The Making of a Sociopathic Killer: A List of Risk Factors for School Shooters

school shooters

By Gary G. Kohls, MD, guest to Natural Blaze

(And The FBI’s Deadly, Deceptive Blind Spot)

“Our hopeless, futureless, jobless, parentless, abused, neglected, over-indulged, unloved, sleep-deprived, mal-nourished, over-vaccinated, over-drugged and bullied “loners” represent what can be considered America’s new normal.”

Ho hum, there was another mass shooting at another school a few days ago.

This one was at an Oregon junior college. It  happens to be the 142nd school shooting since Sandy Hook (see: HERE for the entire list), and no mainstream journalist is asking (or, if he knows, his editors are not allowing him to reveal the answer to) the pertinent question that people who truly want to understand the epidemic need to know: “What brain-damaging, addictive psych drug(s) was this brain-altered shooter taking or withdrawing from?”

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There is an immense amount of evidence that legally prescribed psychiatric drugs are major contributors to acts of violence. This evidence has been gathered (and even published [in peer reviewed journals and alternative media outlets that don’t take advertising revenue from Big Pharma]) by a number of science writers, pharmaceutical industry whistle-blowers, courageous neuroscientists, good investigative journalists and a multitude of silenced psychiatric drug survivors. The range of acts of violence by Drug-intoxicated psych patients range from self-harm to suicidal thinking to suicidal attempts to homicidal thinking to mass murder, and the media is silent on the psych drug connection. (For more on the large variety of aberrant behaviors strongly linked to the so-called SSRI antidepressants, go to

It is important to acknowledge that the mainstream media’s uber-wealthy corporate media owners profit mightily from Big Pharma’s prime time advertising. It is also important to acknowledge that these media elites also profit mightily from their Wall Street investments in the pharmaceutical industry sector. Given those realities it is just good business sense to suppress any unwelcome information that would adversely impact their corporate or personal bottom lines. And so the McCarthy-era black-listing of truth-tellers, uncorrupted scientists, authors, whistle-blowers and real journalists is the norm wherever corporations and the wealthy elite rule.

The four lists below identify particular personality traits and behaviors (as well as issues of family, school and social dynamics) that the FBI regards as important risk factors for many forms of violence, especially in the case of the American childhood and adolescent school shooters. The complete file, which is entitled: THE SCHOOL SHOOTER: A THREAT ASSESSMENT PERSPECTIVE, from which I have excerpted (and edited, in some cases) what I regard as the most useful information, can be accessed by googling the title.

As a physician that practiced holistic, non-drug, mental health care during the last ten years of my family practice career, and who has studied our uniquely American School Shooter epidemic, I agree with the content of these lists. However, as I will point out, item D3 (The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol) is woefully – and deceptively – inadequate.

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I have personally and very carefully listened to the horrific stories of over a thousand psychologically-traumatized (and subsequently drug-intoxicated) patients who sought my care. All of them had been labeled with a large variety of “mental illnesses of unknown cause”. Many of my patients confessed to me that I was the first doctor to have asked about their stories, listened to them or even seemed to care about the origins of their mental health issues. Virtually all of my patients had been told by their psychiatrists that they would have to be on drugs for the rest of their lives.

Virtually all of my patients had tried to stop or cut down on the drugs that they knew were sickening them. Each time they tried to stop the offending drug, they experienced totally new withdrawal symptoms, but when they saw their psychiatrist, rather than acknowledging that they were suffering serious withdrawal symptoms from their dependency-inducing drug, they were told that their “mental illness of unknown cause” was coming back. Too often they were also told to resume the drug, possibly at a higher dosage and even have a new drug added to counteract the new symptoms. And, all-too-often, they were shamed for not being compliant with “doctor’s orders”.

The cartoon below is from the pen of a colleague of mine. Martha Rosenberg is a health care journalist and brilliant cartoonist. She recently wrote an important book, “Born With a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks, and Hacks Pimp the Public Health”. Her insightful articles and cartoons tell the truth about America’s broken mental health care industry, effectively pointing out the hazards of “trial-and-error” drugging by the psychiatry industry. To access more of her courageous journalism, google “Martha Rosenberg cartoons” or “Martha Rosenberg articles”.)

Because of my insider experience dealing with many wounded survivors of psychiatry and the psycho-pharmaceutical industry, I have learned a lot about the dark side of those two industries. I have chosen to perform my ethical duty to warn potential future victims by pointing out the dangers of the widespread use of brain-altering psychotropic drugs, which have often been prescribed “off label”, in various untested dosages and untested combinations of drugs, most of which have NOT been approved by the FDA for use in the 18 or younger population, which is the average age of America’s school shooters, (whose brains have not fully developed).

