BIU Professor: Lanza was ‘looking for immortality'

Bar-Ilan University psychologist Yacov Rofé blames US murderer's mother for isolating son, making him love guns.

December 19, 2012 02:40
3 minute read.
Shocked kids after Connecticut school shooting.

Shocked children after Connecticut school shooting 390. (photo credit: Michelle McLoughlin / Reuters)


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Connecticut mass murderer Adam Lanza knew what he was doing when he shot dead 27 women and children, says Prof. Yacov Rofé, a senior psychologist at Bar-Ilan University’s department of interdisciplinary social sciences.

“He wanted to commit suicide, and while doing so, he wanted to take as many people to their deaths with him so he would become immortal‚” Rofé told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Monday.

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The Bar-Ilan University professor, who has written numerous books about Freud’s Theory of Repression and “Rational Choice Theory of Neurosis and Madness,” blames Lanza’s mother – who, he says, isolated her son by taking him out of high school and cultivated his love of guns by taking him to shooting practices.

Rofé, who says he has researched many cases of serial killers and mass murderers, also blames the media for “playing up” such violent cases and giving “too much publicity.”

Since Lanza wanted to become immortal, “he committed the worst act he could possibly think of to become – with the help of the media, a household name.”

The gunman’s mother should never have been allowed to take him out of school; instead of educational authorities valuing only his success at schoolwork, they should have noticed that he was social inept and had no friends, Rofé said.

“It is not enough just to educate children,” he insisted.


The psychologist cited two other extreme cases of mass murderers and serial killers in the US that show similar patterns, that of the Unabomber and Charles Cullen.

The Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, is an American terrorist who engaged in a nationwide bombing campaign against modern technology from the late 1970s to mid-1990s, planting or mailing numerous home-made bombs, killing three people and injuring 23 others.

A child prodigy born in Chicago, Kaczynski was a math genius at Harvard, the University of Michigan and the University of California at Berkeley, but he then resigned and became a recluse. After being arrested, he was tried, found guilty of murder and given a life sentence.

“He denied he was insane. At 70, he is still in jail. He did it because he was alone in the world and had no interaction with other people. He felt like a nobody, a failure. Of course, there are many people who are isolated and depressed, but not all decide to rehabilitate their ego‚ and improve the quality of his life‚ by becoming notorious. It was an intentional change,” said Rofé.

Cullen, a former nurse who is the most prolific serial killer in New Jersey, killed at least 40 people, though some law officials think his death toll may be even higher.

“He decided that he would be like God by deciding who lives and who dies,” said the Bar-Ilan psychologist. “Doing this took him out of his depression.”

Lanza, too, suffered from depression and was very lonely, Rofé said.

“His mother detached him from the world, and his parents were divorced. He wanted to be the star of the media; this was rational behavior. It was not surprising that he murdered his mother before murdering women and small children in the school,” said Rofé.

While it is too easy to purchase weapons in the US, said Rofé, this is not the only factor.

The psychologist, noting that serial and mass murders are much less common in Israel than the US, said he thought the fact that there are “more values in the Israeli population” such as closer family values as well as strict control of weapons which make the difference.

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