Chapter 2

Psychopathic Secondary School Shooters

A WORD ON PSYCHOPATHIC PERSONALITIES

From the days of Shakespeare to contemporary Hollywood, audiences have been fascinated by portrayals of people without a conscience. Psychopaths—or sociopaths, as they are sometimes called—seem like a fundamentally different kind of human being. Unfortunately, despite years of research into psychopathy, it remains an elusive concept. For example, psychopathy is not a formal psychiatric diagnosis. The closest official diagnosis is antisocial personality disorder, but this is not synonymous with psychopathy. Adding to the confusion, there are many types of psychopaths, from violent criminals to white-collar psychopaths.

I draw on the work of several researchers to shed light on psychopathic personalities. Dr. Samuel Yochelson and Dr. Stanton Samenow wrote about what they termed the criminal personality, which is akin to psychopathy. Though not all criminals are psychopaths, people with a criminal personality share many features with psychopaths.

Dr. Robert Hare has identified many common traits in psychopaths, including deceitfulness, “impression management,” grandiosity, a strong drive for excitement, and a lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse.[1] Using a different approach, Dr. Theodore Millon and Dr. Roger Davis identified subtypes of psychopaths based on different combinations of personality disorders. For example, someone with narcissistic and antisocial traits will differ from someone with sadistic and antisocial traits.[2]

Drawing on the findings of these experts, I emphasize several core features. First, psychopaths are egocentric—they live for themselves and meet their own needs with no regard for the impact their behavior has on others. Psychopaths are also often egotistical, with an inflated sense of their own importance and self-worth. Focused on themselves, they lack a normal capacity for empathy, guilt, and remorse. They not only do not care if they hurt people, but they may experience a rush of euphoria by doing so. This is sadism—the thrill of having power over others.

Psychopaths are often chronic liars who are very good at impression management, meaning they make a good impression while hiding their true intentions. This is what makes con artists successful. Charming, witty, and at times remarkably charismatic, they use these abilities to deceive their victims.

Psychopaths march to the beat of their own drum; they have no regard for social norms, morality, ethics, or the law. They are a law unto themselves. As a result, they often have a particular dislike for those who represent authority, whether police officers, schoolteachers, or their own parents. Psychopaths are impervious to fear. Nothing fazes them. They can remain calm in situations that would overwhelm other people.

One of the most striking features of psychopaths is their inability to take responsibility for their own behavior. Even when they admit to their crimes, they tend to blame their victims and paint themselves as “the good guy.” They often experience punishment as injustice, feeling that they are being wronged. This, apparently, is a consequence of their narcissism—in their mental world, they ought to be able to do whatever they want. They are ultimately entitled.

Their narcissism is often so fragile, however, that they are hypersensitive to anything that is perceived as a slight. Yochelson and Samenow discuss this extreme reactivity to what they call put downs: “Wherever [the psychopath] goes, he is vulnerable, in that anything that is not in line with his inflated image of himself as a powerful person is viewed as a threat. To be told what to do by others is a putdown. To have to ask a question of someone is a [put down], because it reveals ignorance. . . . The criminal is put down by any adverse event over which he does not have control.”[3]

Understanding this dynamic is essential because it sheds light on why psychopaths felt justified in killing girls who rejected them, teachers who failed them, or anyone else who frustrated the gratification of their desires.

ATTACKS BY PSYCHOPATHIC SECONDARY

SCHOOL SHOOTERS

Robert Poulin

“I don’t want to die before I have had the pleasure

of fucking some girl.”

Date: October 27, 1975

Age: 18

School: St. Pius X High School

Location: Ottawa, Canada

Killed: 2

Wounded: 6

Outcome: Suicide

Robert Poulin’s life revolved around sex and violence—at least, he wanted it to. He fantasized about robbing people at gunpoint, as well as committing arson, rape, and murder. On the last day of his life, he committed three of these four crimes.[4]

Poulin grew up with guns in the house and was trained in the use of firearms. His father was a former pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force who had left the military and become a schoolteacher. Poulin aspired to follow in his father’s military footsteps. Unfortunately, he was born with a pigeon chest (pectus carinatum), a deformity that results in a convex chest. He also had poor vision, which interfered with his desire to be a pilot.

Poulin went to church regularly, delivered newspapers, and worked in a pizza shop. Behind the facade of normality, however, Poulin was obsessed with sex and pornography. His collection of pornography included 250 books and magazines, as well as a scrapbook filled with photographs of nude men and women.[5] He maintained an index of pornographic magazines and kept a detailed record of his ratings of photographs and advertisements: “Police found eleven looseleaf [sic] binder pages containing nearly one thousand separate entries on pictures and ads.”[6]

Poulin also had books on bondage that contained photographs of women handcuffed to bedposts. After his attack, police found four pairs of handcuffs in his room. They also found women’s lingerie, an inflatable sex doll, Poulin’s writing about his disappointment with the sex doll, a condom-type vibrator, and the names of eighteen girls. Several of these girls had received obscene telephone calls that stopped after Poulin’s death.[7]

Poulin apparently engaged in other criminal sexual behavior beyond his alleged harassing phone calls. There were complaints of indecent assaults and attempted rapes along the paths of an apartment building near his home. The descriptions of the assailant fit Poulin. Some women reported that the assailant wore nothing but a balaclava (a type of hat covering the head and lower portion of the face). Poulin had written in his diary about wearing a balaclava if and when he raped someone.[8]

Poulin applied to the military and was devastated by his rejection for officer training when he was found to be “immature.”[9] Following this, Poulin joined a government-sponsored militia where he received training in a range of military skills. In the militia, he “sat alone in the camp lunch room staring into space, and the only time he talked to anyone was when they talked to him.”[10] He became more engaged with his fellow soldiers over time but remained low-key. If other soldiers joked around, Poulin might smile, but he did not laugh.

Poulin was depressed and intermittently suicidal before his rampage. On April 7, 1975, he wrote in his journal that he was suicidal but added, “I don’t want to die before I have had the pleasure of fucking some girl.”[11] In the same entry, he recorded his discovery of a sex doll that would allow him to simulate having intercourse. He wrote, “Now I no longer think that I will have to rape a girl, and am unsure as to whether or not I will still commit suicide.”[12]

The same diary entry contained his thoughts about two illegal acts. He noted, “I have a half hatched idea about using the gun to rob people at night.”[13] It is not known if he attempted this. More disturbingly, he wanted to make his family suffer. He considered murdering his parents but decided instead to burn down their house. “I was going to make sure, though,” he wrote, “that I burned the place down soon after payday so that they would lose the largest possible amount of money. I was also planning on having all my earthly possessions with me so that they wouldn’t gain one red cent from me.”[14] He gave no hint as to why he wanted to make his family suffer.

Nor did he record why he wanted to die. He wrote about death as something positive, commenting, “death is the true bliss.”[15] His suicidal feelings, however, may have resulted from his shyness. As early as September 1972 (over three years before his rampage), Poulin wrote, “There are some girls at school that I would love to be good friends with but I know that I am still too shy to go up and talk to any of them. I wish I could overcome this fear of women.”[16] Perhaps Poulin overcame his fear of women by objectifying them as sexual objects and trying to force himself on them. He had a crush on a girl named Kim Rabot, but she was dating another boy.[17] On the day of his attack, Poulin lured her into the house, handcuffed her to his bed, raped her, and stabbed her to death.

Poulin maintained his composure under tremendous stress. His bedroom was in the basement, separated only by a curtain from the rest of the cellar. On the morning of the attack, while Kim Rabot was dying or dead, Mrs. Poulin came down to the basement. She asked if she could talk to him, and he said, “yeah, but don’t come in.”[18] She told him she had scheduled an eye appointment for him. About an hour later, Poulin came upstairs and asked his mother for a peanut butter sandwich. He sat down and watched a quiz show as he ate. His mother noticed nothing unusual about him.

