Dress and behavior of mass shooters as factors to predict and prevent future attacks

April 3, 2014
©2014 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

In many recent incidents of premeditated mass shooting the perpetrators have been male and dressed in black, and may share other characteristics that could be used to identify potential shooters before they commit acts of mass violence. Risk factors related to the antihero, dark-knight persona adopted by these individuals are explored in an article in Violence and Gender.

In the article "Costuming, Misogyny, and Objectification as Risk Factors in Targeted Violence," Brian Van Brunt, EdD and W. Scott Lewis, The NCHERM Group, LLC (Malvern, PA), suggest reasons why persons who commit are drawn to dark popular culture imagery, how these cultural factors may contribute to the , and what could be useful to law enforcement and behavioral investigation teams seeking to identify individuals who might be preparing for an attack.

"'Objectification' of victims and 'costuming' are specific offender behaviors that will give threat assessment teams throughout the world greater insights into the motivation of mass shooters and just how ceremonial their preparations are," says Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Violence and Gender and Senior FBI Profiler/Criminal Investigative Analyst (ret.). "The value of this information in being able to identify these offenders beforehand based on their behavior so that we can prevent future acts of mass murder is very significant."

Explore further: Why were young males behind recent attacks on schools and public gatherings?

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