Mass Killers – 2 New Books – Can we identify a mass murderer (e.g. pilot, school shooter etc) in advance?

BTB 2 Young Violent and Dangerous to know

These are extremely rare events and it is almost impossible to predict with any degree of accuracy rare events. Nevertheless, we must try but at the same time realise that many of the individual features of the profile I describe about potential mass killers are not rare in the general population. It’s the more overall picture that is relevant.

We must look at:-

1. Medical history pattern deviating from average medical history pattern of pilots, students, military personnel etc

2. Childhood history of being bullied, being a loner, being very routine bound person with special interests in death, perversions, dead animals, serial killers, mass killing, police work, military activities, horror movies, killing of animals, e.g. cats etc showing callous and unemotional trails, moodiness and showing gross lack of empathy, problems reading other people’s minds emotionally, being excessively controlling and dominating, problems with reciprocal social relationships, having sensory problems, noise, taste, touch, being significantly clumsily, being very unpopular in school but having special talents with numbers, mathematics, technology, engineering, construction and logic.

Other features would include poor eye contact, problems reading non-verbal behaviour, problems sharing emotional thoughts, problems turn taking and being very poor at group games. Many or most readers will dismiss this profile as nonsensical. The only answered to them is to ask them to produce a better alternative approach to the problem. Clearly we have to be extremely careful in labelling people inappropriately. If one is totally anti-labelling or identifying potential mass killers then one has to accept the activity of mass killers.

If one hears of a person who is in an average job and who has never performed above the average or indeed less than the average level and they state they will one day be famous and that “everyone will know my name” and they have the profile outlined above then airline management or schools managers or army commanders should ask some questions and explore the background and motive of this person a little more. If in addition to the above profile already described, a person is depressed, has recently experienced stress at his job, has had personal relationship breakup or conflict with his employers or problems with his work performance, is in a position of major responsibility e.g. airline pilot, then they should be examined further, if they make unusual and bizarre statements which could be taken as a joke if one wasn’t listening carefully.

Another scenario is a pupil (almost always male) with the profile described, who shows strange comments on his social media sites, has been bullied (or is being bullied in school), is depressed, ostracised, can’t relate to girls, is a loner, has had an academic crisis or access to guns at home or elsewhere and makes violent threats, these should be investigated by the health and safety officer in school (who should be responsible for gun attacks in school) in conjunction with the management of the school where a thorough investigation should take place. People like the readership keep Adam Lanza, Harold Shipman and Timothy McVey in mind.


1. ‘Autism and School Shooting’ by Michael Fitzgerald has been published in April 2015 in the book ‘Autism Spectrum Disorders – Recent Advances’ by InTech Publishing in a book edited by Michael Fitzgerald.

2. ‘Young Violent and Dangerous to Know’, a book by Michael Fitzgerald was published by Novinka, New York in 2013 and focuses on mass killers and serial killers.

3. A new book called “Psychopathy” published in 2014, edited by Michael Fitzgerald, published by Nova Science, New York, has a chapter on ‘Criminal Autistic Psychopathy’ by Michael Fitzgerald, a not uncommon diagnosis in mass killers.