If Poulin had been able to feel any guilt or remorse, he would have been overcome by emotion after the attack. But the casualness of his behavior after having raped and killed a girl he knew indicates a remarkable lack of empathy. After he ate his sandwich and his mother went out, Poulin did what he said he would do: he set the house on fire. Then he went to school, shot random students, and killed himself.

* * *

Poulin was not charming and charismatic, but he managed to hide his dark side, suggesting excellent impression management. Using the personality types identified by Millon, Poulin fits the description of a “nomadic antisocial.” Such people exist on the periphery of society, lacking the social skills necessary to meet their needs. They are bitterly unhappy. They lack empathy and are willing to violate the rights of others to gratify themselves. According to Millon, such people may act out “their pent-up frustrations in brutal assaults or sexual attacks upon those weaker than themselves.”[19] This is exactly what Poulin did.

But why rape and kill a girl he knew? Perhaps the words of David Berkowitz, the notorious serial killer, can shed some light:

I was literally singing to myself on my way home, after the killing. The tension, the desire to kill a woman had built up in me to such explosive proportions that when I finally pulled the trigger, all the pressures, all the tensions, hatred, had just vanished, dissipated, but only for a short time. I had no sexual feelings. It was only hostile aggression. . . . I wanted to destroy her because of what she represented . . . a pretty girl, a threat to me, to my masculinity. . . . I couldn’t handle her sexually.[20]

Like Berkowitz, Poulin felt powerless in the presence of an attractive girl. He lacked the skills to engage her in a mutual relationship. This was a threat to his identity, to his masculinity. The very existence of an attractive girl beyond his reach was a put down to Poulin—it made him feel powerless. In response, he obliterated the threat by killing Kim Rabot.

Poulin clearly lacked empathy and met his own needs at the expense of others. Also, tricking a girl he knew into his home and then binding her, raping her, and stabbing her fourteen times was deceptive and sadistic. Similarly, his idea to rob people at gunpoint suggests that he wanted power over others—not just sexually, as in rape, but also by making them cower in fear. Poulin’s rampage differed from other school shootings in that it included a sexual assault, arson, and murder at his home.

Brenda Spencer

“I just did it for the fun of it.”

Date: January 29, 1979

Age: 16

School: Cleveland Elementary

School

Location: San Diego, CA

Killed: 2

Wounded: 9

Outcome: Surrendered,

prison

At 5'1" and eighty-one pounds, Brenda Spencer was not an intimidating presence—unless she was describing her dream of being a sniper and her obsession with killing cops. Unfortunately, she fulfilled her dream. Spencer committed a school shooting from her home, gunning down people at her former elementary school across the street. She killed the principal and a janitor and wounded eight children and a police officer.

Spencer was the youngest of three children. In 1972, when she was nine, her parents separated and subsequently divorced. Her brother and sister chose to live with their father; the judge wanted to keep the children together, so Spencer went with them. By 1976, Spencer’s siblings had moved out of the home.

Mr. Spencer was a conscientious father who spent a great deal of time with Brenda.[21] He was a navy veteran who had trained his daughter to become an outstanding marksman. For Christmas 1978, her father gave her a .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle with a telescopic sight. She soon told friends she planned to turn her garage into a fortress. She also talked about an upcoming event that would be “big” and “will be on television and everything.”[22] On January 29, 1979, she committed her attack, shooting at the school across the street from the safety of her own home.

The most unusual aspect of Spencer’s attack was her remarkable nonchalance. There was no indication of rage, anguish, or distress. Rather, she seemed to regard murder as an entertaining activity. A quick-thinking reporter identified the Spencer home as one that was near the school. He called the house in hopes of finding a witness to the attack, not knowing he was calling the perpetrator’s home. Spencer answered the telephone, giggling and bantering with the reporter. She said, “I just started shooting. That’s it. I just did it for the fun of it.”[23] The reporter described her as calm and matter-of-fact. When told she may have killed three or four people, she said, “Is that all?”[24] Before hanging up, Spencer said, “I have to go now. I shot a pig [police officer], I think, and I want to shoot more.”[25] Even the reporter’s interruption did not deter her.

It is noteworthy that Spencer specifically wanted to kill police. She reportedly enjoyed seeing cops shot in television shows. She and a friend, Brent Fleming, whose father was a police officer, talked at length about strategies for killing police.[26] When an officer got her on the telephone, Spencer continued to banter and laugh, saying, “I’m having a lot of fun.”[27] She seemed excited about being taken out in handcuffs. She asked about being on television, and, when told that there were reporters in the area, she said, “That’s great!”[28] This was a sixteen-year-old girl in an armed standoff, surrounded by police and SWAT teams, with helicopters circling above her house. Most people would have been shaken to their core, but she was completely cool, unruffled, and pleased with herself. The cool calm of a psychopath.

Prior to the attack, she had used a BB gun to shoot out windows at her elementary school. She also had broken into the school with Brent Fleming, with one or both of them committing vandalism inside the school.[29] Fleming said Spencer had talked to him about doing “major things, such as sniping or burning or blowing things up.”[30] Though Fleming had eventually moved away, he’d visited Spencer only two days before the attack. She had told him, “Wait until Monday, and see what I’m going to do. It might even be big enough to make the news.”[31] Spencer’s desire to become well known was not new. Long before the attack, she had “stated on occasion that she would be famous.”[32]

Spencer once had a “major fight” with her father, “concerning whether she would have to go to school. She said it was boring.”[33] Though her sister thought their father was too easy on Brenda, she also commented, “My dad, however, required her to conform somewhat to house rules. I think she was a headache to him in that she often talked back.”[34] When Spencer was talking with the police officer during the standoff, he asked if she had a message for her father. She said, “Yes, I do. Tell my dad to go get screwed.” She had no message for her mother, but added, “I don’t like her either.”[35] She might have been angry about their divorce seven years earlier, or she may have resented them simply because they were authority figures. Her best friend said Spencer “hated all authority.”[36] Brent Fleming’s mother commented that Spencer and her son “Used to sit around and talk about what a rotten place the world is . . . about how everybody hassles you—But nobody hassled them.”[37] For psychopaths, even the normal expectations of parents and teachers can be intolerable.

Spencer’s psychopathic behavior continued after the attack. Her mother reported that while in prison, Spencer “mentioned she was being kept in room confinement, because the authorities had found a knife in her cell. She said it took her two weeks to make it. She did not plan on using it. She just wanted to break the rules.”[38]

Maybe she did plan on using the knife, or maybe not. Either way, she demonstrated a flagrant disregard for prison regulations.

Spencer’s deceitful and manipulative style was apparent during two parole hearings where she denied responsibility for her actions, fabricated stories, and tried to make herself the victim. At her first hearing, fourteen years after the attack, Spencer claimed she had been high during the shooting, with hallucinations of commandos attacking her house. She said she’d shot people in self-defense.[39] This is contradicted by two sources. First, her conversations with the reporter and police officer during the attack were completely at odds with this. Second, after her arrest she tested negative for drugs and alcohol.

Spencer also claimed that the children she shot were actually shot by police. In reality, all victims were hit before the police arrived; the police never fired a shot. Spencer’s statements were not only false but also contradictory: she claimed that she hadn’t shot anyone and also that she’d shot people because she’d been hallucinating.

At her second parole hearing, twenty-two years after the attack, Spencer claimed that her father beat her and committed incest.[40] Whether this occurred is unknown, but there is no evidence that Mr. Spencer mistreated any of his children. When the parole board commented that Spencer never mentioned incest in her counseling sessions, she said she tried but her therapists ignored her. The board was not convinced.[41]

In addition, Spencer said she thought her father gave her a gun because he wanted her to kill herself. She also said, “I had failed in every other suicide attempt. I thought if I shot at the cops, they would shoot me.”[42] First, according to her sister, Spencer begged her father for a long time to buy her a rifle. Her mother confirmed this, stating, “Brenda told me that is what she wanted.”[43] Second, I have found no reference to any suicide attempts by Spencer, and there is no indication that she was suicidal at the time of the shooting. In fact, she was having fun and made no effort to kill herself. Finally, if she had wanted the police to kill her, she could have committed the attack outdoors instead of from inside her home.

