In an August 6, 2012 Newsweek article titled “What a Killer Thinks” the author, Dave Cullen, identifies three types of mass murderers:
1. The delusional
2. The psychopaths
3. You suicidal depressed
Psychopaths seem to be born with no capacity for empathy and complete disregard for the suffering of others. Psychopaths kill for their own enjoyment. Psychopaths are extremely difficult to spot, because they are master manipulators and often very charismatic.
Psychotics are driven to slaughter to extinguish their torment. The term psychotic covers to broad spectrum of mental illnesses including schizophrenia and paranoia. Very few psychotics deteriorate to the point of murder and the triggers that cause them to do so are not well understood.
The suicidally depressed may be the most difficult to understand. Most blame others for their depression and begin focusing their hate on their girlfriend, boss or schoolmates. They kill for revenge.
So, will background checks prevent mass murder? I doubt it. Most mass killers do not have a criminal record. Most did not received medical treatment. In fact, if they had received mental health treatment they may not have descended into mass murder. There are many ways we can improve our mental health system, but even so, it is far better than many other countries with a far lower murder rate.
Are more guns the answered? The NRA would have us think so. But, more guns are only practical if you want to return to the days of the wild West where the quick draw was the arbiter of justice. Stand your ground laws are taking us back to the days of the quick draw.
Around the world, you can draw a direct correlation between the murder rate and availability of guns. In Japan, the country with the toughest gun laws in the world, their gun murder rate is close to zero.
We cannot put an armed guard in every location where people congregate. We cannot identify all mass murderers in advance. Our choice seems to be for all our citizens to carry or to make it more difficult for deranged people to have a gun.
When a neighbor, high on meth, came to my door with a gun in his hand intending to kill the person spying on him from my backyard (my daughter), I would have much preferred to have a gun than having to face him down with words and bare hands, but logically, I have to say the only solution to gun violence is less guns.