New Book on Psychopathy edited by Prof. Michael Fitzgerald

Psychopathy: Risk Factors, Behavioral Symptoms and Treatment Options
Psychopathy: Risk Factors, Behavioral Symptoms and Treatment Options
Click to enlarge
Editors: Michael Fitzgerald (Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)
Book Description:
Psychopathy is one of the most serious and challenging conditions that society and mental health professionals face. The consequences of the actions of persons with psychopathy on other individuals or society at large are very great. Persons with psychopathy are extremely difficult to treat and indeed some treatments in the past have been shown to cause deterioration affects. This book explores the issue of psychopathy from the point of view of the individual with psychopathy, brain aspects of the condition, cultural aspects, treatment aspects and it’s relation to autism and other empathy disorder which it can on occasion overlap with.
Offenders with high levels of psychopathy are among the most challenging persons mental health professionals have to treat. They need very careful and skilled interventions. Chromis is an innovative programme described by Tew, Bennett and Atkinson which shows promise. It is a future focused programme which pays attention to control and choice, collaboration and transparency and has a cognitive skills component, a motivation and engagement components. Marc Wilson and Samantha Harley have an interesting chapter on narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. They found a relationship between vertical individualism and all three constructs and between hierarchical and narcissism. Their conclusions suggest that hierarchical, autonomous societies may socialise members in such a way that may foster aversive personalities. Don Ambrose in his chapter on unmeritorious meritorocy focuses on a topic that severely affected almost everyone in the developed world in some way. He highlights the admiration for businessmen with psychopathic traits and the negative consequences of this. In the chapter on criminal autistic psychopathy Fitzgerald highlights the overlap between psychopathy and autism. Hans Asperger in his initial descriptions recognised the overlap between psychopathy and autism with his term autistic psychopathy. This idea faded from view over the last thirty years because there was a wish to separate autism from psychopathy. This wish did not prevent the overlap. Fitzgerald (2010) has introduced the sub group of autism spectrum disorders called criminal autistic psychopathy to cover the section of the spectrum where criminality occurs. It links with the new work on callous and unemotional traits (Fitzgerald 2003) and with mass killings, school and other location shootings where criminal autistic psychopathy is not rare.The chapter on cognitive neuroscience in child and adolescent psychopathy by Halty and Prieto point out among other issues that in the case of children with psychopathic features there is evidence of fewer references to welfare of victims when they have to justify transgressions. The chapter by Halty and Prieto on psychopathy in child and adolescent populations discuss the issue of psychopathy in children and adolescents and the importance of callous and unemotional traits as well as the influence of parenting practices in the development of child and adolescent psychopathy. Laura Nunes’s chapter on psychopathy: risk factors and behavioural symptoms focuses on treatment of options in extremely difficult area and proposes a biogram. In the chapter on Hans Asperger autistic psychopathy revisited focuses on the neglected paper of 1938 long before Leo Kanner wrote his paper on autism. Asperger worked on this topic throughout the 1930’s. It also focuses on the differential diagnosis of autism and schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder and other personality disorders. Ana Calzada and colleagues give us a very important chapter on brain scanning and psychopathy. These neuroanatomic differences in violent individuals are very important in terms of aetiology diagnosis and treatment problems and important areas for future research. (Imprint: Nova)References:
Fitzgerald M. (2003) Callous-Unemotional Traits and Asperger’s Syndrome. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 42, 9, 10-11.
Fitzgerald M. (2001) Autistic Psychopathy. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 40, 8, 870.
Fitzgerald M. (2010) Young Violent and Dangerous to Know. Nova Science: New York.
Table of Contents:
PrefaceChapter 1. The Treatment of Offenders with High Levels of Psychopathy through Chromis and the Westgate Service: What have we Learned from the Last Eight Years?
(Jenny Tew, A.L. Bennett and R. Akinson, National Offender Management Service, Ministry of Justice, United Kingdom and The Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology, The University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England; The Westgate Personality Disorder Treatment Service, HMP Frankland, and National Offender Management Service, Ministry of Justice, UK)Chapter 2. Psychopathy: A Proposal for an Integrated Evaluation
(Laura M. Nunes, Fernando Pessoa University, Oporto / Portugal)Chapter 3. MRI Study in Psychopath and Non-Psychopath Offenders
(Ava Calzada-Reyes, Alfredo Alvarez-Amador, Mitchell Valdes-Sosa, Lester Melic-Garcia, Alonso Y. Aleman and Jose del Carmen Iglesias-Alonso, Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Institute of Legal Medicine, Independence Avenue, Plaza, Havana City; Cuban Center of Neuroscience, Havana City and Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Carlos Juan Finlay, General Hospital, Havana, Cuba)Chapter 4. Unmeritorious Meritocracy: The Ascendance of Psychopathic Plutocracy in the Globalized 21st-Century
(Don Ambrose, Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, US)

