“What Drives Suicidal Mass Killers” by Adam Lankford

I. Vocabulary Aggrieved- afflicted, depressed, disturbed, grieving Brazen- audacious, barefaced, blatant, bold Martyrdom- sacrifice, torment, torture, unselfishness II. This article is shaped by three words: rampage, fame, and fantasized. Rampage, denotes a state of violent anger or excited behavior. The connotation from this definition will vary depending on personal experiences. A personal association is with the game Rampage! on Nintendo 64. The premise of the game was simple—pick an ugly monster (usually like a giant lizard or dinosaur) and use them to demolish buildings, helicopters, people, cars, etc.

By breaking things, you gain points; whoever destroys the most things at the end of the round, wins. Here rampage does not suggest buildings being crushed or people being eaten, it suggest an unruly baby locked up in a playpen. As a philosopher, Lankford questions every preconceived notion that the audience has; for example, the denotation of fame, which means widespread reputation. Lankford is clever in specifically choosing the word fame, a positive connotation of recognition, as a desire of people who became infamous for negative actions.

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He is implying that the actions of murder-suicide killers contradicted their positive beliefs; beliefs that were overridden by feelings of isolation and neglect. He does not question the definition of the word, but he does challenge our connotations of the word. He assumes that the majority of us believe murder suicide is “the desire to acquire fame and glory through killing. ” But just as a scientist would provide evidence to a religious fanatic who doesn’t believe in evolution, Dr. Lankford uses indisputable evidence to support the contrary: most murder-suicides are not for fame (more than 70 percent take place at home).

Calmly, like a psychiatrist dealing with an A. D. D. patient, he prompts a reaction with fantasizes, which means to conceive extravagant notions or ideas. Almost instinctively, people associate fantasize with children’s imagination, a strange connotation to conceive from a tragic event. This suggest that these killers were innocent people with pure imaginations that were polluted by negative thoughts. Once again, Dr. Lankford debunks the popular misconception that murder-suicide is the result of an irrational, snap decision made by a person that is functioning at a low cognitive capacity.

The answer is actually quite the opposite; most heinous attacks are planned weeks in advance and by people with above average IQs. Most of us would overlook that notion because we don’t believe that anyone could actually be that insane but Lankford proves us wrong when he remarks on the Columbine shooting when gunmen Eric Harris and Dilon Klebold said, “Isn’t it fun to get the respect that we’re going to deserve? ” It’s sickening to consider, but we’re wrong for seeing these people as mindless psychopaths when they are actually mindful geniuses who fantasized about their horrible actions. III.

The word that I found attractive in this article was contradicts. Contradict means to assert the contrary or opposite of. The connotative meanings of it are the evidence of a lie and something that is wrong. Lankford identifies a contradiction between popular conception and the true reasons people commit murder-suicide. He uses words like fantasize and fame to instill positive thoughts in us but then abruptly darkens them by using shrewd evidence to support the contrary. The article epitomizes contradict because when Lankford pretends to validate our beliefs, he dismisses them with facts.

His tone is like a priest preaching a sermon from the Bible and then at the end announcing he does not believe in Christianty. IV. “We should think of many rampage shooters as nonideological suicide-terrorist. ” The word rampage is important because it sets a tone for reckless violence. Terrorists, suggest that the suicide-killers are connected to people that advocate violence. Nonideological contradicts terrorist because it suggest that suicide-killers follow no greater purpose other than to maliciously kill people.

Suicide-killers actually feel like their fighting for a deep, personal cause that is greater than what terrorists would feel for their religious ideologies. “Adam Lanza’s decision to target elementary school children in Newton, Conn. , may have been a calculated attempt to get as much attention as possible. ” Lankford debunks the notion that Lanza only kill for the fame. Target and calculated suggest that Lanza didn’t just kill for the fame, he had powerful emotions associated with the elementary that coerced him to commit the crimes he did. Lankford sarcastically remarks that Lanza did it for “as much attention as people. This doesn’t make sense because if he really wanted attention he would have killed people he had known and not just random kids. Also, if he wanted to attention then he wouldn’t have killed himself. By contradicting the notion that suicide-killers kill for the fame, Lankford addresses the truth that they are just vulnerable people that become victims to emotions, ideas that are too much for people to handle. V. This is a persuasive essay it uses facts to get the reader to reflect on their thoughts so they can draw the line between popular misconception and truth.

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