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I keep seeing folk saying that mass shooters are cowards. I can't see how that works. These people are well aware that the odds of their surviving the arrival of the police are very slim. They're going in to die and take as many others with them as they can. Their actions are many things, cowardly is not one.

RobAnybody 7 Feb 26

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No. Not cowards. Angry, unfulfilled, depressed, seemingly misunderstood, alienated young people (notably, males). Their rage overtakes them, all logic and reason disappears and they take control (perhaps for the first time) of their situation, without worrying about the consequences because those consequences may look better to them than the life they currently lead.


They are cowards!
They attack those unable to defend themselves,
ok, they are crazy in that they probably hope to die,
but they are still cowards.
Why don't they walk into a military base with guns blazing?
They are seeking glory the only way that they can because they are such miserable beings.
Weak, pathetic and cowardly.

However they are anticipating their own deaths. The target is irrelevant except insofar as they are trying to get the highest body count. Both the USA and Australia have had their soldiers attack people unable to defend themselves. I would not argue that this makes our soldiers cowards. No more are school shooters cowards for choosing the best way to achieve their "mission".

@RobAnybody Martin Bryant, our worst ever mass murderer chased down little girls and shot them on his way to Port Arthur, Bryant drove down the road, to where a woman and her two children were walking. He stopped and fired two shots, killing the woman and the child she was carrying. The older child fled, but Bryant followed her and killed her with a single shot. You are correct, technically not a coward, I just automatically ascribe terms of contempt and low regard. But arsehole is probably more appropriate. And here in Oz we are paying for this prick to be kept in solitary at a cost of about $200,000 per year.

@Rugglesby Yep, but the poor sad bastard who shot at my students at Monash is just that. Not a coward, not even really an arsehole, just a sad prick who felt he had nowhere else to go. Not that I love him now, I still get a bit twitchy even writing this. But he's another person, and needs to be understood as such. If only so we can try to stop the next one. Worth noting that both he and Bryant have psychological issues. Different ones, but serious none the less.


I would say that they are cowards because their death from police is not their goal. Their goal is to dominate others and rather than act on a level playing field they give themselves as much advantage as they can. Armed and armoured against school children. It doesn't get any more cowardly than that in my opinion. Whatever statement they want to make, they haven't got the guts to do it on equal terms.

Much like soldiers, no? When you set out to kill people you take whatever advantage you can get. Soldiers, however, are trying to survive. These people have already given up their lives.

Not really, yes soldiers are giving themselves every advantage over the enemy, but you have to assume the enemy is the bad guy (although I understand it's not always that clear cut). They should only be killing other armed soldiers who are trying to kill them. You could only draw comparisons here if a rogue soldier deliberately went and murdered a load of civilians, in which case they would also be a coward.


They are neither brave nor cowardly. They simply have gotten to a point of despair and hopelessness where their life hs no meaning, except for anger at the unfairness of it all. They feel they have nothing to lose, so they go out showing their disdain for this world in a final statement.

It is despair, anger and a complete lack of hope for their life ever improving in any meaningful way.

There is a reason why Oama's message of "The audacity of hope" rang so true for so many. America is on a societal decline.


I've heard some people say they taunt in order to shame people into better behavior. That could be true, or they could be lying to cover their psychopathic tendencies (not saying they are all psychopaths, just that humans do carry a seed of evil (no religious connotation intended - it's just a good descriptor of certain kinds of bad behavior), and if that seed is watered, it tends to grow. I sure know that at least some people taunt to amuse themselves by causing others' misery.

Taunting about suicide tends to feed a suicidal person's belief that they do not deserve to live - not cause them to think that suicide would somehow decrease their already non-existent value.

Taunting people about being fat usually leads to emotional eating - not renewed resolve to lose weight.

I'd imagine that taunting people about mass murdering would only serve to further tick off the so-inclined, further convincing them that large numbers of the general population need to be killed or punished.


I me and you hate each other and are about to fight with our bare hands to the death. You think about it and run in the opposite direction to grab your ar or hand gun. You are by definition a coward. Or you want to kill 40 people.
There is a police station full of men with guns or there is a school with teenagers. You pick the elementary school. Coward

By that definition soldiers are cowards. It was hammered into us from basic onward that you take every advantage you can get. Police station full of armed strangers? That's why god gave us artillery. Of course you pick the soft target, that gives you the highest chance of success. Bravery doesn't enter into it. The shooters have given up on having a life. They're out to cause maximum havoc. This does not mean they are cowards.


There you go talking logically again. It got Bill Maher in trouble after 9/11

Oops, sorry.


A coward is someone who needs a gun to kill others to force his views on the majority. A brave man would use his words and intelligence to debate and change someone's mind with facts .

Except they espouse no position (OK Anders Breivik I will grant as an exception) other than causing as much mayhem as possible. Their aim is high body count followed by death. I also note, as I have in other responses to this line of argument, that soldiers use guns to force their views on others. And my generation at least hoped to survive the experience. If you argue that this is what makes a coward then logically you argue that soldiers are greater cowards. Some are, but most are not. Demonstrably.

@RobAnybody soldiers are just paid killers for Bigger greedier cowards

@SimonMorgan1 It's a point of view, one with which I disagree having been a soldier and known many. Most were there because they felt a need to do more for their country. I never met one, even amongst the men conscripted for Vietnam, who just took the money and thought that was enough. The part about the bigger greedier cowards I might buy, if you are prepared to accept that that includes every citizen of a democracy. They are the ones ultimately responsible for sending young men (and now young women) out to kill.


I think, for some, calling them "cowards", is an effort to diminish them. Perhaps, to call them cowards is to make them seem "lesser than", even though by their actions they have already done that. I also think, for some men, being called a coward is among the ultimate insults. So those that do it are trying to further belittle such people. It makes very little sense and has absolutely no impact whatsoever.

YES!!! We don't like what they did so they must be evil incarnate rather than humans a lot like us.


I think it's the same thing as calling people who commit suicide cowards. Until you've been in that state of mind, you have no business labeling them as anything.

It's braver to live life that's far harder than ending it . Been down that rabbit hole and glad I didn't succeed

I spent many months talking myself into living every morning. And have also had the even more depressing situation where I wanted out but knew that suicide wasn’t an option because I didn’t want my kids to feel like it was something they did. Thank science I finally found a quality psychiatrist who really cared about me and found the best medication for me. @SimonMorgan1


Calling them cowards goes with the conservative talking points that ensure we are not talking about guns.

Good point

@Rudy1962 What Rudy said. Plus it goes with "arming teachers". The syllogism being "They are cowards. Armed teachers will deter them." Not thinking that an armed teacher is more like a low level boss fight on a first person shooter.

@RobAnybody Agreed, The people who do this go into it knowing that they are unlikely to survive and are ok with that outcome. They are in no way cowards, and a teacher with a gun is not going to make them less likely to attack, they are probably just as willing to kill an armed teacher as they are an unarmed teacher or student.

Putting this kind of burden on the teachers is not a good idea, they are there to educate, mentor, and nurture the students under their care, protection does come into their job but they are not trained nor did they sign up for putting their life on the line, nor should they have to.

We as a nation could decide that enough is enough and free the CDC to fund research into the causes and solutions to gun violence. At some point the republicans/conservatives need to decide whether they want to be part of a cooperative society, or if their individuality trumps all.

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