Does it really matter when a gunman’s motive remains a mystery? – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-06-02 22:33:00 –

Two months after a mass shooting in King Soopers, Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people, investigators explained why the criminals chose a particular supermarket and why they used violence in the first place. Not revealed.

A similar mystery is the death of eight people in the FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis. Did the criminal get angry because he was shot? Did he target Sikhs, who make up half of the victims?

And in San Jose, California, the scene of the latest mass shootings that hit the United States, investigators still scrutinize the evidence and pinpoint why long-time transportation employees attacked colleagues and killed nine people. “We haven’t been trained to analyze our colleagues,” said a local union leader, adding, “you’ll never know.”

The identity of the perpetrator is not questioned in all three cases. Still, the case still feels somehow unresolved, as the motives remain unclear.

Every time a mass shooting occurs and the culprit is identified, the biggest question is what has driven him into violence. Law enforcement officers may send hundreds of investigators, thousands of hours, or hundreds of thousands of dollars to understand why.

But some criminal profilers start discussing the limits of sticking to motives, how much it’s worth building a story in a decisive arc, and even the perpetrators explaining themselves. I am wondering if I can do it.

“I study motivation, study it, and say there is no such thing,” said Shuki Cohen, a psychologist and terrorist researcher at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. One of the weirdest creatures. “It’s central to our meaning, but it’s inaccessible to us.”

Motivation issues became particularly troublesome when eight people died in three hot springs in the Atlanta area in March. Seven are women and six are of Asian descent, with news reports killing in the context of a wave of anti-Asian violence caused by leaders who abused the cause of the coronavirus pandemic in China. I was.

However, some conservative commentators complained that perceiving the shooting as racially motivated unnecessarily aroused the fear of Asian Americans being targeted. The description claimed that he was trying to get rid of sexual temptation at the spa, which is a perfect reflection of his intentions.

Legally speaking, in most criminal cases, the motive is irrelevant unless it helps to persuade the jury. Convictions and punishments usually rely solely on proof that a person has committed a crime, for whatever reason.

However, when victims appear to be targeted based on the membership of a particular group, the reaction of society is different, creating a class of crime with the most important motives: hate crimes. The cry to classify some murders as hate crimes forced prosecutors not only to understand the motivation, but to prove it.

There may be widespread consensus on motives. The federal government was charged with hate crimes in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas in 2019, killing 23 people. Minutes before the attack, he posted a manifest against Hispanic immigrants online. Posted in.

In Atlanta, prosecutors apply the state’s new hate crime law, claiming that the suspects are anti-Asian and anti-female. However, in a much more conservative county nearby, four killings were committed, but prosecutors have not suggested classifying them as hate crimes.

A debate over Atlanta’s motives killed five children in a Southeast Asian refugee family following a school shooting in Stockton, California in 1989. Police said the criminal committed himself on the scene. Repeatedly denied allegations that it targeted Asians. He “had a clear dislike of everyone, not of any particular race,” the captain said.

A group of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who were trying to pay attention to anti-Asian prejudice crimes opposed. The State Attorney General said in a 10-month investigation that the shooting was the criminal’s “racial resentment and hatred.” He said it was the result of “the rise of.”

The state investigator’s conclusions were not significantly different from the local police’s conclusions. “He blamed all minorities for his failure and chose Southeast Asians because he was the one he had the most contact with,” they wrote. The difference was in framing. No, the report assured Asian Americans, and racial animus wasn’t everything in your head.

Motivation may help to understand meaningless people, but in the end it’s just a theory and impossible to test, Cohen said.

In the case of Stephen Paddock, who caused the worst shootings in history, the FBI’s renowned Behavioral Analysis Unit has convened a committee of experts to convene all available scraps of Paddock’s “development, interpersonal relationships, clinical medical history.” Was reviewed over the course of a year to determine what was the cause. He killed 60 people on the Las Vegas Strip in 2017.

The report lists many factors, including age-related stressors and Paddock’s father’s status as a prominent criminal, but “active shooters are the only motives and reasons for being involved in mass murder. I rarely have one. “

The general public regarded this complexity as a failure. “The FBI can’t find motivation,” the headline says.

According to investigators, Mr Paddock has done everything in his power to keep his personal thoughts private. But even if he left a long manifest, it might not have given them any more content, experts say. The murderer could be a more reliable narrator than anyone else. The clues they plant often include a cut-and-paste “salad bar” of ideas rather than a coherent worldview. The FBI’s report on bombers targeting Nashville, Tennessee in December cited “individualized beliefs adopted from some quirky conspiracy theories.”

Understanding people’s motives may help create counter-messages, Cohen said, but it is of little value in predicting who will do harm in the future. Many mass shootings, including radical Islam, misogyny, and white supremacy, agree with the views of the radicals, but the majority of chat room participants who are obsessed with these beliefs I’m not trying to mass murder.

(Similarly, the majority of people with mental illness are not violent, and studies show that most of the perpetrators of mass shootings have never been diagnosed with mental illness.)

The 2018 FBI report, which analyzed 63 mass shootings, focused on what experts call the path to violence and barely mentions the word motive. The report describes stressors and “pre-attack behavior” that may indicate an intent to do harm or an unusual interest in guns. On average, the shooters who participated in the investigation showed 4-5 such behaviors.

Forensic psychologist and FBI consultant J. Reed Melloy said, “There is something called story bias, and people want to build a story that they can understand. It’s pretty simple, simple, and retrospective. It can be applied to. ” “Narrative bias can prevent us from looking at all possible motives and contributions to risk.”

Decades of data show that most lonely actor murderers are not motivated by pure idealism, but are fostering personal dissatisfaction. Said. According to Melloy, only a small percentage of dissatisfied people see violence as a solution, and even fewer have the means to do so.

Witnessing the fragments of the murderer’s heart tells us that the chains that society has chosen to extract are less about the perpetrators than about ourselves. Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Oklahoma City federal government building in 1995, loved the book The Turner Diaries, which depicts the overthrow of the government and racial warfare, initially as evidence of his anti-government view. It was understood. Recent accounts use it to emphasize his connection to white supremacy.

After the murder at a spa in Atlanta, criticism from conservatives reminded us of another controversy that 49 people were slaughtered at the Gay Nightclub in Orlando, Florida in 2016. The homosexual, in particular, was a Latino man, but it was soon revealed that the criminal had called 911 during the attack, and he told the dispatcher that he was a follower of the Islamic State group.

Even so, some argued that it was impossible to ignore the identities of the victims. “People who claim that the shooting was exclusively an Islamic terrorist attack are trying to make more pain by erasing the LGBT community from the story and nullifying their experience in this ordeal,” said USA Today’s editor. Wrote.

Ultimately, evidence strongly suggests that the perpetrators were not intended to target LGBTQ people, and the shooting was investigated as a terrorist attack, an FBI spokesman in Tampa, Florida said. Terrorist attack.

In Georgia, the Atlanta shooting was a test of what evidence could convince the jury that a hate crime had taken and how credible the defendant’s own description of his actions was. May be useful soon.

There was no hate crime law in the state until a legislator passed it last year after the murder of Amado Aubrey. Activated for the first time in the Mark O. Barton shooting incident.

If convicted, Bias has no substantive effect on the suspect’s decision, as he is already facing a severe sentence. But Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis gave voters an important message: “We need to make sure everyone is treated the same and everyone is recognized as having value.” to be sending.

She expressed confidence that she could prove racial animus, even if the suspect denied it. “If you believed only in what the accused said, no one would be guilty,” she said. Said.

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