Expert: Inside the mind of the freeway shooter

Posted at 10:07 PM, Sep 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-12 01:07:10-04

The freeway shootings have certainly had a big impact on our local community these past two weeks; not only in the way people are going about their daily lives, but the way they're handling it mentally.

Psychotherapist Duffy McMahon spoke with us about the affects these shootings have on the public, and what leads people to commit acts of domestic terrorism.


For the first time, many of us are feeling like potential targets on the street.

"The mind of the community is one right now of, 'what do I do?' It's a combination of fear and confusion," said Duffy McMahon. "Do I stop doing everything? Because that's literally impossible."

From video games and movies, to the 24-hour news cycle, McMahon says society has largely become desensitized to violence. But when the threat strikes too close to home, it's a different story.

"Everybody's going to do it in their own way," she said. "Some people are going to say, 'Hey, I don't have to go out so I'm not going to.' Other people are going to say, 'I'm just going to drive the side streets, that's it.'"

McMahon says there's no point in panicking, but it's also too early to breathe a sigh of relief.

"We all have to be careful, especially now, of copycats. People will be able to see that this person or persons, whoever it is, has been able to get away with this."

She says the reality is, we'll all most likely bounce back to our routine in a couple days.

"We have a very short attention span."


McMahon doesn't know who's behind these freeway shootings, but she has a pretty good idea what they're thinking.

"It's a game to them. And the game is kind of like cops and robbers, and 'you're not gonna get me," she said.  "The type of personality of somebody doing this is somebody that thinks that they are extremely smart and smarter than everybody else. And they may be very high IQ'd."

McMahon believes something from the shooter's past inspired this violent action.

"Most likely they are very insecure, have very low self esteem, may have been bullied in school."

She doesn't believe the suspect was shooting to kill.

"If they really wanted to kill somebody I imagine they could, and they could also shoot a tire out to make the car spin out of control. There's a number of things they could have done to cause a car crash or cause more harm."

Long story short, it's a power play.

"Almost an incredible sense of superiority, I can shoot you whenever I want to."