Inside Mind of Health Club Shooter

The Pennsylvania gunman who killed three women, injured nine and killed himself Tuesday in an L.A. Fitness Club in suburban Pittsburgh kept an online journal in which he detailed planning the attack and posted videos on YouTube discussing his need to work on his emotions in order to attract women.

But what do these Internet remnants of the killer say about his mind?

Top forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner appeared on "The Early Show" Thursday to discuss what the online entries and videos say about 48-year-old George Sodini's mental condition.

Welner, who's credited with developing "The Depravity Scale," a tool that helps judges and jurors distinguish violent crimes from those motivated by pure evil, has consulted on some of the most notorious crimes in recent history, including the Virginia Tech massacre, the murder of Jon-Benet Ramsey, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Welner told "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez many people he encounters in forensic psychiatry look average or normal.

"They look exactly like you," he said. "You expect (shooters) to be monsters because they're built up, and actually, they're quite ordinary."

As for Sodini, Welner said, it was his ordinariness that was at the heart of his attention-seeking crime.

"Crime doesn't pay ... unless you're a mass shooter, because all of that is getting notoriety."

Rodriguez commented that she wondered what led him to the crime, adding that Sodini seemed desperate, but unable to connect emotionally with people.

Welner said many people are desperate to connect emotionally, but you don't have to worry about them becoming violent. However, with a mass shooter -- who is "invariably" a man, he said, sexual rejection is such a powerful force in his life that he gives up on resolving it. At that point, Welner said, the shooter attaches his failed masculinity to the idea of being destructive on a big scale.

Welner said Sodini's thinking was focused on authority: " 'I get to be famous. I get to show power. And the very people I can't connect with sexually are going to see me as some kind of a potent figure." '

As for Sodini's blog entries, Welner said, Sodini didn't want people to try and stop him from committing the crime, although Sodini said he kept putting off what he called "the project." Rather, Welner said, Sodini wanted someone to find his blog after the crime was complete.

"He gets to package himself in a way that he wants us to consume," Welner said. "Mass shooting is the only crime we have available in this country -- and it's analogous to suicide bombing in the Islamic world -- where more attention is given to how you're going to appear after the fact than even plotting the crime itself. This is all about attention for him, which is exactly why his videos, his writings shouldn't be exposed. They should be relegated, and he should be remembered as a sexual reject, because that's where all of this derived from."

Continued on Page 2.
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