How Rampage Killers Interpret Their World


Funk, S. Lee


S. Lee Funk is founder and lead consultant for Resources for Advancing Inquiry and Supporting Ethics (RAISE). With over thirty-five years as an educator in California, Dr. Funk brings wide-ranging experiences and extensive academic credentials to his analyses of the motives and psychological forces that shape the profile of a rampage murderer. For much of his career, Dr. Funk worked with young people with emotional disturbances, behavioral disorders, and anti-social inclinations. As the phenomenon of mass killings grew, he was able to combine perceptions based on daily interactions with his knowledge of cognitive theory and affective development to glean insights into the personal characteristics of perpetrators committing lethal acts that are not as random as many suppose. Dr. Funk received his doctorate from the University of San Francisco, where he was cited as “Doctoral Student of the Year” for a dissertation that combined scholarship with practical solutions for reducing student attrition. Dr. Funk has presented widely on issues related to classroom instruction, alternative schools, and behavior. While serving as a school superintendent, he was honored as “Administrator of the Year and as a “Star Administrator.” He remains an active member of the American Society for Criminology, the Council for Exceptional Children, the Foundation for Critical Thinking, and Phi Delta Kappa. Dr. Funk resides in Sacramento, California, with his wife of thirteen years. In his free time, he enjoys writing poetry, walking, traveling by train, and spending time with his family.

How Rampage Killers Interpret Their World addresses a question that recently has become disturbingly persistent: “What compels a person or a pair without notice and seemingly without any foreseeable benefit to attack numerous individuals, many of whom are strangers, in a single setting?” It considers that query from the vantage point of psychological circumspection – not as evidence of social fragmentation or historical turbulence. In doing so, it fills in the sketch for the seemingly random stimuli for rampage assaults by tracing the sequential development of motivators: the constitutional mindset of the murderer, his disenfranchisement from humanitarian norms, vindictive obsession, fantasy-driven planning, willful (though detached) engagement, and finally the bloody aftermath. The integrative design links the perspectives of three populations that have typically been treated as distinct – school annihilators, workplace avengers, and public executioners. Further, as expert psychologist S. Lee Funk demonstrates, such mass violence is rarely utilitarian but frequently performative. Throughout the work, carefully sourced theory, scientific data, and analytical biographies inform the analysis’s premises, observations, and conclusions. Synthesizing research from multiple disciplines with carefully constructed case studies, the work once and for all puts to rest the prevailing mystique of the sudden rampaging assailant and reveals the predictable, premeditative nature of the crime. Central to the criminological autopsies are analyses of the words and deeds of the murderers themselves – before, during, and after their massacres.

Social Science, Science, Medicine, Psychology, Sociology, Criminology, Serial Killers, Rampage Killers, Violence Studies, Analysis
Release Date: 
December 15, 2023
9781680535471 Hardcover
Trim Size: 

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