Is there a link between pedophilia and mass shootings?


Dear Stop It Now!,

The gunman in Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock, killed 58 people in a calculated rampage before taking his own life. Police later discovered several hundred images of child pornagraphy.

Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter who shot and killed 27 people including his mother.

Devin Patrick Kelley, the Sutherland Springs shooter, was having suspicious relationships with an underage girl before he shot and killed 26 people and wounded around 20.

Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters, was left-handed and said he wanted to die because of depression. Yet left handedness is a sign of pedophilia, says Dr. James Cantor.

Think about it. Look at all these mass shooters who do these horrible acts, then they kill themselves. Leave no explanation as to why. One incident im particular is DeWayne Craddock and the Virginia Beach shooting. He lived with no one. He was 40 years old and he was an engineer and a nice guy.

What do you think?

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Dear Concerned Member of the Community,

I appreciate your question, and it makes sense that you're wondering, like many of us are now, what may be an underlying cause of the terrorism behind the mass shootings we see so often in the news. I’m glad you’ve reached out to us.

Although I have yet to see any paper linking a diagnosis of pedophilia (a clinical term for someone who is sexually attracted to children) to mass shootings, there have been links made to untreated mental health disorders, white supremacist ideals, high-capacity gun ownership and past physically abusive behavior. This paper on Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms helps further explain that, “Evidence strongly suggests that mass shooters are often mentally ill and socially marginalized… And, to be sure, mass shootings often shed light on the need for more investment in mental health support networks or improved state laws and procedures regarding gun access... Yet surprisingly little population-level evidence supports the notion that individuals diagnosed with mental illness are more likely than anyone else to commit gun crimes.” Now, this doesn’t mean that just because someone has an untreated mental health disorder (or they are violent towards their partner), that they will then be a participant in a mass shooting, but these have been general traits that have linked some of the mass shooters together. The need to address all of these underlying factors in a caring, compassionate way that has safety and human rights at the forefront is unfortunately, a complex problem we have yet to solve in our society.

As you may know, hatred and anger are behind all of these atrocities, and though it’s true that people who feel misunderstood or shunned by society (including people with pedophilia) may have feelings of hatred and anger towards other individuals, many people with pedophilia choose to never abuse a child or to harm others physically – and stay safe their whole lives. In fact, most people who feel shirked, ignored or glossed over by society do not go on to be a mass shooter. And it may help to understand that many people who do sexually abuse children actually are not pedophiles: there are many reasons why an adult may sexually abuse a child

The link between violence, hatred and antisocial behavior can be made for people who commit mass shootings, but I would be reticent to say that there is a link between a person’s sexual attraction and their penchant towards violence. I believe that yes, more research needs to be done here, and unfortunately I will not have a clear cut answer – but we need to find out more so we can prevent harmful acts, like mass shootings, and offer people support and alternatives if they are having homicidal thoughts. 

Similarly, I see that you found us by searching about “how a pedophile can get help” and I want to make sure you know that this is how many people learn about Stop It Now!. We reach out to individuals who are sexually attracted to youth and to people who are having sexual thoughts towards children so that we can offer them a path to live a safe life – as yes, there is treatment available for people who feel they are a risk to a child sexually. When someone knows that they are not the only ones who are struggling with an issue, it often sheds light – a small beacon of hope – on them so that they can take the next necessary step: like asking for help, creating a safety plan or finding a professional who is experienced in sex-specific treatment.

Take care,
Stop It Now!


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Last edited on: November 18th, 2019