This kind of "contagious thinking" is not implausible, Towers says.
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In this manner, the mass murderer's function as a role model can be diminished." The 18-year-old gunman who killed nine people in Munich on Friday had in his possession the book "Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters." DW spoke with the book's author, US psychologist Peter Langman.
() German police say the teenager who killed nine people during a shooting rampage in Munich had been planning the attack for more than a year.
Investigators also said the perpetrator bought his weapon over the internet.
() Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Munich to pay tribute to the victims of Friday's mass shooting.There is a possibility that the Norwegian was a role model for the Munich killer.Statistician Sherry Towers of Arizona State University has looked into what she calls "the contagion effect" of mass shootings.Identification with killers "Mass killers are always copycat murderers," the Action Alliance School Shooting Winnenden tells DW, adding that "they look for role models, who they emulate and even want to surpass." Mass murderers plan their attack weeks in advance , says Britta Bannenberg, lawyer and criminologist in Giessen in southern Germany.Many of them write diaries or invent stories, in which they describe the incident.Journalists need to ensure that they report objectively on such events, says German psychologist Jens Hoffman, referring to the 19-year-old killer who shot down 16 members of his school in Germany's Erfurt in 2002.