News outlets are reporting that suspected shooter James Holmes, 24, who allegedly killed 12 people and injured 58 at a midnight movie screening of The Dark Knight Rises at Century 16 cinema in Aurora, Colorado, on Friday, July 20, created a profile on AdultFriendFinder.com looking for a sex hookup mere days before the rampage. But there’s another sex-oriented angle forensics experts have mentioned regarding the case: Many mass killers are unable to form and sustain relationships.
The Washington Post quotes Michael Welner, forensic psychiatrist and chairman of the Forensic Panel of New York City, about mass shooters:
“They’re people who are unfailingly unable to form satisfying sexual attachments, and their masculinity essentially gets replaced with their fascination for destruction,” Welner said. “The overwhelming majority of folks who do this are male because of how, in our culture, masculine identity is so closely tied to the capacity to destroy.”
That holds true for perpetrators of recent mass killings, including Seung Hui Cho of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, who not only “stalked” women but had an imaginary girlfriend named “Jelly” who was a supermodel, according to his roommates, and George Sodini, who killed three women in a Pennsylvania L.A. Fitness center in 2009 before killing himself. Police said Sodini had “hatred” for women. CNN said: “In the note found at the scene in Sodini’s gym bag, he complains he had never spent a weekend with a woman, never vacationed with a woman and never lived with a woman, and that he had had limited sexual experiences.” Neighbors had assumed that Sodini was gay.
The 2006 Amish school shooter, Charles Carl Roberts IV, was married but had recently told his wife he had molested young relatives earlier in his life and mentioned in his suicide note that was having fantasies of molesting again. He brought K-Y lubricant with him when he shot five Amish schoolgirls in Pennsylvania and then himself, but he did not molest the girls before killing them.
Back to Holmes, the Aurora shooter: The Post quotes another expert, Duke University School of Medicine professor Jeffery Swanson, who reiterates Welner’s description of mass shooters as socially and sexually inexperienced, but cautions against drawing introverts with such broad brushstrokes.
“They tend to be young and male and tend to be sort of isolated. The problem with that is that there are tens of thousands of people who meet the same description and never do anything like this,” Swanson said.
Holmes had a relatively sparse Adult Friend Finder profile, which indicated his penis size as “Short/Average,” and said he was “Looking for a fling or casual sex gal. Am a nice guy. Well, as nice enough of a guy who does these sort of shenanigans.”
Perhaps most chilling, though, is a quote that appeared at the top of his profile: “Will you visit me in prison?”
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