Confusion seemed to float above the single wide trailer in rural south eastern Georgia that saw the murder of eight people this past weekend. Police have still not indicated the identity of the killer(s) of the victims, and early reports indicating that this had been the scene of a likely mass murder/suicide now appear to be wrong, as does the cause of death, initially said to be gunshots but now said by witnesses to me blunt force trauma, i.e., the victims were savagely beaten to death.
Guy Heinze, Jr., (22), is man who allegedly found the victims and called 911 stating: "My dad's dead, my uncle's dead. There's like six. My whole family's dead!" Heinze said this as he struggled to describe the scene to a police dispatcher after his neighbor called 911 and handed him the phone. "It looks like they've been beaten to death. I don't know what to do, man." Heinze was later arrested on unrelated drug and evidence tampering charges and has now been charged with committing the murders of his family members. Seven people ages 15 to 46 were found dead at the scene, an eighth died in a Savanna, GA hospital. A three-year-old boy, also beaten at the scene, is reported to be the sole surviver of the attack.
Should the latest reports indicating the victims, all whom allegedly lived in the dilapidated trailer, had all been bludgened to death be true, one can only wonder and speculate on the motive for the murders and the level of anger and rage that must have fueled the family member killer, plus how he had the ability to overcome the resistance of a total of nine people during the slaughter that would have been needed by the assailant, and the presence of a known vicious dog at the residence.
Police had raised the reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer(s) to $50,000, suggesting their obvious belief that this case is a mass murder, and now appear to indicate their belief that Guy Heinze, Jr., is solely responsible for the deaths. Media reports indicate the deceased includes Heinze’s father, his uncle, and a number of his cousins, to include young children. Local residents are relieved, in a way, because a suspected mass murderer may now not be walking among them, noting the residents had started sleeping with guns at the ready, especially when two other local residents were murdered in an unrelated crime just this past week. One thing appears certain, a vicious murder suspect is in custody; the only question now to be answered is why he did it and who, if anyone, may have assisted him.
The Psychology of Mass Murder
This horrific crime adds to the total of upwards of 12 mass murders in the U.S. so far this year, to include slayings in a rural North Carolina nursing home, a private home in Santa Clara, CA, a Pittsburgh, PA fitness center, and a Binghamton, NY Civic Center. I have never believed that such killers “just snap,” but their murderous actions are something they had either planned in detail or considered with only the choice of the day of their killings to be determined by events in their individual lives. Motive usually includes revenge and their actions express built up anger and rage, in some cases bottled up for months or longer before they explode against others. Some such killers believe they are the ultimate victims, suggesting they had been mistreated, put down, or otherwise shunned by others for years.
Most remember Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech student who killed 33 and wounded 24 in April 2007, followed by Stephen Phillip Kazmierczak at Northern Illinois University who gunned down six, to include himself. Such mass murders date back dozens of years (in 12/1929 Texas tenant farmer J. Haggard shot and killed his 5 children as they slept and then committed suicide). Most, however, believe the modern day phenomenon began in 1966 when Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the University of Texas tower in the center of campus and methodically shot and killed 14 and wounded another 32 before he was slain by responding police officers. Since that time there have been almost 150 such mass murders across the country. What we do know about such multiple victim crimes is that most such killers believe themselves justified in their crimes with many ultimately dying at their own hands, therefore denying society the opportunity to “cross examine” their motives and their actions.
While substance abuse can contribute to the timing of a mass murder, only the killer determines the means, motive and seizes the opportunity to commit such a terrible crime. We do believe, however, that media stories concerning such killings, like Cho at Virginia Tech and others who have cited the 1999 mass murder at Colorado’s Columbine High School in which students Harris and Klebold murdered 12, wounded 21 and then committed suicide, as their role models.
While there is no doubt that Brunswick, Georgia authorities have yet another mass murder to fully resolve, there is also little doubt that others are waiting in the wings of time to commit similar offenses, taking some type of twisted revenge on those they blame for their own personal failings in life. And now they have yet another horrific example of how to do it. (
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