Yesterday a 17-year-old boy apparently killed three students and wounded two others, with ten shots from a .22 pistol, at a school somewhere in Ohio.
There are no reasons I will publish that will make you believe I have a clue here, but I think I do. I think I understand the sort of detachment from reality that allows one to take a step beyond consideration of the possibility of shooting a person or a bunch of people (the motives are usually less specific when one considers a group).
The New York Times has a story that includes some possibly-illuminating facts.
A couple of incidents in my life, far less serious than "aggravated murder," could easily have gone either way, and had they gone the wrong way, would have profoundly influenced what would have become my current situation.
One morning, T. J. Lane is a fairly typical teenager, with significant anger at what he has to put up with. The next morning, he's killed some people, and the rest of his life is more or less ordained. What has gone on in that boy's mind in a 24-hour period is probably a best-seller if it were put between covers.
I'll go out on a limb and say that most of us have thought that our world would be better off if somebody we know no longer afflicted it. Most of us have gone only as far as thinking how inconvenient it would be to actually have to go to the sonafabitch's house to shoot him, let alone to go to the trouble of trying not to get caught. In the end, most of us decided to have a cocktail and watch some TV.
What was the cost/benefit analysis that T. J. Lane ran in his head during the hours leading up to his action?