One of the current issues on everyone’s mind right now is the shooting that took place in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012, and it’s only natural. Such tragedies, replayed in the media and looped for days at a time, will have an effect on the national psyche. People want to know what happened, what made the suspect break with reality, if that’s what happened in his mind. Forensic psychologists and other specialists are already starting to dissect what happened, or at least they are trying to do so. In the early days, it can be difficult to get a clear picture of the mental state of the suspect. Getting a forensic psychology degree online would help to give you the skills you need to deal with those types of crimes from a forensic standpoint.
Mass Shootings are Usually Planned
When someone decides that he – and it’s generally a he – is going to go on a shooting rampage, they plan it. Even though they are not in the right state of mind, they do have the wherewithal to buy the weapons, ammunition, body armor, and explosives. The suspect in this case seemed to have been planning the attack for several months. The Colorado suspect Holmes isn’t likely to have a mental illness, according to some psychologists, and that means that he should be able to stand trial without pleading insanity – although that’s likely the case that an attorney would make. If someone were so mentally unstable, then how would he have been able to live a relatively normal life for so long while plotting and planning an attack?
Instead, most who have a forensic psychology degree will probably tell you that the suspect somehow felt wronged, probably by someone who was in power. This could be an overall disgruntlement at the system as well as where he found himself in that system. A PhD candidate, someone with obvious intelligence, working at a job that he finds demeaning and for people that he doesn’t respect can be angry. Often, they are not clinically psychotic; however, they do show signs of paranoia. They may have personality and behavioral disorders as well, and it’s possible that this will come to light with Holmes. The fact that he is in custody should make getting to the bottom of what caused him to break a bit easier.
They don’t often resort to this manner of violence though. In fact, it is quite rare. The wrongs committed against these types of people are sometimes real and sometimes misperceived. Still, as evidenced, they can and do escalate to violence. In many of the mass shooting cases, you will find that the shooter commits suicide at the end of the spree. This didn’t happen in the Aurora case, which can give psychologists a chance to learn more about the mind of the suspect, and that can actually help them in other, future cases.
Could a Copycat Shooting Happen?
One of the fears that some psychologists have is that the media coverage of tragedies such as this could cause someone else to go out and commit a copycat crime. Those people who do commit copycat crimes have their own issues, and may look to cases such as this to bolster their own confidence in what they are doing. Although it is unlikely, the chance is there. In Arizona recently, several men subdued a man wearing a backpack and behaving strangely in a theater. It turned out that the man was drunk and his backpack contained only more alcohol. People around the nation are still on edge, and it’s going to be some time before they settle.