Thoughts of a Killer

George Sodini’s recent shooting spree at a Pittsburgh health club is fortunately a rare occurrence in the US—despite the widespread media attention that similar incidents of gun violence have garnered.

What may be different about Sodini’s morbid act is that he evidently kept an online diary up to the day before the tragedy.

Yesterday morning, several news sites linked to Sodini’s blog, but access to the site was quickly removed as I am certain investigators were just learning about the writings. The national reports then offered paraphrased versions and excerpts of the killer’s words.

I originally saw the full Sordini journal as posted by an alert reader over at Vox Day’s site prior to the site being blocked.

I now see that it is now posted in several other places including**Warning, if you do read the linked full version, it is unedited and contains offensive language and content** this link at ABC News.

After reading Sodini's uncut blog, here are my observations:

• His writings appear much different from many spree killers*—no incoherent rants, no psychotic repetition, basically the ill frustrations of a lonely guy. It is apparent that his anger targeting women dominated his thinking and it carries over into the other aspects of his life (hating youth, his father and mother, the rest of his family, holidays, Christians, persons of different races, etc.).

• Sordini rehearsed the shooting spree multiple times. Several months prior, the killer even arrived at the gym with his firearms loaded with the intent of implementing his evil act before “chickening out,” as he described it. This reminded me of how the Virginia Tech shooter Cho practiced his plan days prior to the incident.

From the witness accounts, the shooter even turned off the lights in the exercise room prior to opening fire.

• The shooter feels that he is being made to do this by society (as a relationship outcast)—he exhibits no remorse. He even lists what he hates about his family, and it is surprising that he did not act violently against them as well.

• It was odd with Sordini’s fixation on sexual issues (descriptions of watching his neighbors, talking to young girls, looking at teen Internet chat areas, etc.) that there was not an escalation of criminal behavior prior to the murders. During the months of no blog updates, it would almost seem that Sordini would have been involved in at the least peeping tom or prowler type behaviors in an attempt to satisfy his internal issues.

• Sordini described being retained twice after his company downsized and was even recently promoted. He seems to like his new boss and describes him in a positive manner. Though his last few entries indicate that the he believed his job would be eliminated soon.

• I have not seen any interviews with his family or coworkers, but I would expect them to be shocked by this incident—-much different from the reactions of persons exposed to the Columbine and VA Tech shooters prior to their murderous rampages.

With Sordini's online writings and evidence that he described would be found at his residence after the incident, at least investigators in this instance will have a relatively clear understanding of the thoughts of a killer.

*Note: Forensic psychologists interviewed in one article do not agree with my assessment that Sordini's writings are in contrast to a psychotic mass killer. Certainly his thinking is abnormal, but I am not convinced by the arguments of the experts--especially with this quote from the news story:

...The loner, who feels he was neglected as a child and seeks attention through killing, fits the classic profile for a mass shooter, law enforcement officials said. Forensic psychologists who study killers told ABC that judging from Sodini's writings he was likely severely depressed and felt that the shooting was the one way he could garner people's interest in him...
I am not sure if you asked those around Sordini that they would consider him "a loner"--though he felt that about himself.

In addition, it seems that he was motivated by revenge against perceived wrongs as opposed by being noticed. It sounds to me more like a bit of Monday morning quaterbacking by the experts (we can see this but you, as the uneducated public, cannot).


Stephanie Faris said...

I agree with you. I minored in psychology in college and this doesn't fit the profiles we heard in the criminal psychology class I took. Heck, who COULDN'T say they felt like they needed a little more attention as a child? There are a lot of people who fit that profile. The scary thing is, his writings remind me of a few men who used to frequent my blog over on MySpace...bitter, angry at women, that sort of thing. Sometimes a few of those men scared me.

J. J. in Phila said...

I will say this, I've known a number of people that are, well, out there, but are completely functional in work situations.

Jody Hedlund said...

Interesting thoughts. It's always hard to read the motivations and intents behind what people do. We can only speculate.

Thanks for swinging by my blog! I do think that everyone needs to determine why they're blogging. You're right, not everyone has the need to build a web presence. It really depends on why we're blogging.

Debbie said...

I'm also a Psychology major and these events fascinate me in some ways, and yet I know a blog is only a sliver of reflection of any one person's life. Looking at the blog, interviews of people who observed him at work and social settings, and more combine to build a bigger profile - much of which we "uneducated" people will really never see.

The tragedy is that he felt lonely in a world of over 6 billion people - and it was FEELINGS (which are NOT always based in fact) that drove him to his actions.

In a "do what feels good" instant-gratification world where actions are based on sometimes frivolous, often narrow, perspectives - its not shocking to see such behavior. It's tragic and unfortunate, for sure - but not entirely surprising anymore.

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

Yikes! The diary entries are pretty specific. Normally, rantings or subtle threats might be ignored, but how did this stuff get past the internet police? Didn't anyone see it and report it?

My condolences to the families and all affected.

MK said...

I hope he's dead or on death row heading that way.