A Case Study of Motives and Methods of Mass Murderers and Whether They Relate to Mental Illness
Towe, Gregory C.
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Mass murder has gained attention as a crime in our society, with an ever-growing presence in the media and in the public’s interest. With such attention comes the desire to place blame on what causes or contributes to these attacks, and many choose to blame the mental health of the offenders. This study performs a case study of 25 mass murders, their motives and methods, with the intention to answer three questions: whether mental illness is a significantly contributing factor to mass murder, if so what illnesses are most prevalent, whether the killer shows delusional or psychotic features, and whether other variables might indicate a pattern among mass murderers. The study showed that 56% of the sample was suspected or had a mental illness, showing a moderate relationship between mass murder and mental illness. Only 24% of the sample had a mental illness that had psychotic or delusional features, establishing that the majority of mass murderers do not have breaks with reality.