Rampage Killers: The Misfit with Extreme Overvalued Beliefs

An overvalued idea is “an unreasonable and sustained belief that is maintained with less than delusional intensity” (DSM IV).  These persons have idealized values, which have developed into such an over-riding importance that they totally define the 'self' or identity of the individual.  It is an unreasonable belief over which the person has become obsessed to the extent that he/she is unable to adapt to different circumstances.  Although they can remain functional, when there is a threat to the loss of their goal or object of the belief and may take action they believe is justified. In associating these killers to terrorism we often disregard their psychopathology and just focus on political indoctrination and religious views.  

This seminar reveals a clear picture of who these individuals are so we can intervene prior to bloodshed, we must deepen the focus to include factors that we consider in any threat evaluation.  These factors include: Previous violence, age, recent losses, evidence of multiple loss, revenge orientation, access to weapons, rejection, social support, recent threats to others, evidence of psychopathology and perseveration on overvalued ideas.