News is coming from the Justice Department that the shooter in this afternoon’s incident at Fort Hood killed himself. As we know from other shooting incidents like this one it is fairly typical for a “spree killer” to take their own lives as soon as they meet any form of resistance, and this case doesn’t seem to be any different. We still don’t know any additional details about the incident, but reports also indicate that there is indeed only one shooter, and at this time there are only eight reported injuries and no additional fatalities. As to why such murderers (or attempted murderers) take their own lives, there’s an article from Wired that tries to explain some of the reasons. . .
Why are some mass shooters more likely to kill themselves? If we go beyond the armchair psychology and diagnostic labels in the coverage of this horrific tragedy, the data from past rampage shootings (see also this paper and this related paper) may partially reveal some motivations.
It’s about self-loathing and perceived injustice. And location matters.
Psychologists have long theorized that there’s a connection between rage against others and rage against the self.
According to my findings, the shooter’s likelihood of committing suicide or suicide by cop appears to be 1.16 times higher (controlling for the attacker’s age and sex) for each additional victim that is killed. This suggests that those who have the most rage toward others – and therefore end up killing the most victims – would also feel the most guilty and ashamed about their crimes. They are therefore more likely to engage in “self-punishment” via suicide or suicide by cop. After the initial explosion of rage causes them to open fire, active shooters who see many dead or dying victims around them may feel a correspondingly higher need for self-punishment than shooters with fewer victims.
Spree killers are cowards who hate themselves. Sounds about right.