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Robert A. Waters

You go girl! You're a 100% right on this one! Robert

Heather

I think that some researchers are making a distinction between men who kill their families and then themselves (a form of intimate murder-suicide) versus those who kill their families and attempt to get away (e.g. the infamous John E. List and Christian Longo).

This story -- from 2001 -- summarizes some non-US cases and an interesting psychological take:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1516969.stm

MCM

If this was true, wouldn't there have been thousands of family killings during the depression of the 30's? I can't think of a worse economic crisis.

stephanie

I agree with your points but I have to say that when the economy tanked I knew we would be seeing more "family annihilators". I do think the numbers go up when the economy goes down. This is a classic stressor that sets these men off - or at least provides them with a conveniently self-justifying trigger. It's an excuse that they think will be acceptable in the eyes of the public. I also think that when these things get attention in the press it leads to copycat behavior.

The key thing to remember - and what you are saying here - is that these are people that already have serious problems going on. Something bad was going to happen with these people regardless of the economy situation. Most likely something bad already was happening.

laura

Thanks for all your interesting comments and the interesting link - a pre-recession media analysis that differs from what we are seeing now.

I've looked in the online digital newspaper archives, using search phrases like "killed his family" and "killed her family" and permutations of that - I found dozens and dozens of these cases over the centuries - but I do NOT find a high number of these cases in the 1930s.

When the economy tanked, I didn't think it would cause more family annihilations, but I knew we would be seeing more coverage of them - but I wish someone would do an objective, scientific tally of all such cases in US history. A hugely daunting task but one which might dispel some of what the media and experts perpetuate as truth.

The press likes to tie headlines together - it gives them a "news peg." But it is in my opinion not based on anything objective.

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