Furman professor says understanding shooter's motives may help p - FOX Carolina 21

Furman professor says understanding shooter's motives may help prevent future violence

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Concertgoers flee Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival (Source: Associated Press) Concertgoers flee Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival (Source: Associated Press)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

As the investigation into the deadliest shooting in U.S. history continues, authorities are still trying to determine a motive.

“I suspect there was some angry talk,” said Dr. Carmela Epright, a Furman University philosophy professor who studies mass shootings. “People like this generally aren't mentally ill. They're generally angry.”

Epright says people are quick to assume a mass shooter suffers with mental illness, but in most cases she said the killer knows exactly what he’s doing and is typically very angry or has some kind of grievance.

“I suspect what we will find is he knew exactly what he was doing," she said. "He probably planned it well in advance and went into it knowing he was likely going to die."

As for what was going on in the suspected killer’s mind, we can’t be sure. She says the motive matters because some would-be killers could be stopped and helped with the proper intervention.

“So, yes, I care a lot,” Epright said. “I've spent my life caring a lot about why people do these things because eventually I hope we can stop them. I don't know what the answers are.”

For now, Epright said people should take possible threats seriously. 

“If someone is joking about getting a gun and blowing up school or going to a hotel and shooting people at a concert, you listen," she said. "You take it seriously. There's no problem with taking it seriously. It’s just a problem if you don't.”

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