Spencer’s claims during her parole hearings demonstrate her dishonesty, refusal to take responsibility, and desire to be seen as a victim. Psychopaths often pose as misunderstood victims. Dr. Martha Stout, in her book about sociopaths, observed, “The most universal behavior of unscrupulous people is not directed, as one might imagine, at our fearfulness. It is, perversely, an appeal to our sympathy.”[44]

* * *

Brenda Spencer seems to be the most cold-blooded school shooter. Other school shooters experienced various degrees of emotional distress. Many were depressed; virtually all were angry. She alone acted without any hint of anguish or rage. She seemingly enjoyed shooting people, got a kick out of seeing wounded children writhing on the ground, and was particularly excited about shooting at police. There was no element of revenge in her attack—just a sadistic thrill and narcissistic delight at her instant fame.

Spencer appears to be an example of a risk-taking psychopath. These psychopaths are thrill seekers, people for whom ordinary life is dull beyond endurance and who need extreme excitement to make them feel alive. Millon and Davis described them as “substantially fearless, unblanched by events that most people experience as dangerous or frightening . . . dauntless, intrepid, bold, and audacious.”[45] This aptly describes Spencer’s excitement about being surrounded by police, helicopters, and SWAT teams.

It is interesting that Spencer had previously vandalized her elementary school. Perhaps her attacks expressed her disdain for any institution that put expectations and limits on her behavior. Her hostility toward police, as well as toward her parents, indicates her rejection of those who represented authority.

Barry Loukaitis

“It’s like I pictured myself doing it or something. I never really

pictured myself doing anything else.”

Date: February 2, 1996

Age: 14

School: Frontier Junior High

School

Location: Moses Lake, WA

Killed: 3

Wounded: 1

Outcome: Held class hostage.

Overpowered. In prison

Mrs. Loukaitis confided too much in her son. Her marriage had fallen apart, and her husband became involved with another woman. Mrs. Loukaitis planned to get revenge against her husband and his girlfriend; she wanted to tie them up, tell them how much they’d hurt her, show them that she had a gun, frighten them into thinking she was going to kill them, and then shoot herself.[46] She said, “If he didn’t remember my life, I was going to make him remember my death.”[47] She shared this plan with her son, and on the last weekend in January, told him that she was going to kill herself on February 14—Valentine’s Day—because she knew she could catch her husband with his girlfriend.[48] On February 2, just a few days after she told Loukaitis her plan, he committed his school shooting.

What was Loukaitis like prior to his rampage? Through his elementary school years, he was reportedly outgoing and popular. He served on student council in sixth grade, and numerous friends visited his house.[49] In seventh grade, he’d become more withdrawn, and fewer friends came over. His mother said he had a bad temper and would hit walls in anger. According to his parents, Loukaitis’s withdrawal coincided with the onset of their marital problems.[50] It may also have coincided with the onset of puberty.

During middle school, Loukaitis was arrogant and intimidating. When he crossed paths with his peers, he would “curse them, tell them to shut up or order them out of his way.”[51] He loved the random violence in the movie Natural Born Killers and liked to quote from it: “Murder is pure. People make it unpure.”[52] He talked about his desire to kill somebody before he died. Loukaitis was drawn to the idea of murder, saying “It would be cool to kill people . . . to try to get away with it.”[53]

He also felt superior to his peers and viewed murder as a way of eliminating inferior people. He told a female classmate, “Some people don’t deserve to live; some people should just die or be killed.”[54] Later on, Loukaitis yelled at the girl and asked, “Do you think you deserve to live?”[55] Murder was also a way of getting back at people. In seventh grade Loukaitis asked a girl out; she turned him down. When they crossed paths in ninth grade, Loukaitis said he was going to kill her.[56]

Loukaitis focused his hostility on two authority figures—a married couple who both worked at the school. Mr. Caires was the vice principal, and Mrs. Caires taught algebra. Two days before the shooting, Mr. Caires gave Loukaitis detention for repeated tardiness. Loukaitis told his friends he hated Mr. Caires. He also talked about hating Mrs. Caires and made threatening comments about her.

On February 2, Loukaitis entered his algebra class and shot Manuel Vela, Mrs. Caires, and two other students. There were reports that Vela had harassed Loukaitis, yet Loukaitis himself denied this, stating, “It’s not like he [Vela] was a bully or anything.”[57] Loukaitis, however, reportedly had a crush on Vela’s girlfriend. She said that Loukaitis would stare at her and Vela would tell him to stop, but the two boys never tangled. It seems likely that Loukaitis shot Vela out of jealousy.

Having shot four people, Loukaitis held the class hostage. During this time, Loukaitis was said to be at ease. When the police arrived and wanted to negotiate with him, he reportedly was not afraid but annoyed.[58] Loukaitis was apprehended after a teacher ripped a gun out of Loukaitis’s hands. Once in custody, a detective commented on how unruffled Loukaitis was: “He was acting shockingly calm. . . . I expected to see a look of remorse.”[59] An officer commented that when he read Loukaitis his rights, “He looked up at me and cracked a smile and said, ‘I know my rights, man.’”[60] His taped confession was so matter-of-fact that a reporter said, “He could have been describing an errand to the grocery store.”[61] After giving his confession, he curled up in his cell and had a nap.[62] Later that day, Loukaitis’s father described him as “Vicious. No emotion. Not crying.”[63] A psychiatrist who evaluated him after the attack commented that his “eerie, weird icy-cold emotion . . . gave me the willies.”[64]

* * *

Loukaitis, like other psychopathic shooters, had a particular dislike for authority figures, including the vice principal and a teacher. Though Loukaitis had talked about going on a killing spree for a long time, the dissolution of his family and his mother’s impending suicide may have been the immediate triggers to the attack.

Loukaitis’s interest in going on a killing spree for fun suggests the personality of the risk-taking psychopath. This subtype pursues antisocial activities “for the sense of feeling alive and involved in life, rather than for such purposes as material gain or defense of reputation.”[65] Rather than do this, however, Loukaitis killed people who apparently made him feel small—his teacher and a boy dating the girl he was interested in. This suggests the malevolent psychopath, a subtype that is “particularly vindictive and hostile,” with “a cold-blooded ruthlessness, an intense desire to gain revenge.”[66]

Andrew Golden

“You’re all going to die.”

Date: March 24, 1998

Age: 11

School: Westside Middle

School

Location: Jonesboro, AR

Killed: 3

Wounded: 7

Outcome: Apprehended. In

prison until turned 21, then

released

When the children in Andrew Golden’s class were asked to draw a picture representing their families, Golden drew guns. When asked to write a skit, he wrote one about guns. Guns were the center of Golden’s world—after all, his parents led a local pistol club and his grandfather was a game warden and hunter. Golden handled guns before he could walk, received his first gun as a toddler, and had a rifle at age six.[67]

Golden may have been particularly drawn to guns because of his small size. His grandfather noted that although Golden wanted to play football and basketball, he was “too slight for one, too short for the other. Shooting was what he did best.”[68] At the time of his attack, Golden was eleven years old and “barely four feet tall.”[69]

Guns were the center of his world, and he was the center of his parents’ world. Golden’s mother had had a tubal ligation after having two children with a previous husband. When she remarried, she had the procedure reversed so she could have a child with her new husband; when their son, Andrew (“Drew”) was born, he was treated as their extra-special child. Multiple people reported that Golden was “overindulged and rarely subject to discipline” and that his parents “seemed to feel that he could do no wrong.”[70]

When Golden was very young he cursed in front of his family; his father and grandfather laughed and thought it was cute. A neighbor saw it differently, commenting that when Golden was five years old, “You’d walk by and he’d be cussing, and he’d flip you off.”[71] Based on interviews conducted by Dr. Katherine Newman’s research team, Golden’s parents “were defensive when he got in trouble and actively intervened to prevent Westside Middle School from using what administrators regarded as appropriate punishment. . . . If Andrew did poorly in a particular class, or got in trouble with one teacher, his family just arranged for him to be moved to another.”[72]

From an early age, Golden was impervious to authority. In first grade, a teacher confiscated a toy gun Golden brought to school. Golden was warned he’d really be in trouble if he touched the gun. Unfazed, he persuaded a peer to retrieve the toy. At recess, Golden filled the gun with gravel and mud and shot it at a girl, hitting her in the eye.[73]

Years later, Golden persuaded another peer to collude in antisocial behavior, convincing his thirteen-year-old friend Mitchell Johnson to join him in a school rampage. The boys stole Johnson’s parents’ van and took guns belonging to Golden’s father and grandfather. Golden pulled a fire alarm so people would evacuate the school. The two boys then gunned people down from a hill overlooking the school.

