From Columbine to Palestine: A comparative analysis of rampage shooters in the United States and volunteer suicide bombers in the Middle East
Previous research comparing rampage shooters in the U.S. and volunteer suicide bombers in the Middle East appears to be virtually non-existent. When these two types of suicidal killers have been mentioned in the same context, it has primarily been to dismiss any possible connections. Rampage shooters are generally assumed to be mentally unbalanced, while suicide bombers are seen as extreme, but rational, political actors. However, this review explores the possibility that the primary differences between the two types of killers are cultural, not individual, and that in terms of their underlying psychology and motivation, they are actually quite similar. In both cases, substantial evidence indicates that these perpetrators of murder-suicide share many of the following characteristics: (1) they had troubled childhoods, (2) they lived in oppressive social environments, (3) they suffered from low self-esteem, (4) they were triggered by a personal crisis, (5) they were seeking revenge, and (6) they were seeking fame and glory. (c) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.