Notoriety Drives Mass Shooters

Thirst for fame and scandal-hungry media make for dangerous combo, doctor says

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 10, 2008 3:19 PM CST

(Newser) – Gunfire ripped out across the country last week in a spate of deadly shootings that were unrelated but for one haunting thread: the shooters’ desire for attention, a forensic psychiatrist tells ABC News. “We have to take the Paris Hilton attention-seeking out of crime, or innocent people will be killed,” Dr. Michael Welner says.

The shooters in Missouri, Louisiana, and Illinois all felt ignored, explains Welner, who’s urging the media to shift attention from the criminals to the victims. “We should not be focusing on the manifesto. We should be focusing on the suffering,” he says, noting that the would-be Super Bowl gunman turned himself in because “he focused on humanity of the victims.”

Greg Zanis, of Sugar Grove, Ill., puts up five crosses and leaves flowers in front of the Lane Bryant store at the Brookside shopping center in Tinley Park, Ill., Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008. A gunman fatally...   (Associated Press)
Charles Lee "Cookie" Thornton is seen in this undated photo provided by the Webster-Kirkwood Times. Thornton was identified by witnesses as the gunman who opened fire at a city council meeting Thursday...   (Associated Press)
A makeshift memorial for those killed in a shooting rampage lies in front of the Kirkwood City Hall where the shootings occurred Friday, in Kirkwood, Mo., in this Feb. 8, 2008 file photo. A gunman opened...   (Associated Press)
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