Golden’s sense of entitlement might shed light on his motive. Mitchell Johnson said, “Andrew was mad at a teacher. . . . He was tired of their crap.”[74] Their “crap” apparently meant their expectations that he behave himself in class. For someone who was used to doing whatever he wanted, the rules at school must have been infuriating. During the attack Golden shot and wounded a teacher. Golden also shot Jennifer Jacobs, “who had recently gone out with [him] and who had also rejected him.”[75] Both his teachers and Jennifer apparently enraged him by thwarting the gratification of his desires.

If Golden was so entitled, why wasn’t he more of a behavior problem in school? Because he was very good at impression management. He knew how to make himself look good. A neighbor said, “Andrew was a sweet child whenever his parents were around . . . but whenever he was away from his parents he was a little demon. . . . I feared that child.”[76] Outside of school, Golden was frequently nasty, threatening, and belligerent. Some children were forbidden to play with him. He hit girls, cursed at other children, and threatened to shoot kids with his BB gun. Golden was smart enough to hide his most disturbing behavior from adults. Neither his parents nor his teachers had any idea, for example, what he did to cats: “He killed a cat by starving it in a barrel. He pushed the heads of kittens through a chain-link fence. He shot bottle rockets and BBs at cats, tied one to a clothesline and shot BBs at it, and slit the throats of others.”[77]

Such cruel and sadistic behavior indicates a profound lack of empathy and a disregard for living things. Golden may have displaced his anger onto animals, sought excitement to relieve his boredom, or enjoyed the power to torture and kill.

Golden’s behavior during his trial also indicated a remarkable lack of feeling, especially considering he was only eleven years old and was on trial for murder. Several reporters commented on his carefree demeanor. One paper noted that “One of the boy killers sat in court yesterday looking relaxed and even smiled at his parents. Drew Golden didn’t seem to have a care in the world as he listened to the charges that he committed multiple murders. In contrast his thirteen-year-old friend Mitchell Johnson sobbed.”[78]

It could be argued that Golden’s composure was a result of his being too young to understand his situation. He was a bright boy, however, and old enough to recognize that he was in serious trouble. In fact, his extreme youth could be expected to have increased his distress, being arrested, placed in detention, and hauled before a judge and jury. In fact, he showed no concern.

* * *

Andrew Golden stands out among all the school shooters because of his extreme youth. Eleven-year-old mass murderers are extraordinarily rare. He did not, however, act alone. Whereas Spencer had peer support for murder in her friend Brent Fleming, Golden found even more active support by recruiting Mitchell Johnson to join him in his attack.

Golden seems to be an unprincipled psychopath. Such people are charming—or, in Golden’s case, cute—hiding their hateful and vindictive natures behind a pleasant facade. Exhibiting a combination of narcissistic and antisocial traits, they “expect special recognitions and considerations.”[79] Golden seemed to think he deserved special treatment, that rules shouldn’t apply to him, and that discipline for misbehavior was an affront.

Eric Harris

“Natural selection needs a boost, like me with a shotgun.”

Date: April 20, 1999

Age: 18

School: Columbine High

School

Location: Jefferson Co., CO

Killed: 8

Wounded: 13

Outcome: Suicide

Eric Harris was a self-hating narcissist. This takes some explaining. On the one hand, he liked to write “Ich bin Gott,” German for “I am God.”[80] Harris did not actually believe he was God, but he felt godlike compared to virtually everyone else. For example, he wrote, “It never ceases to amaze me how stupid and ignorant people can be. . . . I am ashamed to be a part of the same species as some of these people.”[81] He also wrote, “I feel like God and I wish I was, having everyone being OFFICIALLY lower than me.”[82]

Harris’s condescending and contemptuous attitude dominates his journal. And yet, there are glimpses of a very different side of him. He once wrote, “I have always hated how I looked, I make fun of people who look like me, sometimes without even thinking sometimes just because I want to rip on myself. That’s where a lot of my hate grows from. The fact that I have practically no self-esteem, especially concerning girls and looks and such.”[83]

In fact, Harris’s journal ends on a note of surprising vulnerability: “I hate you people for leaving me out of so many fun things. And no don’t fucking say ‘well that’s your fault’ because it isn’t, you people had my phone #, and I asked and all, but no. no no no don’t let the weird looking Eric KID come along, ooh fucking nooo.”[84] After pages of arrogant rants and violent fantasies, the journal ends with this woeful note. What is the significance of this?

Harris was not in love with himself but with an image of himself. He concocted a grandiose self-concept, apparently in response to feeling inadequate. Millon described this dynamic in what he called the compensatory narcissist—one who compensates for his insecure identity with an image of superiority.

But why was Harris so insecure? Girls reportedly thought he was cute and dated him. He was athletic and played soccer on two teams. He was bright and academically successful. What accounts for his core of inadequacy? Perhaps it was rooted in his two birth defects: a leg problem that apparently was resolved early in life and a chest deformity (pectus excavatum) for which he had surgery at ages twelve and thirteen. A sunken chest can be damaging for any boy’s self-concept. As the son of a veteran with military aspirations of his own, Harris may have been particularly vulnerable to feeling damaged and inadequate.

How did he seek to overcome his sense of inadequacy? Power. He wrote, “I would love to be the ultimate judge and say if a person lives or dies—be godlike.”[85] On April 20, 1999, his wish came true. Though he did not survive to report what that experience felt like, the words of a serial killer may capture how Harris felt. “I stood there looking at him on the ground, and I was suddenly overcome with feelings of power. I realized I held this man’s life in my hands. . . . I thought ‘I’m like God . . . I too have the power to give life or take it away.’ . . . I never thought it would be so easy to kill a person, or that I would enjoy it. But it was easy and I was enjoying the feeling of supremacy. A supremacy like I had never known before.”[86]

Harris himself made the connection between guns and godhood. When he bought his first guns, he wrote, “I am fucking armed. I feel more confident, stronger, more God-like.”[87] Guns gave him the power to play god. Without firearms, he was just “the weird looking Eric kid.”

Harris didn’t just want to kill people; he wanted to experience having power over them. He wrote longingly about his desire to rape and torture people. He referred to himself as a “crazy fuckin . . . rapist” and wrote about wanting to “overpower” girls and get them into a vulnerable situation through impression management: “Who can I trick into my room first? I can sweep someone off their feet, tell them what they want to hear, be all nice and sweet, and then ‘fuck ’em like an animal.’”[88]

Following this passage, Harris described his desire to torture and mutilate people. He referred to a video by the music group Nine Inch Nails: “The one where the guy is kidnapped and tortured like hell.” He added, “I want to do that too.”[89] His comment about torturing someone is followed by a gruesome passage:

I want to tear a throat out with my own teeth like a pop can. I want to gut someone with my hand, to tear a head off and rip out the heart and lungs from the neck, to stab someone in the gut, shove it up to their heart, and yank the fucking blade out of their rib cage! I want to grab some weak little freshman and just tear them apart like a wolf, show them who is god. Strangle them, squish their head, bite their temples in the skull, rip off their jaw, rip off their collar bones, break their arms in half and twist them around, the lovely sounds of bones cracking and flesh ripping, ahhh . . . so much to do and so little chances.[90]

Elsewhere he wrote about his plan to torture people prior to his school attack. “First we will go to the house of ——— and ——— in the morning before school starts and before anyone is even awake,” Eric wrote. “We go in, we silently kill each inhabitant and then pin down ——— and ———. Then take our sweet time pissing on them, spitting on them, and just torturing the hell out of them.”[91] On the day of the attack, when Harris and Klebold were shooting students in the school library, Harris was laughing.[92] At one point he looked under a table where a girl cowered in terror. Harris said, “Peekaboo,” and shot her.[93] This was sheer sadistic glee, getting a kick out of killing people. This was the culmination of Harris’s sadistic strivings.

