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What Makes a Mass Murderer?

by Carolyn Graves 3 years ago in guilty

A Guide to Mass Murderers

Making a Mass Murderer

What is a mass murder?

A mass murder is the act of murdering a number of people, typically simultaneously or over a relatively short period of time and in close geographic proximity. The FBI defines mass murder as murdering four or more persons during an event with no "cooling-off period" between the murders.

What is a mass murderer?

A mass murderer is a person who carries out these acts, typically in a fit of rage, or as a well-calculated plan.


The mass murderers themselves can be divided into these categories:

The Pseudo Commando

  • Calculated and adequately planned out
  • Attack is often seen as a ‘cause’ or ‘duty’
  • Killer often seeks revenge
  • Likely stock piles weapons and ammunition before attack
  • Prior to attack, perp often becomes very interested in guns and/or military
  • Killer believes the attack is justified
  • After attack, perpetrator often commits suicide or lets themselves get killed

Can shoot up a school but it is not a typical “school shooting.”

Example: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold

The Family Annihilator

  • Usually senior male
  • Half of cases are murder suicide
  • Not usually premeditated, often occurs after killer is pushed to a breaking point/triggered
  • Often committed in a ‘fit of rage’
  • Gun is most likely murder weapon
  • Doesn't always have history of mental illness or violence
  • In a murder suicide, they believe they have to kill their family in order to truly kill themselves (suicide by proxy)

Example: Kip Kinkel and Ronald Gene Simmons

The Set and Run Killer

  • Use bombs, explosives or poison/toxic consumables
  • Does not commit suicide, are not present when attack happens
  • Main goal is to gain attention and become infamous
  • Often there's an agenda or political statement behind the attacks
  • Wants to remain anonymous
  • Often plans to get away with crimes or escape

Example: Ted Kaczynski and The Chicago Tylenol Killings

Disciple Killer

  • The attacks are organised by a cult leader
  • The victims are either random, have a symbolic meaning or are the disciples themselves
  • The disciples or cult members often kill under the influence of their leader
  • Although there are exceptions, most leaders do not commit suicide
  • Disciples kill to gain leader’s approval or acceptance
Example: The Manson Family and Jim Jones’ People’s Temple

Disgruntled Employee

  • Former/current employee of target site
  • Believes the employers, co-workers or workplace in general has wronged them
  • Usually murder-suicide
  • Often suffers from severe anxiety
  • Victims are the employer and co-workers
  • Motivated by revenge
  • Believes the world is unjust

Example: Patrick Sherrill (Postal worker) and Joseph T. Wesbecker

School Shooter

  • Usually white male in teens or early 20s
  • Subject to bullying or rejection, and feels hatred because of this
  • Has mental health issues or learning difficulties
  • Often takes inspiration from past mass murders
  • Likely to be a copycat killer
  • A pseudo commando can shoot up a school but is not a typical school shooter

Example: Adam Lanza and Elliot Rodger


  • Kills for political/ideological reasons
  • Believes killings are justified
  • Likely an extremist
  • Wishes to kick start their agenda or gain attention to their cause
  • Either part of terrorist group (ISIS) or act alone
  • Intend to cause fear and alarm
  • Often will even die for their cause, though not always

Example: Dylann Roof and Omar Mateen

*not every killer will be an EXACT match with description, some may even be more than one type*

What can put someone at risk of becoming a mass murderer?

Long Term:

  • A history of anger, humiliation and lack of success
  • Low self-esteem
  • Mental health issues
  • Difficulty coping
  • Resentment and externalized anger
  • Few friends/poor social skills
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Full of rage, hate, anger, etc.
  • Social isolation

Short Term:

  • A ‘final straw’
  • Losing job
  • Being dumped or divorced
  • Becoming bankrupt
  • Bullying
  • Threatened

How to Prevent Attacks:


Trying to stop bullying and mistreatment of others in schools. Helping others to feel included so nobody is isolated.

Mental Health

Recognising when a child is troubled and assisting them in socialising and seeking support. Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.


80 percent of mass murderers reveal their plans to someone and 59 percent do to more than one. If someone is talking about an attack discourage them and report it. Do not feel bad for reporting it because in the end you could be saving lives, including theirs.


Media and news sources should put the focus on victims rather than the killers themselves. Many of them want the attention and notoriety that comes with their crimes, if they believe they will not get it they may not kill.


Carolyn Graves

19 yo personal trainer and student with a vast curiosity

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