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Historical spree killers

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    Posted: 23 Jul 2011 at 11:35
As I'm due to my low post count prevented from contributing to the thread on yesterday's horrific murders in Norway, and as this is an history forum after all, I would be interested in the historical aspects of such deeds.
In other words, I would like to find out, if such events are a relatively recent phenomenon, facilitated by the use of firearms, or have there been instances in history, lets say before the onset of modernity, where the same pattern occured. I don't mean mass slaughters like medieval anti-semitic pogroms or events like the Sicilain Vesper, but incidences where, like yesterday, individuals or a very small group of individuals embarked on a massacre that lasted only a short amount of time.
 
A short search in the net didn't turn up any results before 1800, so it might be a modern disease, but maybe you can come up with something!


Edited by bagrat - 23 Jul 2011 at 11:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2011 at 11:52
Interesting question. The only thing that springs immediately to mind are the tales of Viking 'berserkers', 'legitimate' release of maniacal frenzy having been better provided for (!) in some periods.
 
Not unrelated though may be the fact that schizophrenia is a syndrome (?) the symptoms of which are generally unreported before about 1800 CE.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bagrat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2011 at 12:11
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

The only thing that springs immediately to mind are the tales of Viking 'berserkers', 'legitimate' release of maniacal frenzy having been better provided for (!) in some periods.
 
But weren't the Viking bezerkers simply an everyday working people, psyched up by drugs and role-playing exercises in order to increase their production rate at work, namely during  their annual company excursions to the continent.
Not so much a single instance of mindless violence, but a self endorsed exercise to survive another season of pillage and plunder!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2011 at 12:35
Originally posted by bagrat bagrat wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

The only thing that springs immediately to mind are the tales of Viking 'berserkers', 'legitimate' release of maniacal frenzy having been better provided for (!) in some periods.
 
But weren't the Viking bezerkers simply an everyday working people, psyched up by drugs and role-playing exercises in order to increase their production rate at work, namely during  their annual company excursions to the continent.
Not so much a single instance of mindless violence, but a self endorsed exercise to survive another season of pillage and plunder!
No, they certainly weren't everyday workers. I'll come back and elaborate later, but right now I'm stunned by the reports of the loon at Utöya.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2011 at 13:47
A single man can't go into a killing spree without modern weapons. If somebody tried to kill lot of people with a sword, certainly would be killed before many other people died.
Killers have existed in all historical times, but it is the authomatic weapons industry which has given us this new problem. I wonder why we can't demand the gun manufacturers for theirs crimes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mixcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2011 at 13:58
Another example would be running amok, a Malay expression which seems to be the same thing as spree killing.

Says the Wiki:
Quote In a typical case of running amok, a male who has shown no previous sign of anger or any inclination to violence will acquire a weapon, traditionally a sword or dagger, but presently a variety of weapons are used, and, in a sudden frenzy, will attempt to kill or seriously injure anyone he encounters. Amok typically takes place in a well populated or crowded area. Amok episodes of this kind normally end with the attacker being killed by bystanders, or committing suicide, citing theories that amok may be a form of intentional suicide in cultures where suicide is heavily stigmatized. For those who do not commit suicide or are killed typically black out and upon regaining consciousness, claim amnesia.

The western world was made known of amok upon reading the journals of Captain James Cook, who was a British explorer in the mid to late 18th century. He discovered firsthand the practice of amok in 1770 during his voyage around the world. He wrote about witnessing individuals behaving in a reckless, violent manner, without cause and “indiscriminately killing and maiming villagers and animals in a frenzied attack.”
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2011 at 14:42
Is there such a thing as a female spree killer?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mixcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2011 at 14:52
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Is there such a thing as a female spree killer?

Brenda Ann Spencer comes to mind. She opened fire at an elementary school across the street where she was living, killing 2 people. IIRC she was even a minor when she did it. The song 'I don't like Mondays' (which was her motivation) was inspired by the incident.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2011 at 21:23
I don't know if it just me, but doesn't it seem (at least in America) all psycho killers, murderers, and all out weirdos are white? you never hear about a black person killing just for kicks, or because some voice told him too. The only one that I can think of, is the DC sniper.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jul 2011 at 22:58

You obviously forgot the worst spree killer of all time and his weapon..... hundreds boxes of kool-aid. No guns, no knives, just juice and poison.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bagrat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2011 at 13:09
Originally posted by SPQR SPQR wrote:

I don't know if it just me, but doesn't it seem (at least in America) all psycho killers, murderers, and all out weirdos are white? you never hear about a black person killing just for kicks, or because some voice told him too. The only one that I can think of, is the DC sniper.
 
