did. I've not explained very well but I think you know what I mean.