What characteristics are unique to the type of killer who walks into a mall and murders strangers?
Jack Levin: First of all, the shopping mall episode in Omaha was very rare. Actually, it’s the rarest form of mass murder. How rare? Every year in this country there are no more than 20 mass killings involving four or more victims. Almost half of them are family annihilations. Maybe another 30 percent are workplace homicides … About 20 percent—about four or five massacres—are committed against absolute strangers in places like shopping malls. It’s very unusual for the killer to open fire on strangers. He’s much more likely to be selective in his choice of victims. He chooses those individuals he perceives as part of the conspiracy against him, so in this case I would have predicted that the killer in Omaha would have opened fire on his boss or the supervisor that had fired him, or maybe on his girlfriend because she had rejected him. Instead he went on a suicidal rampage against all of humankind. The notion of just indiscriminately killing people you don’t even know indicates there was