I found this on Tumblr last night, maybe it has been shared before but if not here you go, it´s extremely interesting and I think it´s very accurate.
The 3 Stages of the Mass Shooter
From my years of studying mass shootings i have noticed a pattern in shooter attitudes and personalities. I’ve noticed that with age shooters attitudes seem to change. This could be simply chalked down to immaturity in younger shooters and the more seriousness of adults. However i think there is something more.
My belief is that shooters undergo a sort of transformation the longer they brood upon their thoughts of violence, suicide and revenge and their fantasies of committing a shooting, their attitudes change, they become more serious, less boastful and perhaps more sombre.
I have manged to identify 3 notable stages of this “transformation”
The first stage is almost exclusively found in younger shooters. It is seen most commonly in young (12-16) shooters, almost always school shooters, who fall into the typical category (See my post “My Categorisations”). They are practically always American as well, which is important.
In Stage 1 the shooter has only recently (a few days or a few months) began fantasising of committing a shooting, they are young, angry and are perhaps not viewing there soon to be attack through a realistic lens. They are boastful, blatant and are usually very flippant when it comes to talking about their desire to commit an attack which, in the modern age, is what usually leads to many of them being caught before they can commit an attack. They are often regarded as “edgy” and their statements are typically cringe worthy. Typically speaking, Stage 1 shooters do not kill many people, their average kill count is between 1 and 3 dead.
There are multiple reasons why their shootings result in low kill counts, their plans are vague and poorly thought through, the fact that they almost never buy their own weapons and take weapons belonging to family members means that the quality of weapons are usually not great, often using pistols (usually smaller calibers such as .22s) or home defence shotguns. Another important factor is Stage 1 shooters lack of proper thought and consideration of what it is they are actually going to do leads them to end their shootings prematurely of their own accord. I talked about this in my post “Bill Atchison: The Anti Climax” where upon killing someone they come to the realisation that they are not able to slaughter dozens of innocents like they thought they could, so they either surrender or kill themselves. The fact that most of them are American is more important than you think. In America with easy accessibility to guns it makes it far easier for shooters in Stage 1 to enact their plans prematurely, this is also why the vast majority of American School Shooters are in Stage 1 and why countries with more restrictive gun laws such as Canada or Germany in the 2000s have shooters who tend to be Stage 2.
If I were to choose one shooter who represents the Stage 1 shooter the best it would have to be Jose Reyes. He was extremely young, only 12 years old, it was clearly an impulsive shooting probably committed not long after the idea for doing it came into his head. He stole his Father’s pistol, this was his only weapon, he had no extra ammunition and he opened fire on a small group of people before school had even started, this shows an extreme lack of preparation and clearly illustrates he had not thought much at all about committing the shooting. It lasted only a few seconds and ended with an abrupt and sudden suicide with only 3 people having been shot. This is an excellent and obvious example of what i spoke of in the paragraph above where upon committing a murder they snap back to reality, realise they are not a cold blooded killer and immediately shoot themselves as a method of escape. Along with all of this, one need only look at Reyes’ suicide note to determine his lack of preparation and thought.
“Dear teachers and students today is the day when I kill you bastards for the embarrassment that you did. You say mean things in school. That I’m gay, that I’m lazy, stupid, idiot and also say that I pee my pants and also stealing my money. Well that all ends. Today I will bring a god damn pistol and rifle to shoot you and see how you like it when someone making fun of you. Once I kill you your life will be nothing but nightmare and bad dreams. I don’t care if I have lots of bullets to shoot all of you cause im gonna die trying on my last stand. And right now this shcool will now cometo an end and your death will be rising when I shoot you. Have a great death at school.”(sic)
(^This edgy shit has demonstrates my point perfectly)
Other examples of Stage 1 shooters include: Karl Pierson, Unnamed La Loche shooter and Asa Coon
I feel a shooter enters Stage 2 of the transformation typically after a large number of months or a year after the shooters initial conception (the point at which the desire to commit a shooting is born). For some reason another they did not carry out a shooting when they were in Stage 1, this is usually due either gun restrictions/difficulty acquiring weapons or desire to spend more time planning in order to ensure a higher kill count. Upon reaching Stage 2, the shooter has put significant amount of thought into what they are going to do, they have planned it, they are now psychologically prepared and ready to go through with it. Their less impulsive or more planful nature causes them to spend more time thinking about committing the shooting and planning it out. This longer length of time spent on planning simultaneously causes the shooter to spend more and more time brooding on their troubles and issues, this leads to their attitudes changing, they begin to become more mature than they would have been in Stage 1. Stage 2 shooters are usually older (17-18) than Stage 1 shooters so they are naturally more mature aswell. However, there is still an element of teenage immaturity and edginess in their writing and their writings are not particularly articulate. Good examples of this sort of attitude can be seen Eric Harris’ first few journal entries, Michael Slobodian suicide notes and the writings of Matthew Murray. In Stage 2, they tend to be more secretive about their desires to commit a shooting and plan their shootings out more, often acquiring better weaponry and stockpiling ammunition, because of this reason Stage 2 shooters are more likely to fall into the category of PseudoCommando rather than typical (See my Post “My Categorisations”) and thus often have higher kill counts.
