Jiverly Wong killed 13, then himself
Friday’s massacre in Binghamton, New York left 13 people dead, 4 wounded, and a city stunned. Prior to the rampage, the gunman, a 41 year-old Vietnamese immigrant named Jiverly Wong, told peers “America sucks,” and complained about people mocking his accent. Wong turned the immigration center where he was taking English classes into a bloodbath, barricading the door and opening fire on the inhabitants. He committed suicide at the site.
Wong’s personality is a near perfect fit for the profile of a mass murderer. As for his rampage, it’s eerily familiar. We’ve seen this horrific scene play out over and over again. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 students at Virginia Polytec, before taking his own life in 2007. Canadian Marc Lépine committed suicide after murdering 14 women on a Montreal campus in 1989. Sniper Charles Whitman fatally wounded 14 people from his perch in the University of Texas clock tower in 1966, and then turned the gun on himself. The list goes on. It’s startling how similar these offenders—and their crimes—are.
Criminologists divide mass murderers into two categories:
1. Those who choose targets they blame for their failure, stress, or unhappiness. Jiverly Wong, who believed people at the immigration center were ridiculing him, falls under this category. Disgruntled employees who open fire in the workplace also fit in here.
2. Those who single out members of groups they resent and/or dislike. In 1993, Colin Ferguson, a Jamaican immigrant, sought out white commuters to shoot on a Long Island Rail Road train because disliked caucasians. At trial, Ferguson claimed he was suffering from “black rage” at being oppressed by white people.
Mass murder is committed in one location (or locations close in proximity), without a cooling off period, and involves the killing of at least three people. (Spree killings, on the other hand, take place over days, weeks, or months and occur in numerous locations.) Typically, mass murderers are between 35-45 years old and are plagued by feelings of hopelessness, extreme anger, and resentment. They almost always use firearms and dispatch with their victims as quickly as possible. What’s more, they often commit suicide at the crime scene, before police can apprehend them.
Additionally, the FBI has identified two types of mass murder: classic mass murder, which can involve strangers or targets known to the killer; and family mass murder, which also usually ends with the perpetrator committing suicide. We’ve seen several of these latter crimes recently in California. Those who kill their families are known as “family annihilators.”
Although the history book is littered with mass murders, we know much less about these offenders than we do about serial killers. The tendency of mass murderers to end their crimes by committing suicide makes it all the more difficult to study them.Post Categories: Crime & Justice
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