Chapter 5. Narcissism, Psychopathy and Machiavellianism: Associations between Cultural Factors and Interpersonal Dominance
(Marc Stewart Wilson and Samantha M. Hartley, School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

Chapter 6. Hans Asperger’s Autistic Psychopathy: Revisited
(Michael Fitzgerald, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 7. Criminal Autistic Psychopathy.
(Michael Fitzgerald, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 8. Stability of Psychopathic Traits in Youth: Long-term Trends and Comparisons with the Stability of the Five Factor Model of Personality
(Mary Ann Campbell, Rosemary Beauregard and Fred Schmidt, Psychology Department & Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of New Brunswick-Saint John Campus, Saint John, New Brunswick; Children’s Centre Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay, Ontario; Psychology Department, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Centre for Criminal Justice Studies, University of New Brunswick-Saint John Campus,
New Brunswick, Canada)

Chapter 9. Disordered Self in Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The Autisms and the Self.
(Michael Fitzgerald and Victoria Lyons, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland)

Chapter 10. Exploring Treatment Options for an Allegedly “Untreatable” Disorder, Psychopathy: An Integrative Literature Review
(Chasity Bailey, Rahul Sehgal, Adrian Coscia, Deborah Shelton, University of Connecticut, Center for Correctional Health Networks-CCHNet, School of Nursing, CT, USA, and others)


Psychiatry – Theory, Applications and Treatments
   Binding: ebook
   Pub. Date: 2014
   Pages: 7×10 – (NBC-C)
   ISBN: 978-1-63463-090-0
   Status: AN

Genius, Creativity and Savantism

Persons with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s syndrome can show considerable creativity.  Indeed they have the capacity for extreme creativity in a small number of cases.  Evidence of minor creativity would be more common.  The features of autism / Asperger’s syndrome that would enhance creativity would include intense focus on narrow interests.  It is rarely possible to make major advances in science without this narrow intense focus.  The lack of interest in emotional issues means that there is far more time available for intellectual mathematical, philosophical, and other scientific pursuits.  Their time is not taken up with interpersonal relationships and with ordinary everyday life. They are often workaholics and their whole life is devoted to their creative pursuit.  Persons with autism often have abnormal brain functioning and indeed brain structure and these deficits in some way enhance creativity. This kind of creativity has genetic underpinning of a type that has not yet been fully elucidated.  Heritability factors account for about 93% of the variants in the aetiology of autism / Asperger’s syndrome.  The following are some examples of this creativity.


Henry Cavendish


Henry Cavendish (1731 – 1810) had High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome.  He was an enormously successful scientist.  He had enormous difficulties in interpersonal relationships. He was a man of enormous routines and regularities in his conduct of his life. He was very poor at speech making. Nevertheless he could be very precise in his use of language.  He lacked empathy in interpersonal relationships and Berry notes Cavendish’s “striking deficiencies as a human being”.  Indeed “his habitual profound withdrawal lead one contemporary to characterise him as ‘the coldest and most indifferent of mortals’”.  He had an awkward gait and there is absolutely no doubt that like Newton and Einstein he had High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome.


Charles Babbage


Charles Babbage (1792 – 1871) also had High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome.  He was the father of the modern computer.  He was an autodictat.  He spent a great deal of his life trying to build calculating machines. The first one was called a ‘difference engine’ and the second an ‘analytical engine’.  According to Swade Babbage’s engine ‘gave new impetus to the notion of a “thinking machine” and stimulated the debate about the relationship between the mind and physical mechanism’.  He had major problems in interpersonal relationships.  He worked largely in isolation.  He had a socially immature personality not uncommon in persons with High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome.  He suffered from anxiety and depression.  He was an excellent mathematician.  He was described as an eccentric and comic figure. He was naïve and showed a lack of commonsense.




