Quantcast
Connect with us

Mass shooters aren’t self-loathing — they’re humiliated narcissists

Published

on

Mass shootings are getting more frequent — the Kentucky school shooting this week is the 17th shooting in 2018, an outrageous number considering we’re only one month into the year.

As activists and legislators fight battles to enact common-sense gun control laws, social scientists are still exploring the other question behind the frequency of these tragedies. One recent article in American Behavioral Scientist finds a compelling new link between mass shooters and narcissistic, aggressive behavior.

ADVERTISEMENT

Findings by Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University, contrast with the widely perceived notion that mass killers tend to be timid types, suffering from self-loathing and poor self-image. “It is a myth that aggressive and violent people suffer from low self-esteem,” Bushman told PsyPost. “They are much more likely to have narcissistic tendencies,” he explained.

“Narcissists think they are special people who deserve special treatment. When they don’t get the respect they think they deserve, they lash out at others in an aggressive manner.”

As Eric Dolan writes for PsyPost, “Mass shootings are often preceded by the perpetrator being subjected to a ‘humiliating loss of face,’ such being fired from work or rejected by a romantic partner.” That certainly fits the profile of many of the violent men last year who gunned down their ex-partners and families and friends after a breakup. More widely, it makes sense considering so many shooters are also perpetrators of domestic violence.

Bushman’s research does not imply that all narcissists have violent tendencies. But as he writes in his study, “After doing research on aggression and violence for over 30 years I have come to the conclusion that the most harmful belief people can have is the belief that they are superior to others (e.g., their religion, race or ethnicity, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, political party or ideology, school, city, state, country, etc. is best). When people believe they are superior to others, they behave very badly.”

Psychologists agree that we are stuck in a cultural catch-22: we know that many mass shooters kill because they want attention, yet the constant combined coverage of shootings on 24-hour television news, written media and radio gives copycat killers exactly the attention they are seeking. PsyPost notes “that the prevalence of mass shootings has risen in relation to the mass media coverage of them.” Bushman agrees that the media assists in perpetuating violence in this way. “One should avoid mentioning the names of mass shooters or showing their photos,” he advised.

ADVERTISEMENT

Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on Forbes.com, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @elizpos.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

There’s no respite from Trump’s vindictiveness and foolishness

Published

on

As we know, even in the midst of a national emergency, Donald Trump could find time and bandwidth to continue his retribution campaign.

He dismissed Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for the intelligence agencies, for doing “a terrible job,” satisfying his own thirst for vengeance for anyone who actually adhered to law and practice over blind loyalty to Trump himself. Indeed, asked about it the next day, Trump underscored his action by saying, Atkinson “was no Trump supporter, that I can tell you.”

It was an act that we once would have labeled corruption, by Democrats and Republicans – that is using the office for personal purposes – if Congress and too many Americans had not since become inured by so many like instances.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

This is how Taiwan and South Korea bucked the global lockdown trend

Published

on

As the coronavirus pandemic sparks global lockdowns, life has continued comparatively unhindered in places like Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong after their governments and citizens took decisive early action against the unfolding crisis.

At first glance Taiwan looks like an ideal candidate for the coronavirus. The island of 23 million lies just 180 kilometres (110 miles) off mainland China.

Yet nearly 100 days in, Taiwan has just 376 confirmed cases and five fatalities while restaurants, bars, schools, universities and offices remain open.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose deputy is an epidemiologist, made tough decisions while the crisis was nascent to stave off the kind of pain now convulsing much of the rest of the world.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Republican ex-lawmaker with coronavirus scolds Wisconsin GOP for forcing voters to risk their health

Published

on

On CNN Tuesday, former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who is himself dealing with a bout of COVID-19, chastised the Wisconsin GOP for doing everything in their power to block the state elections from being moved — and forcing many voters to stand in line and risk exposure to the virus to cast their ballot.

"I have to tell you, here in Pennsylvania we have a Democratic governor and Republican legislature," Dent told host Don Lemon. "They postponed the election here from April 28 until June 2. Without any controversy. Everybody agreed it was the right thing to do and they moved on. I'm surprised Wisconsin took this risk, knowing they don't have to."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image