Why is someone sadistic? According to psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, “He is sadistic because he feels impotent, unalive, and powerless. He tries to compensate for this lack by having power over others, by transforming the worm he feels himself to be into a god.”[94] So it was with Eric Harris. Having the power to kill people transformed him from the “weird-looking Eric kid” into a godlike being with control over who lives and who dies.

Harris, like Brenda Spencer, was completely unfazed by the police during his rampage. When he saw police cars through the windows of Columbine High School, he showed no concern. Just the opposite. One student reported that Harris said, “there’s a cop—let’s get that cop,” and another heard him say, “let’s go kill some cops now.”[95] Harris shot at the police but did not hit anyone. If he had, he presumably would have been particularly excited. Long before the attack, Harris answered an online question about the one person he hated the most by writing, “are cops one person?”[96]

Why hate cops? Perhaps because they had arrested him (and Klebold) for breaking into an electrician’s van and stealing equipment. Harris was taken to the police station and later had to appear in court. He said this was the most embarrassing incident in his life. Faced with the power of the legal system, Harris must have felt small and helpless. More generally, he probably hated the police because they represented law and order, goodness, justice—everything that Harris rejected as artificial and meaningless.

In 1941 Dr. Hervey Cleckley published a groundbreaking work on psychopathy. He described a psychopath he worked with by saying, “Beauty and ugliness . . . goodness, evil, love, horror, and humor have no actual meaning, no power to move him.”[97] Harris expressed the same sentiment in his own style: “Fuck money, fuck justice, fuck morals, fuck civilized, fuck rules, fuck laws. . . DIE manmade words. . . . There’s no such thing as True Good or True evil.”[98] He wrote repeatedly about his rejection of morality and values. In their place, Harris celebrated instinct: “Don’t follow your dreams or goals or any of that shit, follow your fucking animal instincts. If it moves, kill it, if it doesn’t, burn it.”[99]

In rejecting morality and celebrating instinct, Harris formulated a psychopathic philosophy. In his mind, he should not be bound by any external constraints. He wanted the freedom to rape and kill without consequences. He created a belief system as a rationalization for his own psychopathic behavior. Here, in a nutshell, is Harris’s justification for hating cops and all that they stand for: “Instincts are deleted by laws.”[100]

Harris’s celebration of instincts was mingled with his celebration of “natural selection,” which to him meant the elimination of inferior beings. His writings on natural selection reveal his narcissism and his profound lack of empathy. “NATURAL SELECTION. Kill all retards, people with brain fuck ups, drug addicts, people who can’t figure out how to use a fucking lighter. Geeeawd! People spend millions of dollars on saving the lives of retards, and why. I don’t buy that shit like ‘oh, he’s my son, though!’ so the fuck what, he ain’t normal, kill him. Put him out of his misery. He is only a waste of time and money.”[101]

On the day of the attack, Harris wore a shirt that read, “Natural Selection,” telling the world the purpose of his rampage.

* * *

Eric Harris stands alone among the psychopathic secondary shooters in creating an ideology that justified massive violence. Like other psychopathic shooters, he rejected laws, social norms, and authorities, having a particular hostility toward the police. Like the explosive psychopath, Harris was prone to tantrums of rage. For these psychopaths, such outbursts “discharge pent-up feelings of humiliation and degradation.”[102] Harris’s rage may have been sparked by his bodily defects, teasing at school, rejection by girls, or the reality that the world did not grant him the status he craved.

Explosive psychopaths are “hypersensitive to feelings of betrayal,”[103] and Harris was known to erupt in fury at his friends over minor issues. He actually vandalized the homes of former friends.[104] These psychopaths can also direct their rage toward people who symbolize their frustrations and failures: “the resulting violence is a desperate, lashing out against symbols rather than reality.”[105] The attack against Columbine High School can be viewed as Harris’s attempt to obliterate a symbol of the world that failed to grant him the status he desired.

The sadism in Harris’s character is associated with tyrannical psychopaths. This subtype “derives a special sense of satisfaction from forcing victims to cower.”[106] Harris gleefully mocked cowering students and then shot them at point-blank range, giving him the thrill of ultimate power. He got to play god.

Robert Steinhäuser

“I’m going to be really big one day.”

Date: April 26, 2002

Age: 19

School: Gutenberg

Gymnasium

Location: Erfurt, Germany

Killed: 16

Wounded: 7

Outcome: Suicide

Robert Steinhäuser was good at deceiving people—but not good enough. In the end, it was his downfall.

A peer described Steinhäuser as having a rich social life, “meeting friends daily and going to the disco at weekends.”[107] Another peer described him as charismatic and rebellious: “He was insubordinate in school, attracting attention. Students loved it. Everybody got on with him, and everybody liked him. I remember that he once told me that one time he wanted everybody to know him and just be famous.”[108]

Steinhäuser’s insubordination and desire for fame suggest narcissism. He described himself as someone “who is sometimes difficult to bear” and noted that people’s opinions of him ranged from “likable” to “cannot stand him.”[109] Even his father described him as arrogant and opinionated.[110] He reportedly was rude to teachers, and his report card included comments such as “doesn’t respond to discipline well.”[111]

For instance, Steinhäuser was caught smoking a cigar and drinking whiskey on a school field trip. Though smoking and drinking are legal in Germany at age sixteen, they were forbidden during the trip. A teacher confronted Steinhäuser, who formed a gun with his hand, pointed it at the teacher, and said, “Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat, you’re dead.”[112] When Steinhäuser went on his rampage, he killed this teacher.

At school, Steinhäuser had high aspirations but poor performance. He just did not put much effort into anything. Despite this, he made comments like, “I’m going to be really big one day,” “Everybody will talk about me,” and “I’m going to be a politician.”[113] Yochelson and Samenow described grand aspirations without the effort to achieve them as part of the criminal personality. They wrote, “He thinks he can become anything if he will only set his mind to it; to become a doctor, an astronaut, the president of a corporation, or anything else awaits only his decision. With this certainty in mind, he does not consider it incumbent on him to prove anything to anyone—at least, not by working hard.”[114]

According to Yochelson and Samenow, someone with this personality doesn’t blame his lack of success on his failure to make an effort; rather, he “reacts as though it were someone else’s fault. To his way of thinking, it should not be possible for him to fail at anything.”[115] This was Steinhäuser’s response.

Steinhäuser’s failures were significant. He flunked exams and twice failed entire grades. For someone who thought he was going to be “really big,” these failures hit him hard. One of his dreams was to study computer science, but he failed his computer class and subsequently abandoned the dream.[116]

Throughout high school Steinhäuser became more and more interested in firearms. His father had an air gun and allowed Steinhäuser to shoot at inanimate objects.[117] Guns are not easy to obtain legally in Germany, but Steinhäuser met the requirements, followed the procedures, and bought himself guns. He also joined a gun club. To speed up the process of getting his firearms license, he forged the number of hours he’d spent practicing at the gun club.

This was not Steinhäuser’s only forgery. After a long history of truancy, he forged a physician’s note to avoid taking a test he had failed to prepare for. Something about the note was suspicious; the school called the physician, discovered the forgery, and expelled Steinhäuser on October 4, 2001.[118]

Steinhäuser responded to his expulsion from school by covering it up through deception. He never told his parents he had been expelled, and because he was over eighteen, the school did not inform the family. For six months, Steinhäuser left his house each morning as if he were going to school.[119] To further cover his tracks, he forged a report card and presented it to his parents in December 2001. He kept his expulsion secret from his friends and even his brother. He told at least three different stories to friends to explain why he was no longer attending his former school.

