On Sunday, June 12th 2016, the worst mass shooting on American soil took place. Omar Siddiqui Mateen, a 29-year-old man, arrived at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida armed with an AR-15 and a handgun. The mass shooting that ensued left 50 dead and 53 more wounded, making it the largest death count for a single mass shooting in American history. People are outraged and distraught to see this kind of violence inflicted. Unfortunately, one of the questions that can be asked in this situation is... was this mass shooting preventable?
While the extent to which Mateen was involved with Radical Islamic groups hasn’t been fully revealed, Mateen did declare his allegiance to the Islamic State before the shooting. That being said, not every mass shooter is a terrorist. In fact, of the mass shootings that take place on US soil, many of them don’t have anything to do with the Islamic State at all. While the motives behind mass shootings tend to differ from shooter to shooter, there are some distinctive qualities most potential mass shooters will have.
In the particular case of Mateen, he showed quite a few of these signs and a few people were even scared of him. His co-worker, Daniel Gilroy, even reported Mateen’s aggressive behavior and homophobia to his supervisors at their job. Gilroy eventually left the job, after his supervisors took no action. He stated, "The company wouldn't do anything. This guy was unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people." Gilroy did the right thing by saying something, but despite his best efforts Mateen was still able to purchase semi-automatic weapons (even though he had once been under investigation by the FBI) and go on to execute the largest mass shooting that America has seen.
Being able to identify if someone is exhibiting these qualities and may be a danger to society could save the lives of many and stop the next mass shooting before it even happens.
Most of us know someone who is narcissistic but this goes beyond the run of the mill inflated ego. Someone who has a deep narcissism will not only have a certain admiration for themselves but will believe that they are so special they can do whatever they want. In fact, they believe they have the right to do as they please without any consequences. Obviously, one can see how this would lead to someone planning a mass shooting.
10 They Collect Their Wounds
9 They See Violence As Only Answer
8 They're Single Or Divorced
7 They're Isolated Loners
6 They're Very Intelligent
5 They're Crying Out
4 Having Weapons Like An AR-15
3 They Experience Hatred And Paranoia
Idolization in the form of extreme worship of something can be a dangerous sign of a potential mass shooter. Radicalized terrorists have recently been making the news due to mass shootings. As of right now, the extant of Mateen’s connection with terrorists remains unclear, but he did pledge allegiance to the Islamic State before the shooting. A shooting in San Bernardino, CA in 2015 was also linked to Radical Islam.
1 They Don’t Just Snap
If you take anything from this article, just know that mass shootings aren't necessarily executed by people who “just snap.” That is very rarely (if ever) the case. Yes, there are crimes of passion in which a person may snap and kill someone or maybe two people. To shoot dead 50 people, these events are usually planned ahead of time and methodically thought out. Between obtaining the weapons and plotting out the where/who/how/when of the whole ordeal, potential mass shooters can become obsessed with their potential massacre.
That being said, these situations can be prevented. If someone you know exhibits the signs on this list, you should reach out to professionals who will hopefully be able to prevent another horrible mass shooting, in which many, many innocent lives may be lost.
Sources: Salon.com, Vice.com, Chicago.cbslocal.com, Psychologytoday.com, Cnn.com, Rollingstone.com, Washingtonpost.com
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