school shootings, autogenic massacre


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Sociology


Autogenic massacre is a term used to describe the indiscriminate killing of multiple individuals in one isolated incident, where the perpetrator is motivated by a combination of personal problems and/or psychopathological issues. In the past two decades in the United States, this phenomenon has been experienced by families who are forced to grieve the loss of their loved ones as a result of these violent actions—specifically, as a result of school shootings. Using information derived from the disciplines of evolutionary psychology, social psychology, and general psychopathology, this paper endeavors to uncover factors that may contribute to the motivations behind, as well as the manner and details, of violent crimes of this nature (e.g., the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings). Efforts to facilitate healing and move towards a more peaceful standard of living in the wake of these tragedies have been analyzed, with emphasis on treating the individuals responsible for these tragedies with the same caring disposition which we afford to those wounded by them.

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