Steinhäuser did not take responsibility for his expulsion; instead, he felt like the victim despite confessing his forgery. At a meeting with administrators, he said, “You don’t know what you’ve done to me.”[120] What you’ve done to me. . . . As if he were innocent. As if he were the victim. Even after this, the school tried to help him continue his education, but he skipped meetings and failed to follow through on opportunities.

Steinhäuser was fascinated by the attack at Columbine and admired Harris and Klebold’s methods.[121] Many of his friends knew he had guns and heard him talk about getting revenge by shooting teachers. No one took him seriously.[122] Unlike most school shooters, Steinhäuser specifically targeted the faculty. He killed twelve teachers, an administrator, a police officer, and two students who were hit accidentally.[123]

* * *

Steinhäuser, like other psychopathic shooters, hated authority figures. Unlike the other shooters, however, he made them the primary targets in his attack. He had no ideology like Harris and did not gun people down for fun like Spencer. He felt wronged by the teachers and administrators at his school, and he wanted vengeance.

Steinhäuser had an inflated sense of himself. He did not take responsibility for his own actions, blamed others for his failures, and felt like a victim. He was skilled in deception and used this skill regularly. He demonstrated a blatant disregard for rules and social norms. When caught in a trap of his own making, his response was to commit mass murder against those he blamed for his predicament.

Steinhäuser appears to have been an unprincipled psychopath. As noted in the case of Andrew Golden, this type of person is skilled at impression management and deception. Such people expect to receive special treatment without earning it. They are not deterred by punishments or the consequences of their actions. They have a “devious and guileful style, plotting and scheming in their calculations to manipulate others.”[124]

Tim Kretschmer

“Shall I get out now, shoot a bit, have a bit of fun?”

Date: March 11, 2009

Age: 17

School: Albertville-Realschule

Location: Winnenden,

Germany

Killed: 15

Wounded: 9

Outcome: Suicide

At eight years of age, Tim Kretschmer told his father what he wanted for Christmas: to play against the European table-tennis champion. His coach thought this was absurd, but his father flew the champion in from Croatia, and Kretschmer’s desire was fulfilled.[125] Kretschmer came from a wealthy family and was reportedly given anything he wanted.[126] He was a competitive table-tennis player, and over the years his coach became close with the family. According to him, Kretschmer’s father was of the attitude that you can buy anything with money and that nothing is as important as one’s own desires.[127]

Besides being spoiled with material possessions,[128] Kretschmer’s parents reportedly set no limits on his behavior. Kretschmer had tantrums, cried, and threw his paddle when he lost table-tennis matches. He denigrated his own teammates and “was a poor loser and would always blame his losses on outside circumstances.”[129] When his coach talked to Mrs. Kretschmer about these behaviors, she reportedly defended her son. After the attack, however, she said he was not a likable person.[130]

His coach noticed that Kretschmer wanted people to do what he told them to do.[131] He was stubborn and arrogant. On one occasion, Kretschmer refused to join a team because he believed he was far superior to the other players. It struck the coach as inappropriate for a child to challenge his judgment, but the mother’s response was, “If my son thinks so, then it’s right.”[132]

Kretschmer was obsessed with firearms. His father had a firing range in their basement where Kretschmer used air-soft guns to shoot at a human silhouette with targets marking the head and chest. Kretschmer reportedly was good at hitting the head.[133] Mr. Kretschmer was very active in a local gun club and began taking Kretschmer there when he was ten years old.[134]

Kretschmer reportedly wanted people to notice him and talked about being famous, but he did not stand out among his peers.[135] Teachers said he was quiet and shy. Through high school some of his friends drifted away as he became “crazy about weapons.”[136] Kretschmer joined an arm-wrestling team but did not make any friends there. He reportedly was a poor loser, and his teammates saw him as grouchy and domineering.[137] He was not popular with girls and had no female friends. Shortly before the attack, Kretschmer expressed interest in a girl at a party, but she rejected him.

Female classmates occasionally teased Kretschmer about his clothes and glasses, but he was not bullied. After all, he was a competitive arm wrestler. As he stated, “Nobody will do anything to me [at school]—I’m the strongest.”[138] A girl reported that Kretschmer had recently complained to her that teachers ignored him.[139] This, apparently, was a put-down for Kretschmer and suggests thwarted narcissism, a desire for greater recognition than he deserved.

During his adolescence Kretschmer became depressed and had five psychotherapy sessions. He told his therapist that he hated humanity and had fantasies of killing people, but in the next session he retracted these statements.[140] He withdrew from his family and spent much of his time alone in his room. He became active in an online chat room about school shootings and posted a message stating, “the funny thing is that even when that person announces it, nobody believes him.”[141]

Kretschmer was fascinated by pornography and had two hundred photographs on his computer. More than half of them involved bondage, reportedly showing naked women tied up.[142] One source, however, said that the photos depicted women degrading men.[143] Perhaps there were photographs of both types of bondage.

Kretschmer demonstrated impression-management skills in preparing for his attack. In January 2009, he wanted to buy ammunition but was unable to do so because he was underage. To get around this, he told his father he wanted to buy him ammunition for his birthday. Mr. Kretschmer was excited about this because his son typically was very stingy with his money and did not buy gifts for anyone in the family. Kretschmer went with his father, bought him a thousand rounds of ammunition, and secretly kept ninety rounds for himself.[144] On the day of the attack, Kretschmer lied to his parents, telling them his school had a two-hour delay. He acted excited that morning as he had breakfast, giving the impression that he was in a good mood because of the school’s late start.[145]

Kretschmer did not attack the business school he was currently attending but the high school he had graduated from the previous year. Though some officials reported he shot people randomly, he appears to have targeted females. He shot twenty-three people at the school; eighteen were female.[146] One of the first victims in the school attack was the girl who had recently rejected his advances.[147] In fact, of the twelve people who died from their wounds, eleven were female. Though some may have been random victims, “several were killed with carefully placed shots to the head.”[148]

Kretschmer then fled the school, hijacked a car, and shot other people. He was on the run for three hours, killing himself only after the police shot him twice. Kretschmer exhibited psychopathic nonchalance during his flight from the school. When the kidnapped driver asked why he was killing people, Kretschmer said, “Because it’s fun.” He acted carefree and at one point asked the driver, “Shall I get out now, shoot a bit, have a bit of fun?”[149] This calmness during a murderous shooting spree showed a profound lack of empathy, and his pleasure in killing revealed his sadistic nature.

* * *

People described Kretschmer as spoiled and narcissistic but also as shy and insecure. Perhaps he was a nomadic antisocial like Poulin. He may also have had elements of the unprincipled psychopath, expecting to be treated as special without having earned any distinction. He complained teachers treated him unfairly and shot five of them. His primary targets, however, appear to have been female students. This is interesting in light of his fascination with sexual bondage, an interest shared by Poulin. Kretschmer’s attack may have been an assertion of manhood, seeking power over females with whom he otherwise felt powerless.

COMMENTS

The seven shooters presented in this chapter shared a number of features. With the apparent exception of Poulin, the psychopathic shooters demonstrated an inflated sense of themselves. They expressed hostility or resentment toward people who had power over them, and at least four of them sought fame.

Interestingly, Poulin and Harris, the two shooters with chest deformities, both fantasized about raping girls they knew. For them, rape seemed to be a way of asserting their masculinity, proving that they were whole, not damaged. Besides his rape fantasies, Poulin was obsessed with sexual bondage. So was Kretschmer. Poulin apparently tried to rape multiple women prior to his attack, finally finding an outlet for his rage in the girl whom he bound, raped, and murdered. Kretschmer appears to have vented his rage against women by targeting them in his attack. Thus, the two psychopathic shooters obsessed with having power over women through bondage both targeted females in their attacks. Golden also shot a girl who had rejected him. Thus, nearly half of this group targeted females. This is not surprising. Perhaps no failure is as deflating to young males as rejection by a female. For narcissists this is particularly devastating, as they are not used to the helplessness they experience when thwarted in love or lust. The psychopathic shooters targeted two groups of people: girls and authority figures. These were the people with the power to make them feel small, to put them down.

