With the aftermath of the Colorado shootings still thick in the air, the suspected man behind the master plan has been found to be under heavy investigation. Persecution has taken a halt while investigators try to figure out what must have gone wrong with a sweet, smart boy, referring to him as a "troubled genius." The search for rationale continues while they investigate the killer's motives and whether anything could have prevented the crime. In light of the questions being asked about this man, one might question whether the possible conclusions drawn thus far have much factual evidence to support them, or if in reality the support is merely held in social standards and expectations.
One of the main accusations is the prospect of mental illness and it is here where our argument lies. Thus far, there are only theories swimming around the media and no real report on the psychological status on the shooter. These theories expressed by the media are that of highly stigmatized mental illnesses that are regularly misunderstood. Many of these terms include: schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, psychosis, psychopath, and antisocial personality disorder. Psychologist and part-time blogger Dr. Kristina Randle covers these accusations(http://kristinarandle.com/blog/clinical-terms-in-the-news-related-to-the-colorado-shooting/) with great depth. She aims not to support the killer, but rather to dispel common myths and perception of these highly stigmatized disorders.
Mainly, she contests the idea that people afflicted with these disorders tend to be violent or "out of their minds." The actual symptoms do not match the claims, and much of the opposing argument is reminiscent of the moral panic aimed at mental disorders from the investigation of the Columbine massacre. Particularly, the term "psychopath" that is so often used to describe these kinds of attacks is inaccurate, because it isn't understood by people for what it really is: disconnection from emotion and other people or animals. Psychopaths do not feel remorse or guilt, and often go to extreme measures (such as murder) just to feel a rush of excitement.
The media draws the conclusion that any serial killer is a "psychopath," but the truth is that psychopaths are not acting mindlessly. Rather, they seem to be calculated in their actions. James Holmes and the Columbine shooters appear to have known exactly what they were doing, and at least in the case of the Columbine shooters, they had planned it for years. The way to combat these notions is to stop questioning why the shootings occurred and question instead what the motives were. It is the difference between revenge and simply wanting the world to burn. This article (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/assessment/2004/04/the_depressive_and_the_psychopath.html) explores the mental condition of the two Columbine shooters, who it seems were vastly different in their mental condition and therefore in their rationalization behind the attack. The article linked above outlines the differences between actions taken out of spite, versus those taken out of contempt--it explores the fine line between depression and psychopathy by breaking down popular notions of bullying.
The implication this sets for the Colorado shootings is that the media may be attacking the situation the wrong way: rather than finding out what “went wrong” in the man’s life, it may be wise to find out what he was doing rather than why he was doing it, and work from there. In other words, did he want the world to burn or did he have some sort of hurt inside of him? The article explores these two contrasting circumstances and it can help us to better understand why these things happen, and how to prevent them if they can be prevented at all.