Flash Point: The American Mass Murderer

By Michael D. Kelleher | Go to book overview

Introduction

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 preeminence.

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

-xi-

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Flash Point: The American Mass Murderer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter 1 The Crime and the Criminal 1
  • Notes 40
  • Chapter 2 Perverted Love 41
  • Notes 65
  • Chapter 3 Politics and Hate 67
  • Notes 79
  • Chapter 4 Revenge 81
  • Notes 101
  • Chapter 5 Sexual Homicide 103
  • Notes 110
  • Chapter 6 Mass Executions 111
  • Notes 117
  • Chapter 7 Sane or Insane 119
  • Notes 137
  • Chapter 8 The Unexplained 139
  • Notes 150
  • Chapter 9 Inside the Mind of a Mass Murderer 153
  • Notes 165
  • Chapter 10 Tomorrow's Mass Murderer 167
  • Chapter 11 A Survey of American Mass Murderers 173
  • Appendix 1: A Survey of Some Notorious American Serial Killers 183
  • Appendix 2: Organized and Disorganized Serial Killers 187
  • Notes 189
  • Appendix 3: Chronology of Patrick Purdy 191
  • Notes 192
  • Appendix 4: The Five Most Deadly U.S. Mass Murders 193
  • Appendix 5: Timeline of the Oklahoma City Bombing 195
  • Selected Bibliography 199
  • Index 203
  • About the Author 209
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