Peer influence played a part in most of these shootings. Except for Robert Poulin, these shooters had either direct or indirect peer support for their rampages. In addition, the only two shooters to successfully recruit partners for their attacks were psychopathic (Golden and Harris), providing them with support for their rampages.

These shooters were motivated by revenge for perceived wrongs, by their pursuit of fame, by the desire for power or domination, and by seeking a sadistic thrill. Their self-righteous entitlement, devastating lack of empathy, and callous disregard of human life mark them as psychopathic shooters.

1.

Robert Hare, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (New York: Guilford, 1999).

2.

Theodore Millon and Roger Davis, “Ten Subtypes of Psychopathy,” in Psychopathy: Antisocial, Criminal, and Violent Behavior, ed. Theodore Millon et al., 161–70 (New York: Guilford, 1998).

3.

Samuel Yochelson and Stanton Samenow, The Criminal Personality, Volume I: A Profile for Change (New York: Jason Aronson, 1976), 261.

4.

Chris Cobb and Bob Avery, The Rape of a Normal Mind (Markham, Ontario: PaperJacks, 1977), 160–61. Unless otherwise noted, information on Poulin is from Cobb and Avery.

5.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 39.

6.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 63.

7.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 30–31.

8.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 60–61.

9.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 39.

10.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 156.

11.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 60.

12.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 62.

13.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 62.

14.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 61.

15.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 61.

16.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 66.

17.

“Coroners Try to Unravel Details of Shootings,” Leader-Post (Regina, Saskatchewan), October 30, 1975, 27.

18.

Cobb and Avery, The Rape, 54.

19.

Theodore Millon, Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond, 2nd ed. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996), 453.

20.

J. Reid Meloy, The Psychopathic Mind: Origins, Dynamics, and Treatment (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1992), 65.

21.

Eric Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? The Brenda Spencer Murder Case (N.p.: Hart Publishing, LLC, 2012).

22.

Jonathan Fast, Ceremonial Violence: A Psychological Explanation of School Shootings (New York: Overlook, 2008), 69.

23.

Fast, Ceremonial Violence, 71.

24.

Fast, Ceremonial Violence, 72.

25.

Fast, Ceremonial Violence, 72.

26.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 34–35.

27.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 22.

28.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 26–27.

29.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 34.

30.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 34.

31.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 36.

32.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 82.

33.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 70.

34.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 77.

35.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 24.

36.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 82.

37.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 47.

38.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 78.

39.

Fast, Ceremonial Violence, 81.

40.

Fast, Ceremonial Violence, 81–82.

41.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 151.

42.

Fast, Ceremonial Violence, 82.

43.

Hart, Does Anyone Like Mondays? 79.

44.

Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005), 107.

45.

Millon and Davis, “Ten Subtypes,” 164.

46.

Peggy Andersen, “Loukaitis’ Mother Testifies She Told Him about Suicide Plans,” Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman, Washington), September 8, 1997, 3.

47.

“Loukaitis’ Parents Testify about Pre-shootings Days,” Ellensburg Daily Record, September 9, 1997, 3.

48.

“Loukaitis’ Parents Testify.”

49.

William Miller, “‘Cold Fury’ in Loukaitis Scared Dad, Father Says He Was Horrified by Change after Shootings,” Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), September 27, 1996.

50.

“How Barry ‘Pulled Away’: Loukaitises Describe What Prompted Changes in Boy’s Behavior,” Wenatchee World (Washington), September 27, 1996, 2.

51.

Peggy Andersen, “His Classmates Say Barry Loukaitis Knew He Was a Killer,” Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), September 16, 1997, 25.

52.

Lynda V. Mapes, “Bloody Movie, Random Violence Thrilled Loukaitis, Classmates Say,” Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), August 28, 1997, A1.

53.

Bonnie Harris, “Witnesses Say Loukaitis Vowed to Kill, Prosecution Tries to Show Premeditation in Rampage,” Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), April 17, 1996, A1.

54.

Harris, “Witnesses Say Loukaitis Vowed to Kill.”

55.

Harris, “Witnesses Say Loukaitis Vowed to Kill.”

56.

“School Shootings: Classmate Says Loukaitis Expected to Kill,” Kitsap Sun (Washington), September 16, 1997, http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/1997/sep/16/school-shootings-classmate-says-loukaitis-to/?print=1.

57.

“On Tape, Moses Lake Boy Talks about School Rampage,” Seattle Times, April 18, 1996, http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960418&slug=2324775.

58.

State of Washington v. Barry D. Loukaitis, No. 17007-1-III, (1999), 2, available online at http://www.schoolshooters.info.

59.

Bonnie Harris, “Detective Says He Saw No Remorse in Loukaitis,” Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), April 16, 1996, A1, http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1996/apr/16/detective-says-he-saw-no-remorse-in-loukaitis/.

60.

Lynda V. Mapes, “Loukaitis’ Dark Moods Recalled,” Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), September 4, 1997, B1.

61.

Mapes, “Loukaitis’ Dark Moods.”

62.

State of Washington v. Barry D. Loukaitis, 3.

63.

Lynda V. Mapes, “Loukaitis’ Mom Tells Court about Suicidal Moods Defense Portrays Teen as Disturbed by Parents’ Broken Marriage,” Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), September 9, 1997, http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1997/sep/09/loukaitis-mom-tells-court-about-suicidal-moods/.

64.

William Miller, “Psychiatrist Says Loukaitis Snapped before Rampage,” Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), September 25, 1996, A1, http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1996/sep/25/psychiatrist-says-loukaitis-snapped-before/.

65.

Millon and Davis, “Ten Subtypes,” 164.

66.

Millon and Davis, “Ten Subtypes,” 168.

67.

Sandy Davis and Jeff Porter, “Illness Faked, the Weapons Were Gathered,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 26, 1998, http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/1998/mar/26/illness-faked-weapons-were-gathered/?print; Katherine Newman, Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings (New York: Basic Books, 2004), 39.

68.

John Kifner, “From Wild Talk and Friendship to Five Deaths in a Schoolyard,” New York Times, March 29, 1998, 1, http://www.nytimes.com/1998/03/29/us/from-wild-talk-and-friendship-to-five-deaths-in-a-schoolyard.html.

69.

David Usborne, “Jonesboro Massacre: Two Macho Boys with ‘a Lot of Killing to Do,’” Independent (London), March 27, 1998, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/jonesboro-massacre-two-macho-boys-with-a-lot-of-killing-to-do-1152649.html.

70.

Newman, Rampage, 40.

71.

Sandy Davis and Linda Satter, “Differing Views Depict Character of Suspect, 11,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 29, 1998, http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/1998/mar/29/differing-views-depict-character-suspect-11/.

72.

Newman, Rampage, 40.

73.

Newman, Rampage, 40.

74.

Cybelle Fox, Wendy D. Roth, and Katherine Newman, “A Deadly Partnership: Lethal Violence in an Arkansas Middle School,” in Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence, ed. National Research Council, 113 (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2003).

75.

Fox, Roth, and Newman, “A Deadly Partnership,” 112.

76.

Newman, Rampage, 40.

77.

Peter Langman, Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 23.

78.

Andy Lines and Emily Compston, “In Dock with a Smile on His Face: Boys Charged with Jonesboro Killings Make First Court Appearance,” Mirror (Britain), March 26, 1998.

79.

Millon and Davis, “Ten Subtypes,” 162.

80.

Peter Langman, “Themes in the Writings of Eric Harris,” http://www.schoolshooters.info. Please note that the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) has released over twenty thousand pages of documents relating to the attack at Columbine High School. In some cases, I cite the specific pages in these original documents. In other cases, for ease of finding the information, I cite other documents that are based on the original material, such as “Eric Harris’s Journal, April 10, 1998–April 3, 1999” and “Themes in the Writing of Eric Harris.” These documents cite the page numbers from the original JCSO documents for those who want to see the source material. Both the original material and the edited documents are available at http://www.schoolshooters.info.