Consistently – and Intentionally(?) – Ignoring the Teachable Moments That Follow Each Mass Shooting

In my various past writings (many of which are accessible by googling “Duluth Reader Duty to Warn”), I have repeatedly pointed out much of the overwhelming – albeit black-listed – evidence that psych drugs and the tendency to commit violence are intimately connected. Drug-induced violence is well-known for the illicit or frowned upon drugs like amphetamine, meth, cocaine, LSD, various hallucinogens, and especially alcohol, whose small molecule molecular structures are not much different than the legal prescription psych drugs.

Such drug-induced violence can be inflicted on the drugged person himself (cutting, suicidality) and/or on others (aggression, homicidality), particularly in the drug-altered brains of the vilified mass school shooters who are typically both homicidal and suicidal. (It is important to note at this point that depressed people may be cutters or suicidal, but they are never, never homicidal – until they are on brain-altering drugs or going through withdrawal.)

The corporate media, with its powerful pharmaceutical industry connections, must shoulder part of the blame for America’s lack of understanding about gun/drug violence by its intentional failure to report on the reality described above. (It is a provable fact that virtually all of the school shooters, when good investigative journalism was done, had been taking or withdrawing from psych drugs immediately prior to the carnage).

As is the norm with our dumbed-down, drugged-up and distracted American society these days, most mass shooting tragedies aren’t truly explored. But the media could and should have made use of those classical “teachable moments” by fully discussing and exposing all of the corporate culprits that have contributed to those events. But non-human, inanimate American corporations, especially the sociopathic ones, never say they’re sorry, even though they have been proven to be behind so much of the despair and anger that triggers homicidality.

Our hopeless, futureless, jobless, parentless, abused, neglected, over-indulged, unloved, sleep-deprived, mal-nourished, over-vaccinated, over-drugged and bullied “loners” represent what can be considered America’s new normal. Most observers of our dysfunctional nation see that many of America’s adolescents compulsively indulge in their addictive screen-time, their first-person shooter video games, their isolating FaceBook “friendships”, their regular doses of their over-stimulating nicotine-, Ritalin-, thrill- or caffeine-induced adrenalin rushes that seem to make their unfulfilling lives endurable. And then there is the inevitable media-promoted glorification of war, warriors, militarism and society’s tolerance – indeed celebration – of many forms of societal violence.

Why some kids get angry when they themselves are “dissed”, or when they witness someone else being abused or when they see corporate and political criminals “getting away with murder” should not surprise us.

The desire to get revenge, just like Dirty Harry and any number of other popularized violent video-heroes, can be hard to overcome with non-violent responses. In more innocent eras (pre-NRA) of the past, the desire to get revenge could be satisfied by tipping over somebody’s outhouse on Halloween, flattening your teacher’s tires on Homecoming weekend or toilet papering somebody’s trees. Now there are more infamy-producing ways to do it.

The sense of outrage at seeing injustice going unpunished or seeing some “favorite son” being unjustly rewarded or glorified can easily provoke irresistible revenge responses that are impossible to control when the brain-altered adolescent is taking an “I don’t give a damn” SSRI drug or is withdrawing from an anti-psychotic drug or tranquilizer. Instead of doing the hard work of exploring the issues of violence, the media feeds us shallow, irrelevant human interest stories, useless proclamations from our politicians, denials from our pro-drugging academic psychiatrists, denials from our over-vaccinating, Big Pharma-indoctrinated physicians and doubt from the pro-gun lobbyists. All of that keeps the attention of the public diverted from the real root causes.

The research that the FBI did (see below) should be helpful for concerned people who are truly interested in the early identification and therefore possible prevention of some future school shooting tragedy. The claim can be made that such mass shootings are relatively uncommon (“only” 124 actual school shootings since 2012!), but mass gun violence never happened prior to the time when brain-altering drugs and the easy access to lethal weapons became the new normal.

School shootings represent just one more of the many violence categories in which our militaristic, racist, spiritually-wounded, impoverished “Exceptional America” leads the world.  No other country in the world is even a close second to America. Of course, it isn’t only the weekly, very mass shootings that could be prevented. It is also the personal, secret, emotional suffering that is being experienced by despairing young people who live on the margins of the tinder box that is our toxic American culture. It explodes daily all over our nation but usually not (yet) in our own neighborhood. It is exploding, as we speak, in other segments of our society, in somebody else’s families, in somebody else’s schools, on somebody else’s mean streets and in the disabled brains of angry drug-intoxicated teenagers.

