Immediately after the Columbine shootings in 1999, an FBI profiler named Mary Ellen O’Toole began studying school shootings and the personality types of perpetrators, delving into Columbine and 18 previous school shootings.
For the next 16 years, beyond her retirement from the FBI, O’Toole expanded her research to include all “injustice collectors.” An injustice collector is someone who magnifies trivial “injustices” (real or imagined), believes the injustices are “intentional and purposeful” and collects them until he forms an encompassing perspective of himself/herself as a victim of bullying, discrimination and disrespect.
Injustice collectors come in the “non-aggressive” and “dangerous” varieties. A dangerous injustice collector has at least 1 incident of lashing out aggressively and excessively to a supposed injustice.
O’Toole and Gary Noesner, co-creator of the FBI’s hostage negotiation unit and its chief negotiator for 10 years, both deem dangerous injustice collectors “the most dangerous individuals that we face in society.”
O’Toole and Noesner see many common denominators in dangerous injustice collectors who have perpetrated shooting massacres. First, the mass shooting rarely comes out of the blue: the person has exhibited undue aggression before. Secondly, “triviality” is a hallmark of the injustice collector: he becomes enraged by trivial matters, often involving complete strangers. Third, he wants to be heard and to exact revenge, even if he is killed in the process. Fourth, the revenge is often perpetrated on people who have nothing to do with the supposed injustice because the injustice collector is seeking as much exposure as possible. Fifth, his grievances commonly correspond with incidents in which he was actually the problem. Sixth, he typically refuses to take responsibility for his actions, never or rarely seeing fault in himself/herself. Seventh, he has almost no coping mechanisms for anger management. He is full of emotions and constantly working up to the boiling point. Eighth, he tends to be egocentric and narcissistic, having a false sense of superiority over others. Ninth, his stated grievances are not the real reasons for his murderous rage; the real reason for his murderous rage is that he hates. Tenth, once the rampage starts, he is very hard to defuse.
Whether the murderous rampage was by Eric Harris at Columbine, ex-LA cop Christopher Dorner, ex-TV journalist Vester Flanagan, college student Elliot Rodger, or other dangerous injustice collectors, the same disturbing and obvious characteristics arise again and again. O’Toole’s assessment of ex-TV journalist Vester Flanagan as a dangerous injustice collector can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty_bGnsAv6w
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