81.

Langman, “Themes in the Writings of Eric Harris,” 4.

82.

Eric Harris, “Eric Harris’s Journal, April 10, 1998–April 3, 1999,” transcr. and annot. Peter Langman, available online at http://www.schoolshooters.info.

83.

Harris, “Eric Harris’s Journal,” 8.

84.

Harris, “Eric Harris’s Journal,” 11.

85.

Langman, “Themes in the Writings of Eric Harris,” 4.

86.

Janet Warren, Robert R. Hazelwood, and Park Dietz, “The Sexually Sadistic Serial Killer,” in Serial and Mass Murder: Theory, Research, and Practice, ed. Thomas O’Reilly-Fleming, 88 (Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 1996).

87.

Harris, “Eric Harris’s Journal,” 9.

88.

Harris, “Eric Harris’s Journal,” 8–9.

89.

Harris, “Eric Harris’s Journal,” 9.

90.

Harris, “Eric Harris’s Journal,” 9.

91.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, “Columbine Documents: JC-001-025923 through JC-001-026859” (Jefferson County, CO: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, n.d.), 26,343, available online at http://www.schoolshooters.info.

92.

Nancy Gibbs and Timothy Roche, “The Columbine Tapes,” Time Magazine, December 20, 1999, http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,992873,00.html.

93.

Dave Cullen, Columbine (New York: Twelve, 2009), 227.

94.

Erich Fromm, The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973), 292.

95.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), “Columbine Documents: Columbine High School, 99-7625; Library Injured, A-1” (Jefferson County, CO: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, n.d.), 445 and 556, available online at http://www.schoolshooters.info.

96.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, “Columbine Documents: JC-001-025923 through JC-001-026859,” 26,859.

97.

Hare, Without Conscience, 28.

98.

Harris, “Eric Harris’s Journal,” 5.

99.

Langman, “Themes in the Writings of Eric Harris,” 6.

100.

Harris, “Eric Harris’s Journal,” 3.

101.

Harris, “Eric Harris’s Journal,” 1–2.

102.

Millon and Davis, “Ten Subtypes,” 166.

103.

Millon and Davis, “Ten Subtypes,” 166.

104.

Brooks Brown and Rob Merritt, No Easy Answers: The Truth behind Death at Columbine (New York: Lantern, 2002), 72, 93.

105.

Millon and Davis, “Ten Subtypes,” 166.

106.

Millon and Davis, “Ten Subtypes,” 169.

107.

Charles Wallace, “Massacre in Erfurt,” Time Europe 159, no. 18 (2002): 24.

108.

Wallace, “Massacre in Erfurt,” 24.

109.

Dietmar Henning, “Germany: Two Years Since the Erfurt School Shooting,” World Socialist Web Site, May 11, 2004, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2004/05/erfu-m11.html.

110.

Thomas Schadt and Knut Beulich, Amok in der Schule—Die Tat des Robert Steinhäuser (film), 2004, part 1 available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCNtVUII6sc, part 2 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tapQBivtO8, part 3 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9scsLtoH-IU, part 4 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNCkP8cpKWE, part 5 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc5QMaZKbGI, and part 6 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwkpAXOEWvU.

111.

Allan Hall, “A Bright but Troubled Boy Who Wanted to Exact a Terrible Revenge,” Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh), April 28, 2002, http://www.scotsman.com/news/world/a-bright-but-troubled-boy-who-wanted-to-exact-a-terrible-revenge-1-1372744.

112.

Matthew Beard, “Unsuspecting Parents Wished Gunman ‘Good Luck’ before School Killings,” Independent (London), April 29, 2002.

113.

Heinz Gasser, Malte Creutzfeldt, Markus Näher, Rulolph Rainer, and Peter Wickler, Bericht der Kommission Gutenberg-Gymnasium (Erfurt, Ger.: Freistaat Thüringen, 2004), 297.

114.

Yochelson and Samenow, The Criminal Personality, 145.

115.

Yochelson and Samenow, The Criminal Personality, 262.

116.

Gasser et al., Bericht der Kommission, 298.

117.

Schadt and Beulich, Amok in der Schule.

118.

Gasser et al., Bericht der Kommission, 16–17, 299–303.

119.

John Hooper, “Killer’s Secret behind Revenge Attack,” Guardian, April 29, 2002.

120.

Gasser et al., Bericht der Kommission, 304.

121.

Gasser et al., Bericht der Kommission, 12.

122.

Gasser et al., Bericht der Kommission, 118, 334.

123.

Wallace, “Massacre in Erfurt.”

124.

Millon and Davis, “Ten Subtypes,” 162.

125.

Tomislav Mamic, “Waffen waren in der Familie nichts Ungewöhnliches,” WAZ, March 13, 2009, http://www.derwesten.de/nachrichten/waffen-waren-in-der-familie-nichts-ungewoehnliches-id525374.html.

126.

Julia Jüttner, “Sie haben Tim alles dekauft, was er wollte,” Spiegel Online, March 12, 2009, http://ml.spiegel.de/article.do?id=613025.

127.

Mamic, “Waffen waren.”

128.

Bojan Pancevskiin, “Mass Killer ‘Rejected’ by Girl at Party,” Sunday Times (Britain), March 15, 2009.

129.

Pancevskiin, “Mass Killer ‘Rejected.’”

130.

State Court of Stuttgart, Criminal Division 18, “Criminal Case against Jorg Wilhelm Kretschmer, born January 12, 1959, in Stuttgart,” Case Number 18 KLs 112 Js 21916/09 (Stuttgart, Ger.: State Court of Stuttgart), 102.

131.

Petra Von Bornhöft, Klaus Brinkbäumer, Ulrike Demmer, Wiebke Hollersen, Simone Kaiser, Sebastian Knauer, Ansbert Kneip, Sven Röbel, Samiha Shafy, Holger Stark, and Katja Thimm, “113 Kugeln Kalte Wut,” Der Spiegel, March 16, 2009, http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-64628264.html.

132.

Mamic, “Waffen waren.”

133.

Von Bornhöft et al., “113 Kugeln Kalte Wut.”

134.

Udo Andriof, “Prävention, Intervention, Opferhilfe, Medien: Konsequenzen Aus Dem Amoklauf in Winnenden Und Wendlingen Am 11. Marz 2009,” Baden-Württemberg.de, 2009.

135.

Andriof, “Prävention.”

136.

Hendrik Vöhringer, “Amoklauf in Winnenden,” Spiegel TV Reportage, September 19, 2009.

137.

Von Bornhöft et al., “113 Kugeln Kalte Wut.”

138.

State Court of Stuttgart, “Criminal Case against Jorg Wilhelm Kretschmer,” 63.

139.

“16 Die in Rampage in German School, Towns,” Associated Press, March 11, 2009, available online at http://www.nbcnews.com/id/29630925/ns/world_news-europe/t/german-school-rampage-happened-seconds/#.U8b8h6jPbhM.

140.

Andriof, “Prävention.”

141.

Vöhringer, “Amoklauf in Winnenden.”

142.

Von Bornhöft et al., “113 Kugeln Kalte Wut.”

143.

State Court of Stuttgart, “Criminal Case against Jorg Wilhelm Kretschmer,” 47.

144.

State Court of Stuttgart, “Criminal Case against Jorg Wilhelm Kretschmer,” 45.

145.

State Court of Stuttgart, “Criminal Case against Jorg Wilhelm Kretschmer,” 65.

146.

Andriof, “Prävention.”

147.

Pancevskiin, “Mass Killer ‘Rejected.’”

148.

Carter Dougherty, “Portrait of German Gunman Emerges,” New York Times, March 14, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/14/world/europe/14germany.html.

149.

“School Shooting Hostage Speaks Out: ‘Tim Kretschmer Told Me Was Killing People for Fun,’” Bild.com, April 2009, http://www.bild.de/news/bild-english/news/tim-kretschmer-told-me-he-was-killing-for-fun-7725950.bild.html.

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