Friday, January 14, 2011

Secret Service Study Probes Psyche of U.S. Assassins

Via (Wired Science) -

With public speculation mounting about what motivated a 22-year-old man to attempt to kill a congresswoman, a little-known study by the Secret Service suggests the truth may be frighteningly mundane.

The study of U.S. assassinations over the last 60 years debunks some key myths about the miscreants behind the attacks. The Exceptional Case Study Project, completed in 1999, covers all 83 people who killed or attempted to kill a public figure in the United States from 1949 to 1996.

“We approached a number of people, many in prison,” says forensic psychologist Robert Fein, who co-directed the study with Bryan Vossekuil of the Secret Service. “We said you’re an expert on this rare kind of behavior. We’re trying to aid prevention of this kind of attack. We’d welcome your perspectives.”

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