Big Shootings in Small Towns. Binghamton U Expert Can Discuss Colorado Shootings, Mass Murder & Mental Health

Article ID: 591713

Released: 20-Jul-2012 12:40 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: Binghamton University, State University of New York

Expert Pitch

Mary Muscari, associate professor of forensic nursing at Binghamton University, can offer expert commentary on the Colorado shootings, mass murder and mental health.

She is also an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Criminology at Regis University Her criminology master's thesis was on revenge motivated mass murder. One of her most recent articles on extreme violence.

Muscari points out that while we need to learn about the shooter to better our understanding of these crimes, we also need to avoid giving the shooters the attention and celebrity that many of them crave.

"This is an open case with a living shooter, so general comments include: - Revenge is the most common motive in mass murder, but this revenge can be specific or diffuse. The shooter may have a grudge against specific people or a specific place, or may just want to get back at society at large for perceived wrongs. - The incident trigger is often the last straw as most shooters have had a series of disappointments and frustrations – usually self-induced – throughout their lives. They don’t see themselves as the reason for their own failures, instead they project blame on others. - Revenge is the dish best eaten cold, so these shooters are not acting immediately. The trigger begins the planning stage for their shooting. They plan – some plan more carefully and extensively than others, such as Cho from Virginia Tech, and this planning stage becomes an important component to their overall revenge fantasy. - Planning includes weapons selection, sometimes target practice, and the gathering of other equipment as deemed necessary. For the ‘pseudo commando’type shooter, this can include body armor and specific clothing (typically camouflage or black attire). - Planning also includes timing and location. These enable the shooter to target his selected victims or to target as many as possible, if that is his plan. Those who target large numbers tend to use the element of surprise, as well as a ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ approach. The latter decreases the chance for potential victims escape. - Many of the revenge motivated shooters are also suicidal (about 29% to 49% commit suicide after the attack). However, these numbers show that many others are not suicidal.

There is no way to predict violence, and thus we cannot predict these events, nor eradicate all of them. However, we can calculate risk, and we as professionals not only need to do more to better understand risk and warning signs, we also need to develop better ways to identify and manage them."

Mary Muscari is a multibook author, including: Quik Reference to Adult and Older Adult Forensics, and What Nurses Know:PTSD.. CONTACT: Mary Muscari, mmuscari@binghamton.edu or Gail Glover gglover@binghamton.edu, and Ryan Yarosh, ryarosh@binghamton.edu, at 607-777-2174


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