Archimedes (C 287 – 212 BC) also had High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome.  He was an extremely eccentric individual spending as much of his life isolated in solitary.  He had a good mechanical mind.  He invented what is called the Archimedes screw for pumping water which is still used to this day.  He was highly regarded as an engineer and inventor.  He only liked to talk to mathematicians.  He was the discoverer of what is called the Archimedes principal i.e. that the floating body will displace its own weight in fluid. He was an obsessive mathematician.  He neglected his personal hygiene.  Like Newton he left his meals untouched when he was deep in mathematics.


Norbert Wiener


Norbert Wiener (1894 – 1964) was another mathematician with High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome. He was an autodictat, a linguist, and a rather absent minded professor.  He was a socially immature child.  He lacked empathy and was tactless with people.  He was rather a lone wolf and was uncertain about how to conduct conversations.  He was a very poor teacher.  He was very routine bound.  He was a rather clumsy child which is not uncommon with HFA / ASP and indeed like many others he suffered from anxiety and depression.  He was described as being very eccentric.


Nikola Tesla


Nikola Tesla was a famous electrical inventor who had High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome. He had a photographic memory. He was a linguist.  He was an avid reader.  He had an obsessive compulsive personality type.  He was an autodictat. He had major difficulties in social relationships, was socially immature and naïve.  He was extremely controlling and spoke with a high pitched voice.  He was extremely naïve in dealing with people who would finance his inventions.  He was very much a loner and remained unmarried and was extremely interested in pigeons. He had no capacity to manage money.  His main interest was in inventions.  He was the inventor of radio among many other things.


David Hilbert


The mathematician David Hilbert (1862 – 1943) had High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome.  He was a great mathematician.  He showed eccentric interpersonal behaviour and was socially immature. His only interest was in discussing mathematical subjects.  He showed extreme self control.  Routines were extremely important to him.  He tended to show repetitive language.  Nevertheless he was very precise in his use of words. He showed lack of empathy.  He believed no scientist should marry.  He suffered from anxiety and depression.


G. H. Hardy


The great English mathematician G. H. Hardy had High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome.  He was a very eccentric man who never married. Routine was extremely important to him. His great interest in life was mathematics.  He loved cats.  He was extremely honest in his behaviour.  Later he suffered from depression and attempted suicide. Attempting suicide is not uncommon in persons with High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome.


Dimitri Mendeleyev


Dimitri Mendeleyev who developed the periodic table in chemistry had High Functioning Autism / Asperger’s syndrome. He had major difficulties in interpersonal relationships.  He was most eccentric looking.  He cut his hair once a year.  He had tremendous focus on chemistry and on chemical elements and it was this intense focus that brought him success.  Like so many successful people with HFA / ASP he performed poorly in school.


Edward Teller


The most classic person of all with Asperger’s syndrome was Edward Teller the father of the H Bomb and the subject of a recent book called Edward Teller – The Real Strangelove from Harvard University Press.


Asperger’s syndrome is characterised by avoidance of eye contact, problems reading non-verbal behaviour, being a loner with a lack of social know-how, having problems sharing thoughts, and problems with empathy. They often speak with a high pitched or unusual tone of voice and repeat phrases. Gillberg calculates that 0.3% to 0.5% of the population has it.  they like routine and have preservation of sameness.  As children they often line things up, flap their hands, and are fussy eaters. They often have narrow obsessive interests in engineering, mechanics, astronomy, science, palaeontology, etc.  It is one of the most missed diagnosis in adult psychiatry.  They are misdiagnosed as Schizophrenia Personality Disorder and a wide variety of other diagnosis.  This leads to inappropriate treatments which only aggravate the situation. hopefully the Irish Psychiatric Association, Irish College of Psychiatrists, and the Mental Health Commission will examine the issue.  Psychiatric CPD has failed in relation to Asperger’s syndrome and indeed adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which in reliable epidemiological studies in USA affects 4.4% of the population.