The Psychopathology of Spree Shooters

This dynamic presentation will consider psychological states that may contribute to violence—through the lens of active/spree shooters. Ellis Amdur will consider such traits as paranoia, psychosis, depression, “rigid personality” (the autism spectrum), all of which have been linked—anecdotally, at least– to various spree murderers.
Every time there is an active shooter incident, both media and experts cite the issue of mental illness, to the degree that this has assumed almost talismanic power. A more fine grain understanding of this issue is necessary: active shooters are a minute portion of the population, and furthermore, the vast majority of mentally ill individuals are not violent whatsoever, much less organized mass killers. What, then, do law enforcement officers need to know about mentally ill individuals and aggression—both field assessment and communication, and what, if any, common denominators are there to be found among active/spree killers, whatever their mental health diagnosis might be?

This training will address:

  • Recognition of behaviors that may indicate any of these traits, relevant to law enforcement officers, who must make split second decisions as to what kind of tactical intervention will best assure safety
  • Tactical communication with individuals displaying such traits
  • A consideration of the active shooter (where of course, communication is often impossible, or is confined to ways to most quickly achieve neutralizing them as a threat)–in light of psychopathology.  
  • Toxic narcissism, a nearly universal trait among active shooter/spree killers individuals, whatever mental health diagnosis they may or may not have.
NOTE: This training is usually one-half day. It is presented either stand-alone or along with another one-half day training on general de-escalation tactics or on de-escalation of aggressive youth

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