So it seems, but a quick glance at Wiki's comprehensive List of rampage killers reveals that it is not an exclusively white activity, but that it occures in all ethnic groups.
Your assumption probably is the result of the interest in such cases by the Amero-European dominated global media , which does find a massacre in a remote province of China not quite as noteworthy as a spree killing in a school in the USA or Germany.
What is obvious however, is that that mass killings seem to be an almost exclusively male preoccupation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2011 at 14:01
It's not that the 'Anglo-European' media are dominant but that 'Anglo-Europeans' like to see/read their own news just as other ethnic/national groups do. Notorious headlines genuine ("Fog in Channel - Continent cut off") or invented by such as Claud Cockburn ("Small earthquake in Chile - Not many killed") reflect the culture of the target reader as they always have and always will.
 
I doubt that the Hungerford massacre got heavy coverage in Beijing.    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2011 at 14:22
Originally posted by SPQR SPQR wrote:

I don't know if it just me, but doesn't it seem (at least in America) all psycho killers, murderers, and all out weirdos are white? you never hear about a black person killing just for kicks, or because some voice told him too. The only one that I can think of, is the DC sniper.


Remember Rwanda, and you'll see that geneocide and mass murder exist among blacks as well.

I don't know why the Americans don't see it that mass murder is possible because the availability of authomatic weapons and rifle associations.
Devasting weapons should be preserved for the police, only. And, sure, for the army as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2011 at 15:15
I'm also against that availability but you do shoot yourself in the foot somewhat there. Much of the Central African massacres were done using knives.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2011 at 16:27
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

It's not that the 'Anglo-European' media are dominant but that 'Anglo-Europeans' like to see/read their own news just as other ethnic/national groups do. Notorious headlines genuine ("Fog in Channel - Continent cut off") or invented by such as Claud Cockburn ("Small earthquake in Chile - Not many killed") reflect the culture of the target reader as they always have and always will.
 
I doubt that the Hungerford massacre got heavy coverage in Beijing.    
 
It definitely got coverage here (although in the main news bulletins since Arab news stations didn't exist back then) but the most recent spree killing in the UK (was it last year) did get some coverage.
 
Spree killings here are not covered by our own media let alone the foreign (unless they have an exceptionally high death toll) usually to keep heads cool and not incurre a tribal war. One of the worst happened 3 years ago when a man killed 6 brothers and the son of one of the men. This was a tribal affair and nearly lead to a war. Hundreds of special forces personell were deployed to the town and the entire clan of the killer was moved to another city.
 
Another guy opened fire in a mosque during friday prayers and threw grenades killing a dozen people. He was chased and killed three days later.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bagrat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2011 at 16:39
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

I'm also against that availability but you do shoot yourself in the foot somewhat there. Much of the Central African massacres were done using knives.
Isn't that another argument for a total ban of fire-arms?
Without a gun, you can't shoot yourself in the foot!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 2011 at 22:08
As for Afro-Americans, the "D.C. Sniper" pair were African American, though their spree was a bit more limited in casualties,it did meet its objective, which was sowing terror among the Beltway populace. And as for crime regarding any nation or ethnic group, the crimes have to be reported, and the national news willing to pick it up before outsiders will ever hear anything. we should not allow our world of near-instant communication to lull us into the belief that we receive the world's news as it happens. The internet is no different that the proverbial ship at sea and lighthouse. The ship can only receive what the lighthouse sends out, or in the case of the internet, what millions of candles in the wind send out.

Edited by lirelou - 24 Jul 2011 at 22:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2011 at 11:33
But the willingness of the national news to pick it up depends on the habitual interest of the outsider.
 
The fact that the Luxembourg press never carries cricket or baseball scores is not due to wome media conspiracy against summer sports, but merely due to the fact that its readers are not in the least interested in them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bagrat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2011 at 12:31
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

It's not that the 'Anglo-European' media are dominant but that 'Anglo-Europeans' like to see/read their own news just as other ethnic/national groups do. Notorious headlines genuine ("Fog in Channel - Continent cut off") or invented by such as Claud Cockburn ("Small earthquake in Chile - Not many killed") reflect the culture of the target reader as they always have and always will.
 
I doubt that the Hungerford massacre got heavy coverage in Beijing.    
Sure, but is it not the case that the media corporations that have a global range of coverage, are based in North-America and Europe, and therefore tend to have a slight bias on reporting events in these regions?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jul 2011 at 19:45
Al Jazeera, Tass, AFP?
 
Of course those who run media companies select what they believe will interest their target audience most. What else would they do?
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