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December 17th, 2012
10:23 AM ET

Psychology Professor James Garabino discusses the mind of a young shooter

As we honor the 27 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, the focus turns to how to prevent this from happening again. James Garabino has worked with troubled youth and was granted the only interview by Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold’s parents. He speaks with Soledad and John about getting inside the head of Adam Lanza.

A psychology professor at Loyola University in Chicago, Garabino shares a common thread among many shooters, “usually tempermentally, they’re particularly sensitive, a little bit odd. They experience social rejection.”

To prevent rejection from manifesting into this kind of rage, this behavior needs to be understood. Garabino explains, “They get fixated on this delusion, this idea, that somehow this grandiose act of violence will make their lives resolved, that it will deal with their profound sadness. It will give back to the world something that they feel has been done to them.”

The author of “Lost Boys: How Our Sons Turn Violent and How You Can Save Them,” has interviewed many young boys, both that have carried out a mass shooting and those that have been prevented. What he found was that, though the plan seems unbelievable to most people, to these kids, they seem right. “It doesn’t make sense from the outside, but inside, all of the killers, inside this makes sense to them,” he says.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Mo

    Thank you for correcting the misinformation about autism. I too have family members with autism. I was getting upset with media connecting autism & premeditated violence.

    In response to the chatter today about an inability to do much when a child is mentally ill, can you have Dr. Gardere & possibly Paul Calllan (sp?) speak to the fact that in NYS there are options? For instance, parents can go to court to get an order that allows them to have authority over their mentally ill children well into adulthood. We've had to do this in my family. It takes effort, but so far so good. My family member stays on his meds, etc. & when he doesn't his mom can intervene.

    December 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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