The following has been excerpted from Flash Point: The American Mass Murderer:










1. The Crime and The Criminal

2. Perverted Love

3. Politics and Hate

4. Revenge

5. Sexual Homicide

6. Mass Executions

7. Sane or Insane

8. The Unexplained

9. Inside the Mind of a Mass Murderer

10. Tomorrow's Mass Murderer

11. A Survey of American Mass Murderers



Selected Bibliography







Politicians are perennially fond of reminding all who will listen that America has achieved a leadership position across an

impressive array of human endeavors—that as a nation, we can claim preeminence in many things. What these politicians say

about our national achievements is often true. Indeed, this country has attained greatness in many arenas of thought and endeavor

since its inception, and particularly, since the end of World War II. However, we have also plumbed the depths of our own dark

nature in many other activities, such as homicide, serial killing, and mass murder. In these things, America has also attained



We are a country that is committed to absolute freedom; as a nation, we loathe compromise. We regale in a fiercely independent

citizenry; however, we are also quick to share our resources when fellow Americans are in need. We are ready to defend our values

at any cost when we believe that our national security, principles or pride are at stake. These are qualities by which Americans judge

themselves and of which they can be justifiably proud. They are fundamental to our culture and remain unquestioned from

generation to generation. These cultural characteristics are assets that have become indigenous to our national soul and psyche.

However, despite these straightforward and unambiguous qualities, we are not a simple people with an elementary culture. We are

many, we are complex, and we are often aggressive, brutal, and covert. We are a nation of composites and complexities—generally

good, but with much that is hidden away and unexplored.


We are also a nation that is steeped in violence. Our citizens murder each other in alarming numbers and often in particularly

heinous and vicious ways. Sadly, violence has been the American companion to progress throughout our history, and it remains so

today, as we approach the new millennium. We often look toward the future with confusion and a disturbing composite of fear and

optimism that is uniquely American in nature. In great measure, this is because we have attained a national level of violence that is

both unprecedented and unsettling—a situation that does not bode well for the future. When we murder our own, we do not exempt

the young or the old, the infirm or the innocent, and the unwary or the unknowing. When we murder our own, we do so in accordance

with another fundamental American tradition—we see it through to the end, regardless of the consequences. In this, the most

heinous of human endeavors, we are leaders.


As citizens who benefit from the most technologically advanced nation in the world, we have an acute awareness of our actions,

accomplishments, and crimes to an extent previous generations could not have imagined possible. We are intrigued by incessant

reports of our own dark exploits. With an unsurpassed knowledge and awareness of our own crimes, we often prey upon ourselves

in diverse and brutal ways. We have attained much more than a passing knowledge of fear, mayhem, and murder. We are regularly

dragged into an unthinking and pervasive distrust of our fellow citizens by media accounts of homicidal maniacs and serial killers

who roam this country slaying the innocent and unsuspecting in the most gruesome manner. In the last decade of the twentieth

century, the cult of those fascinated by a single criminal—the serial killer—has attained the status of a national movement. In great

measure, we can thank the media and the entertainment industry for perpetuating this macabre fascination. Embodied within the

anxiety that must naturally accompany our awareness of the exploits of such a murderer, we also find intrigue and an uneasy sense

of relief when we read of the horrors that have befallen the unacknowledged, the unlucky, or the unwary. We are simultaneously

alarmed and captivated by these accounts. In the end, with the daily news relegated to the nightly trash, we accept what has

happened and move routinely about our lives, fairly certain that the unspeakable horror that we have experienced in the media will

not fundamentally touch our lives. We have learned to enthrone violence without understanding it. Hidden within the horror of violent

crime, we find a sense of excitement and acceptability that does not demand comprehension. We have accepted violence on a

national scale and we have developed the skills to market it in a uniquely American way.


Often, we find the anticipation of the next report of a murder to be irresistible in its appeal, despite its inevitable and egregious

outcome. We speculate about the nature of the perpetrator, his whereabouts, motivation, and his next victim. We follow the

frustrations of law enforcement personnel as they try to piece together the details surrounding the most inscrutable crimes of

homicide. We wonder and speculate as we read accounts of forensic scientists, behaviorists or profilers as they struggle to play

catch-up with their prey. We fear for ourselves, our families, and our children. We secretly anticipate where and when the murderer

will strike next, and who will be his next victim. Our anticipation keeps the story alive in the media and the crime real in our minds.


