What makes someone become a mass murderer?

As the country struggles to come to terms with of one of its worst massacres in recent years, Marie Claire asks what makes someone become a mass murderer?

The country was left shocked after taxi driver Derrick Bird went on a shooting rampage across Cumbria yesterday.

Bird, 52, was a taxi driver in Cumbria who had owned a gun licence for 20 years, leaving many to question what drove him to the apparently senseless massacre, which included firing at complete strangers.

But what do you think could drive a person to such horrific acts? Was Bird mentally ill, perhaps he was one of the 17% of men in the UK suffering with depression, or was it just a simple case of a family dispute acting as the final straw? Do you think anyone could snap in the right circumstances, or are mass murderers pre-determined?

‘Sane and rational people can behave in not sane or rational ways,’ says Criminology professor David Wilson.

‘The motivations aren’t written in a Hollywood script, they come from real human emotions we all feel on a daily basis. We all share that passion, that rage, that discontent, that jealousy, that anger and we are all capable of behaving in these ways. Although thankfully, we rarely do.’

The incident has echoes of the Hungerford and Dunblane massacres where lone gunman went on shooting

sprees in their local area, killing several people at random before turning the gun on themselves, as Bird did yesterday.

Perhaps you feel the media are partially to blame, by glamorising violence and offering notoriety for the gunmen after they’re gone? In the Hungerford shooting, killer Michael Ryan was seen strutting around wearing ‘Rambo-style’ combat gear firing two guns at random, possibly supporting the view that the glorification of guns is responsible?

As Bird held a gun licence for 20 years, do you think we should ban semi-automatic weapons altogether, or is it unfair to punish other legal gun users? Do you think there is any justification for individuals to keep guns in their homes?

It is the divisive issue that has got the whole world talking and we want to hear from you. So whatever your views please leave your comments below… 

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