Threats close campuses around Oregon: What’s the psychology behind it?

Ashland, Ore. — The community has been on edge since a gunman opened fire on Umpqua Community College last week, killing 9, and injuring 9 others. Since that incident, several other local community colleges and universities have been closed or evacuated due to threats. So what causes people to make these kind of threats? NBC5 sat down with a clinical psychologist to find out.

“If the killings happened in Roseburg and it was never reported, well nobody would make a threat becuase they wouldnt even know it happened,” psychologist Douglas Col, PhD. says.

“The bigger the story, the longer it lasts, I mean you’re not going to copy something if you never see it in the first place.”

Doctor Douglas Col says the individuals most likely to capitalize on fear, are those who feel the most disconnected.

“The story is often time the same, there’s a guy who was overweight, got picked on, started training in martial arts but still felt marginalized and felt he was a victim.”

The psyche behind it, is complicated, but Col says it boils down to a need for power.

“They’re capitalizing on that, needing some kind of power,” Col says, “Bogus…but effective.”

Col says there’s a big difference between those who threaten, and those who act.

“The people who do it don’t threaten.”




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