The situation of the recent killings in theaters are identified as serial killing under criminology. The act of murdering innocent victims as they watch a movie or engage in another activity demonstrates the desensitization to violence that some people have learned to feel. The sad thing is that the more these types of acts occur, the more desensitized people become to these acts because of over exposure by media (Faria, 2013).
The act of violence through killing multiple people in public places has led to a profile of an adult male, usually Caucasian, who is a loner. The person has a history of being quiet and internalizes his feelings against society. The person also develops a fascination with weapons.
Some theoretical explanations for the person's actions may include the person's belief that he has been treated unfairly by society and desires to seek revenge. Another theory is that the individual has felt a loss of power throughout his life and desires to hold power. The power to end a person's life is a god-like power.
Mental illness also plays a role in how the person's mind operates. However, if a person can identify the difference between right and wrong at the time of the act, mental illness cannot be claimed as a defense. Considering that most of the acts involved the person planning for the attacks in advance, very few can be tried in the courts as mentally incompetent. However, it is important to note that many of the people involved in the recent killings of this type, did not demonstrate symptoms of mental illness around others prior to their actions.
Faria identified the following theories that the public holds the reasons that killings of mass innocents has occurred:
- The American justice system is permissive and indulges criminals.
- The public education system has failed leading to increased dependence on violence.
- Society has become devoid of teaching morals and principals to children.
- The welfare state has led to the alienation of individuals.
- The lax gun control laws support violence.