The reasons for the American epidemic of military, domestic and interpersonal gun violence are many and complex, but the lists below contain correctives that are doable. We should all be ashamed of our nation’s politicians for not addressing them, but the industrial-strength root causes have their origins in our corrupt capitalist economic system that rules every aspect of this American life.

The over-drugging of all Americans, especially those whose brains haven’t been hard-wired yet, has been doing as much hidden damage as has been the over-vaccination policies of the very young (whose brains are seriously immature). Those policies are taboo subjects that are never raised in the media despite the huge volume of solid scientific evidence proving the validity of the dangers. But, because the over-drugging and over-vaccinating policies represent serious threats to any number of highly profitable American industries, they have been effectively protected from criticism. Discussing those taboos subjects would be stepping on some big toes that have the power to intimidate, black-list, hire, fire – and worse.

Again, be sure to note that the REAL issue of psychiatric drug-induced violence is absent from these otherwise very valuable lists!

A) Student Personality Traits and Behaviors

1) A Preoccupation With Violence (and themes of hopelessness, despair, hatred, isolation, loneliness, nihilism, or an “end-of-the-world” philosophy. School writings may contain recurrent themes of violence.)

2) Low Tolerance for Frustration

3) Poor Coping Skills

4) Lack of Resiliency

5) Failed Love Relationship

6) Signs of Depression (The student shows features of depression; unpredictable and uncontrolled outbursts of anger, a generalized and excessive hatred toward everyone else, and feelings of hopelessness about the future. Other behaviors might include psychomotor agitation, restlessness, inattention, sleep and eating disorders, and a markedly diminished interest in almost all activities that previously occupied and interested him. The student may have difficulty articulating these extreme feelings.)

7) Narcissism (The student is self-centered, lacks insight into others’ needs and/or feelings, and blames others for failures and disappointments.)

8) Alienation

9) Dehumanizes Others

10) Lack of Empathy

11) Exaggerated Sense of Entitlement

12) Attitude of Superiority

13) Pathological or Exaggerated Need for Attention

14) Externalizes Blame

15) Masks Low Self-esteem

16) Anger Management Problems

17) Intolerance

18) Inappropriate Humor

19) Seeks to Manipulate Others

20) Lack of Trust

21) Closed Social Group

22) Change of Behavior (The student’s behavior changes dramatically. His academic performance may decline, or he may show a reckless disregard for school rules, schedules, dress codes, and other regulations.)

23) Rigid and Opinionated

24) Unusual Interest in Sensational Violence

25) Fascination with Violence-Filled Entertainment

26) Negative Role Models


B) Family Dynamics (Child-rearing Factors)

1) Turbulent Parent-Child Relationships

2) Acceptance of Pathological Behavior

3) Access to Weapons é Lack of Intimacy

4) Student “Rules the Roost”

5) No Limits or Monitoring of TV and Internet

C) School Dynamics

1) Student’s Attachment to School (Student appears to be “detached” from school.)

2) School’s Tolerance for Disrespectful Behavior (Bullying is part of the school culture and school authorities seem oblivious to it, seldom or never intervening or doing so only selectively. Students frequently act in the roles of bully, victim, or bystander (sometimes, the same student plays different roles in different circumstances). The school atmosphere promotes racial or class divisions or allows them to remain unchallenged.)

3) Inequitable Discipline

4) Inflexible School Culture

5) Pecking Order Among Students

6) Code of Silence

7) Unsupervised Computer Access


D) Social Dynamics (Understanding why a student would target his own school)


1) Media, Entertainment, Technology (The student has easy and unmonitored access to movies, television shows, computer games, and Internet sites with themes and images of extreme violence.)

2) Peer Groups (The student is intensely and exclusively involved with a group who share a fascination with violence or extremist beliefs.)

3) Drugs and Alcohol (Knowledge of a student’s use of drugs and alcohol and his attitude toward these substances can be important. Any changes in his behavior involving these substances can also be important.)

4) Outside Interests

5) The Copycat Effect

Dr Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN, USA.In the decade prior to his retirement, he practiced what could best be described as “holistic (non-drug) and preventive mental health care”. Since his retirement, he has written a weekly column for the Duluth Reader, an alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns mostly deal with the dangers of American imperialism, friendly fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, and the dangers of Big Pharma, psychiatric drugging, the over-vaccinating of children and other movements that threaten American democracy, civility, health and longevity and the future of the planet. 

Many of Dr Kohls’ columns are archived HERE HERE and HERE.

This article originally appeared at Transcend and appears here with permission from the author. 

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