Blog ravings checklist for violent act: expert:
Date: Sep 15, 2006 8:34 AM
PUBLICATION: National Post
EDITION: Toronto / Late
BYLINE: Chris Lackner
SOURCE: CanWest News Service
WORD COUNT: 493
Robin Kowalski, a psychologist who co-wrote a comprehensive study on
school shooters, says the 25-year-old Kimveer Gill fits every pattern
her colleagues uncovered.
"When I read his blog material, it was almost like I was running down a
checklist," Ms. Kowalski said from her office at Wake Forest University,
N.C. "You hate to say that this was waiting to happen, but the
foundation for this violent act was clearly laid out long before it took
Gill's Web musings, posted on VampireFreaks.com under the alias
"fatality666," reveal a man who, according to Ms. Kowalski, unmistakably
fitted the profile of a potential killer.
"I love guns, I love guns -- I really do," Gill wrote on March 15. "The
great equalizer -- wouldn't you say?"
In another entry, posted on Jan. 18, Gill wrote about his hatred for
jocks and "preps" -- convictions that are eerily similar to those held
by infamous Columbine High School shooters Eric Harris and Dylan
Ms. Kowalski said Gill's thoughts reveal a time bomb filled with hate
for his peers, teachers, family members, authority figures and society.
Gill's case features the five prevailing factors established by Ms.
Kowalski's research, a study of 15 high-profile school shootings between
1995 and 2001: obsession with guns and death, feelings of ongoing
rejection (either bullying, social isolation or romantic rejection),
psychological problems such as sociopathic tendencies and depression and
"acute rejection" -- a final event that pushes a shooter over the edge.
"Just like the Columbine shooters in 1999, the jocks and preps must have
been the ones that Gill felt bullied him," Ms. Kowalski said.
"He writes that guns are the great equalizer. For all those who rejected
him and made him feel like nothing, he was trying to show those people
that he was something -- that he had power."
Ms. Kowalski, also the associate editor of the Journal of Social and
Clinical Psychology, said she believes the final catalyst for Gill's
shooting rampage may have been a failed romance or unrequited love. In
his blog, Gill discusses meeting a like-minded woman through
On at least two occasions, he discusses a general longing for, or loss
of, love, once asking, "Where is my Juliet?" In another entry on Feb.
he states, "They make you fall in love with them and then they run
McGill professor Michael Hoechsmann hypothesized that Gill lived in a
violence-soaked dream world where video games and horror movies blurred
the lines between imaginary killing and the real-life horror of spraying
bullets from an automatic gun.
"Perhaps this young person was living a sort of simulated life," Mr.
Hoechsmann, an education professor, said.
"He had lost sight of the boundaries between the fictional and the real.
"He was so immersed in a media culture where the films he consumed, the
video games he played, the music he listened to and the goth culture he
supposedly inhabited became for him the spectrum of his little identity
"He's stepped into the screen, acted out a fictional self and created a
People who strike out so violently often harbour deep resentment about
incidents where they have failed to fit into society, said University of
Western Ontario psychologist Alan Leschield. They live in isolation and
become desensitized to violence through constant exposure to violent