Examples of Stage 2 shooters include: Sebastian Bosse, Geddy Lee Kramer, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, Matthew Murray
The Final Stage.
Shooters who make it to Stage 3 are some of the rarest types of Shooters. They have been meditating and brooding upon their Homicidal and Suicidal thoughts for years. They have been spiralling downwards for a long time and their thought processes have gotten progressively darker and darker as time has gone by. These shooters are the most dangerous, after years of constant feelings of bitterness, resentment, depression and hopelessness, they are now completely indifferent to their own life and the lives of others. They have gotten to a stage where the only thing that matters to them now is vengeance and suicide. Their years of alienation from mankind has lead them to no longer see people as people, rather they now see them as villains and targets, and the only thing they care about now is getting even through the barrel of a gun. Former Head of the FBI’s criminal profile unit, Dr Rodger Depue phrases this concept perfectly in the 2007 documentary “Massacre at Virginia Tech”,
“Once the Fantasy gets to a certain point, they’re all the enemy, doesn’t really matter specific names anymore. You’re striking out, against society, against a situation that would not include you, that would not allow you full participation.”
A thing most people tend to note about these types of shooters, is how cold and emotionless they seem.
“I see a man, face dead of emotion, holding a large shotgun”-Northern Illinois University Student talking about Steven Kazmierczak
“Very Planned, Very deliberate, Very determined. No emotion at all” Virginia Tech Student talking about Seung Hui Cho
These Shooters are not impulsive and immature like Stage 1 shooters, they do not laugh, joke or fire wildly into the air and they are not simply shooting at random. They are calm, focused and methodical. This calm and collected nature leads to some of them being mistakenly identified as psychopaths (I’m Looking at you Peter Langman), however this is not the behaviour of a psychopath rather a normal individual who has become so alienated from society and are so disillusioned with life as a whole that they no longer feel guilt or remorse from murdering scores of innocents.
These shooters are almost exclusively PseudoCommandos. The reason for this is due to their extensive period of transformation it gives them more and more time to plan their attacks, down to the exact detail.
Examples of Stage 3 shooters include: Seung Hui Cho, Robert Steinhäuser, Adam Lanza, Steven Kazmierczak, Eric Harris.
So how do we know this transformation takes place? Well, you can actually see this transformation take place with Eric Harris. If you read the vast majority of Eric Harris’ Journal it is in the fashion of a Stage 2 shooter. However, there is a 4 month gap between his 2nd last entry and his last entry. Eric’s last entry is unlike any other entry in his journal. Almost all of his journal consists of posturing, him speaking at length about his ideologies and beliefs and making statements like this
“HATE! I’m full of hate and I Love it. I HATE PEOPLE and they better fucking fear me if they know whats good for em.“
Now, compare the statement above to the very last thing he writes in his journal,
“I hate you people for leaving me out of so many fun things. And no don’t fucking say, “well thats your fault” because it isnt, you people had my phone #, and I asked and all, but no. no no no dont let the weird looking Eric KID come along, ohh fucking nooo.”
For the first proper time throughout the entirety of his journal the mask slips, the posturing of the stage 2 shooter is gone, we actually hear from him for the first proper time where his rage is coming from. This sudden shift in attitude could simply be explained by him knowing he will be dead in less than a month and that idea having an affect on his mind, however i believe this to be a result of the constant dwelling upon his thoughts, at this point i estimate he had been thinking about committing a shooting for about 2 years which meant he would be entering the early stages of Stage 3, meaning by the time of the shooting itself he would even deeper into the final stage, perhaps not as deep as someone like Cho or Lanza but deep in it nonetheless.
We can also see there has been a transformation in other Stage 3 shooters aswell. We know that Seung Hui Cho, expressed admiration for and identified with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold since he was 15. Meaning he had been thinking and fantasising about Columbine and most likely committing a shooting of his own for over 8 years. Steven Kazmierczak had an interest in shootings such as Columbine and Virginia Tech for a number of years prior to his shooting. Adam Lanza was having fantasies of murder since the age of 10-11 as can be seen with the description of some the content of “the big book of granny, meaning he would have been fantasising about murder for 9 or 10 years.
All of this tells me that the transformation is real, it is not just present in one off instances, and something most if not all shooters go through.