From time to time, more often today than ever before, we read reports of an exceptionally unsettling category of crime in which

America has also cornered the market—mass murder. However, unlike the exploits of the serial killer, we experience no anticipation

of the future and find little reason to speculate about this crime. With this felony, we experience only a brief moment of shock and

horror; that is, if we learn about it at all. The crime of mass murder is merely a flash point on the pages and screens of the media.

For a passing moment, the recollection of this crime may claim a brief headline; however, for the press, the story typically dies as

quickly as the victims it describes because it lacks the crucial element of anticipation. Today, mass murder has become merely a

transitory moment of drama that is horrible in its consequences but fleeting in its impact to all except the victims and their loved

ones. We can sit back with assurance when we read about these horrendous crimes, knowing that the danger has already passed

even as we read of the gruesome details; we can take comfort in the knowledge that the crime is complete and the perpetrator has

been apprehended or is dead.


This is the public nature of the crime of mass murder and the usual destiny of its perpetrator. It seems a simple thing—a fleeting

crime. As reported in the media, the story of mass murder is devoid of that critical element of anticipation that is necessary to

maintain anything but a momentary recognition of its true impact. For most of us, it holds little of the interest of a notorious serial

killer; however, the mass murderer is sometimes a far more lethal and pernicious criminal when he attacks. For most Americans,

the flash point of mass murder passes abruptly and with no farewell; its details soon fade from the headlines and from our minds.

We quickly lose the perspective of this crime because the media has deemed it unworthy of our continuing concern and abiding

attention. It seems such a simple thing; however, it is not.


The nature of this crime, and how it is viewed by the American press, lends a profoundly disturbing aspect to the subject. In recent

years, mass murder has become a crime that is often too common to attract and retain the highly-valued, column-inch space of the

national media, unless it is of such gruesome and heinous proportions that it simply cannot be ignored. The media plays a

numbers game when it deals with this crime; it is only validated in importance if the number of victims is significantly unsettling or

the manner in which they died is sufficiently disturbing to be unavoidable. How superficially we deal with the dark nature of our

souls! How simple it has become to turn away from mass murder—a crime that has been unwittingly redefined as mere

background noise in our own complex and busy lives.


The reality and the truth of mass murder is not as easily discarded as yesterday's newspaper; it is not as insignificant as a missed

headline. This is a crime that plagues our nation from coast to coast and border to border. It grows increasingly virulent each year,

as its perpetrators feed more voraciously upon the innocent and the unsuspecting. Far too many of our fellow citizens die each year

at the hands of the mass murderer. He strikes quickly and with explosive violence; yet, like the serial killer, he also plans his crime

and is often lethally methodical. This is a murderer who quietly moves for years along a path that must inevitably end in the death of

the innocent. He moves easily among us and is seen by so many; however, he is usually unrecognized until it is too late. He kills for

revenge, because he hates, because he covets, or because he loves in a way that is unrecognizable and perverse. He may kill for

reasons that no one can understand or accept. He has a story to tell and a message that must be heard—a message that is always

deadly and unforgiving. Unfortunately, the story of the mass murderer and his crimes is often ignored or given far too little attention

by most Americans.


Crimes of mass murder are typically tales of unacceptable horror and mayhem that are repeated again and again in this, the most

successful experiment in democracy that the world has ever witnessed. However, for the majority of our citizens—those of us

fortunate enough to be the mainstay of this experiment in freedom—the mass murderer is regularly dismissed as an anomaly; his

crimes are usually considered freakish and exceptional. The explosive violence of the mass murderer is perceived as distant,

impersonal, and unlikely to touch our lives in any meaningful way. To many, it is a crime that is unworthy of abiding consideration or

serious investigation.


However, nothing could be further from the truth, even if it is far from the national headlines.




Flash Point: The American Mass Murderer is published by the Greenwood Publishing Group.