Spree Killing and Spree Killers
CRJ 451 Homicide Investigation & Evidence Gathering
Instructor: Gary Naylor
March 28, 2011
Spree killings differ from serial killings in that the perpetrator bears a grudge and eventually some incident, sometimes identifiable or sometimes only guessed at, causes him to flip and he immediately commits a killing spree, shooting those he sees as responsible for his predicament, and sometimes randomly shooting and killing people who he sees as representative of those who have failed or rejected him. Rejection is a common trigger in violence. Sometimes the killing appears spontaneous, but most often it is planned, even if the precise date and times are not. In most cases, the spree killing ends with the gunman shooting him or being shot dead by police officers. (Lavergne, Gary M., (1997).
In many cases of spree killings, the gunman appears to have been a victim of abuse or a target of bullying, often many years, and sometimes throughout his life. The bullying and abuse have built resentment which culminates in a violent outburst. A triggering event occurs, which may be minor in nature but is the last straw; the individual reaches his breaking point and extracts revenge on those he perceives as responsible for his circumstances, or responsible for failing to deal with his allegations. He may phrase this “accountability” or “retribution” or “reckoning” depending on his state of mind. He may emphasize the lack of respect he’s gotten throughout his life. He might also unwittingly allude to his delusional thinking processes by inferring how his act will finally bring him that respect. (Fox, James Allen and Jack Levin, (1996). The Whitman’s story stands out for many reasons the University of Texas Towers played an important role from which he fired almost without hindrance for 96 minutes. It was as if it has been built for his purpose. Charlie has remarked offhandedly to various people that a sniper could do quite a bit of damage from the tower. (Laverne, Gary M., (1997)). Charles Whitman came from a wealthy, prominent family in Lake Worth, Florida. He was a gifted student, an accomplished pianist, and an Eagle Scout. But the trappings of the Whitman home concealed turmoil. C. A. Whitman, Charlie’s father was a self-made man, a plumber who had worked and willed his way to the top of his profession and into polite society. He tolerated no weakness in any of his three sons, and he rules his home dictatorially. C. A. Whitman would occasionally beat his wife, and he would discipline his sons equally harsh, often with belts, paddles, and his fists to make sure they complied with his rules and met his expectations. Their home was the nicest in the neighborhood, with all the amenities and a swimming pool; but the luxuries sis nothing to alleviate the troubles with the Whitman household. (Newton, Michael, (1988)) On June of 1959, shortly before Charlie Whitman’s 18th birthday, tension with his father came to a head. Upon C. A. beating him and throwing him into the pool, where he nearly drowned Charlie applied to enlist into the United States Marine Corps. He left for basic training on June 6, 1959. Charlie spent the first part of his stint with the Marines at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. He worked hard at being a good Marine, following orders dutifully and studying hard for his various examinations. He scored extremely high on the shooting tests showing that he scored 215 out 250 possible points, that he excelled at rapid fire from long distance, and that he seemed to be accurate when shooting at moving targets. After years of belittlement and abuse form his father, he was anxious to prove himself as a man. Taking every opportunity for advancement was a chance to distance himself from his brutal upbringing. (Newton, Michael, (1988)). Charlie was admitted into the University of Texas in Austin on September 15, 1961. After years of rigid discipline at home and regimented...
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