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Is the Chardon High School shooter a budding sociopath?

A 17-year-old high school sophomore, identified by his family as T. J. Lane, allegedly walked into his high school cafeteria in Chardon, Ohio, yesterday and started shooting. Two students are now dead, and three were injured.

It’s too early to know if T. J. Lane actually has a personality disorder. But it looks like his father, Thomas Lane Jr., exhibited sociopathic behavior. He’s been arrested for abusing women. He served time for holding one woman’s head under running water and then bashing it into a wall. The father, and T.J. Lane’s mother, were charged with domestic violence against each other.

T. J. Lane wasn’t living with either of his parents—he was living with his grandparents. And news reports indicate that social service agencies were aware of the family’s troubles.

So here’s a plausible scenario: The young man’s father may be a sociopath, and unfortunately T.J. Lane inherited a genetic predisposition to the disorder. His family environment was not good, which allowed the genetic predisposition to express, or activate. Then, he reached puberty, which is often when the disorder takes hold. Then he decided to lash out.

Read: Alleged Ohio gunman rarely spoke about ‘trouble’ at home, on CNN.com.

Is this actually the case? I don’t know. But it was the case in the Columbine High School shootings, according to author David Cullen, author of the book Columbine. Here’s a review.

This might be an explanation. Still, I doubt the tragedy could have been prevented.



80 Comments on "Is the Chardon High School shooter a budding sociopath?"

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  1. MiLo says:

    Oxy ~ I guess time will tell. I don’t hold out much hope for them respecting the privacy of these families as the days go by. What a shame.

  2. KatyDid says:

    MiLO
    In my experience, they will not respect the families unless a bigger tragedy happens to draw them to fresh meat. There was a terrible murder of a student at my daughter’s high school; the media was told to respect the friends of the victim, and instead they came ONTO the school campus grounds going around asking students to point out the friends and then stuck a camera in their faces so they could “tell their story”. The trauma was TERRIBLE. Thus all in the name of journalism. :x t.u.

  3. skylar says:

    Katy,
    you’re welcome.

  4. Ox Drover says:

    I’m reading “Columbine” right now and it is interesting in terms of the psychology of the two shooters there. The “leader” Eric was definitely a psychopath and the guy who wrote the book describes a psychopath WELL and shows that though Eric became a mass killer, that MOST psychopaths do not kill, but they disturb others in many different and manipulative ways……………………………………………..the book also shows that the other shooter was DEPRESSED and was a FOLLOWER and was MANIPULATED by Eric…………………………………………………..one other thing about the book is that it shows there were PLENTY OF RED FLAGS flying all over the place. Eric had threatened another student and that student’s parents repeatedly put the police in a position to know that Eric had threatened to kill…there was even a search warrant drawn up to search his house for BOMBS but the detective never got the judge to sign it so it was never executed…………………………………..and then after the killing at Columbine, the cops LIED ABOUT IT for years and years, finally coming clean when the evidence of it showed up and they couldn’t cover it up any more. The cops WOULD have found BOMBS at Eric’s house if they had executed that warrant…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Both Eric and the second shooter were in trouble with the police for thefts (multiple times) and interestingly enough, Eric blamed the second guy for the idea of the theft (how spathy is that!) and the second guy took equal blame for it when he confessed…………………………………………………….Eric’s father was a retired Military MAJOR who was very strict with Eric and worried about his “future” being marred by his teenaged behavior and was more worried about records of his worng doing being kept after he turned 18. He also fell under Eric’s manipulation pretty much, though he did ground Eric etc……………………………………………….Eric was also an ACCOMPLISHED liar, the second kid wasn’t………………………………………………………………………. I wonder how many RED FLAGS were flying on this current kid? There may of course be no similarities between this kid and the two who were involved in Columbine…one is that he didn’t kill himself afterward. There probably won’t be good information come out for years, just like the “rumors” about the Trench Coat Mafia and so on that came out from Columbine. Interesting too was the story about Eric asking the girl if she believed in God and then when she said “Yes, I believe in God” he shot her and she became this big famous martyr, but the TRUTH of her killing came out later, Eric did NOT ask her that and she did NOT reply that, he just shot her. Apparently she WAS praying at the time she was shot. She had been a troubled kid self harming and so on, but a while previously she had “found God” and her life had turned around, so her parents were pleased and reassured by that at the very least……………………………………………………..the 16 year old boy who was in the airplane with my husband and son D “remembered” being a hero and rescuing my husband. It never happened, in fact, he was so panic stricken my son D and the man who owned the plane had to DRAG him out. The nurses at the hospital where he was being treated for burns nominated him for a “hero” award on the State level and he received it along with 4-5 other “heros” who had risked their lives to save someone else. We did not say anything either to the boy (*who is now a young man) or to his parents because We felt it was IMPORTANT to them that he be “rewarded” for being a hero considering the horrible amount of burns he suffered. That there be something “positive” even if it wasn’t “true.”

  5. G1S says:

    I’m only reading this now, which actually might be a good thing because of the Trayvon shooting and Zimmerman being charged.

    I compared what MiLo wrote about her community, which touched me deeply, and how it responded versus what people have been doing and saying since Trayvon was shot. Such a contrast.

    I am one of those people who can’t keep reading about these shootings. Even if Trayvon wasn’t shot by a teenager in school, I’m so sick of the mentality that people have the right to shoot other people.

    We got into a discussion about televangelists here and the Westboro Baptist Church. There is quite a bit posted about its leader and how sick and depraved he is. I’d recommend people reading that.

    I’ll go see if I can copy and post the link in this post.

  6. G1S says:

    No, that wasn’t where we had the discussion. Does anyone remember?

    We talked about how his son had come out against his father.

  7. G1S says:

    Yes, Skylar. And I see that you were the one who brought that to our attention.

    Thank you!

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