After the Fort Hood massacre, Newsweek talked to experts about why people commit mass murders. Not surprisingly, there is no simple answer. One explanation experts rule out is the popularity of violent videogames. Family killings may be committed by men who think they are doing a favor for their family in bad economic times or because they think they “own” their family. Some kill for religious or ideological reasons, with mental instability thrown in.
Misogyny can be a motive, as can be the supposed need to prove one’s manhood. A few mass killings are done by copycats who crave attention. Terrorists may “accept violent behavior they may reject on their own.” Many other mass killings are elaborate suicide rituals. A Newsweek photo gallery traces the “long and painful history” of U.S. mass killings.