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From Columbine to Palestine: A Comparative Analysis of Rampage Shooters in the United States and Volunteer Suicide Bombers in the Middle East

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 16 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2011 Pages: 98-107
Adam Lankford; Nayab Hakim
Date Published
April 2011
10 pages
This study reviewed the differences between suicide bomers in the Middle East and rampage shooters in the United States.
Previous research comparing rampage shooters in the U.S. and volunteer suicide bombers in the Middle East appears to be virtually non-existent. When these two types of suicidal killers have been mentioned in the same context, it has primarily been to dismiss any possible connections. Rampage shooters are generally assumed to be mentally unbalanced, while suicide bombers are seen as extreme, but rational, political actors. However, this review explores the possibility that the primary differences between the two types of killers are cultural, not individual, and that in terms of their underlying psychology and motivation, they are actually quite similar. In both cases, substantial evidence indicates that these perpetrators of murder-suicide share many of the following characteristics: (1) they had troubled childhoods, (2) they lived in oppressive social environments, (3) they suffered from low self-esteem, (4) they were triggered by a personal crisis, (5) they were seeking revenge, and (6) they were seeking fame and glory. (Published Abstract)


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