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Munich Shooter Analysis

Analysis of the Munich Shooter

This Munich shooter has a profile very reminiscent of a school shooter. Bullied, socially isolated, psychological issues, and withdrawn into a fantasy video game world where he can feel “powerful” to compensate for perceived inadequacies.

Another common theme in the Munich shooter profile is that he planned the attack for over a year, researching other mass shootings to draw inspiration. He then acquired a weapon in a country with very strict gun control laws, and made his final plans. The young man acted out his rage over perceived insults, no doubt just like in his favorite video game; killing as many defenseless teenagers as possible. Its surprising that the incident didn’t take place on school grounds.

Munich Shooter Another “Lone Wolf”

Hindsight is always 20/20 after an attack like this. The young man followed a very traceable and predictable (if anyone had been watching) path toward mass violence. The problem with the Munich shooter and all other “lone wolves” like him is that they are very difficult to detect and predict.

By definition, lone wolves become socially isolated. Once they do, and if no one is paying attention, the path toward violence typically accelerates. Of course, it’s human nature to leave someone alone who wants to be left alone, giving them their space.

Our ability to detect and prevent an attack like the Munich shooter depends on being able to observe the killer’s behavior. Also, clearly and thankfully, not everyone who becomes socially isolated ends up being a mass killer. This makes it very easy to live in a state of reasonable denial that our friend, relative, or coworker isn’t going to be the next news headline. But what if they are?

How Do we Prevent Another Munich Shooter?munich shooter

Another Munich shooter or any active shooter is difficult to identify until its too late. However, it is possible. The first challenge is to identify the behaviors that one displays when they are headed down a violent path. The second challenge is that not everyone who displays certain behaviors is necessarily on their way to an act of mass violence. So you need to know how to filter.

For example, I mentioned social isolation as a pre-incident indicator. While its true that lone wolves, like the Munich shooter, become socially isolated prior to an attack. There are also many reasons for someone to withdraw socially. Most of those reasons have to do with psychological issues. But it does not mean that the person in the next office who is depressed is going to bring a gun to work tomorrow.

The best way to prevent the next Munich shooter is to pay attention and show concern for those around you. If someone in your office has withdrawn, ask them how they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to show concern. However, if that person has withdrawn, become fascinated with mass killers, and keeps talking about weapons, it might be time to reach out to a security professional.

You never know, you might just prevent the next Munich shooter.


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