FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Whenever there is a mass shooting many people wonder about the mindset of the person responsible. Some are quick to blame mental illness, but experts believe that more often than not it’s about something else. Forensic Psychologist Stephen Ross has experience evaluating mass murderers.
“These folks, generally men, are outliers meaning they’ve cut themselves off from society,” Dr. Ross said.
He said in most cases it doesn’t come down to mental illness, rather, most often its extreme anger and the thought they are working for some cause.
“I don’t think all of these guys are insane,” Ross said. “I think that they have purposely chosen, probably by virtue of some sort of inherent evil, they’ve chosen to do this.”
Most often the people involved in mass murders leave a trail on social media. He said they might also express anger about a particular issue in conversations with friends and family, but won’t explicitly reveal their plans.
“They’re talking code and it’s hard for the average person to read that code,” Ross said.
The mass shooting in Colorado last Friday left three people dead, including a police officer. Dr. Ross said that shooting was like so many others that happen across the United States.
“Most of what we see is a one person job,” Ross said.
What set the shooting in California apart is that more than one person was involved. Ross said that’s when it becomes something more – that’s when it becomes a conspiracy.
“The more thought that they put into it, the more people involved, sadly, there is more planning and there is more forethought into it. They thought through the strategies,” Ross said.
Another unique factor about the California shooting was that a woman was involved, according to authorities.
And what happens after a deadly shooting concerns Ross, too. Ross fears more people will follow in those footsteps after seeing the coverage of the shootings on the news.
“We do know that shootings of this sort, it does promote copycat,” Ross said.
Ross said people who commit crimes based on what they see on TV are often looking for what they think is fame and attention.