A Man Kills 3 Women In A Gym. Why?

A Man Kills 3 Women In A Gym. Why?

A Man Kills 3 Women In A Gym. Why?

On August 4, 2009, George Sodini, 48, entered a Collier Township fitness club in Pennsylvania, calmly walked into an aerobics class, turned off the lights and fired 52 rounds of bullets on the 20 occupants, killing three women and injuring nine others, before turning the gun on himself.

Why did Sodini do this? What drives a man to become a mass killer? What is the profile of mass murderers?

Sodini’s website foretold of the chilling events and it gives plenty of insight into Sodini’s motivations. Sodini had been keeping a diary on his blog which eluded to plans of killing young girls at the fitness club, for at least a year prior to the shootings.

To read the full text of L.A. Fitness shooter George Sodini’s blog link / online diary from his website click here. George Sodini’s blog link was removed, and it’s unknown, but the text on his website was published and is here.

Let’s talk first about the motivations, warning signs and characteristics of mass killers and mass murderers; the profile of mass murderers. Listen to my list of the various possible contributing factors that lead to a person becoming a mass killer including possible exacerbation of aggressiveness and tendencies to violence due to psychiatric medication; social withdrawal; anti-social behavior, victim mentality; persecution complex; external blame; extreme chronic stress; feelings of powerlessness; lack of emotional support from friends and family; lists of grievances (people who wronged the murderer); feelings of extreme disappointment, frustration and failure; inability to cope with life and its disappointments; feelings that life is now hopeless, bad and beyond redeem; plans and desires for revenge against those who caused them to suffer (often family members or co-workers); desire to hurt the world believing that they are victims in a cruel unjust world which hurt them; access to automatic weapons. (listen to my radio interview outlining the profile of mass murderers – click here.)

Does George Sodini fit this description?

Almost every single aspect of it! Yes. (listen to the radio interview by Patrick Wanis PhD explaining the causes and pyschological profile of gym killer George Sodini)

Was he on medication? We don’t know but in his diary, Sodini spoke of his struggles with alcoholism and listed his date of death as Aug. 4, 2009, the day of the massacre.

Did he have access to automatic weapons.  Yes!

Three of the four guns found with Sodini were traced back to him, and authorities are in the process of tracing the fourth. They were two 9 mm semi-automatics, a .45-caliber revolver and a .38 in his pocket. Police say Sodini also had 30-round ammunition clips that were illegal before the assault weapons ban was lifted in 2004.

Now let’s talk about Sodini’s mental and emotional state:

He stopped attending church in 2006 – why is that significant? Only that it may indicate his behavior was becoming anti-social and as listed further below, Sodini turned against religion and even blamed it as creating the most damage in his life and world.

Neighbors described Sodini as antisocial. – a reclusive and said he had stopped talking to them in the past few years.

Sodini listed his status as “Never married,” and he characterized himself as a depressed loner with no way out of his misery other than death.  He wrote about never having a meaningful relationship with his father “

In the note found at the scene in Sodini’s gym bag, he complains he had never spent a weekend with a woman, never vacationed with a woman and never lived with a woman, and that he had had limited sexual experiences. He makes similar complaints in his online blog, which also documents his growing rage at women for rejecting him and at the world he felt had abandoned him.

George Sodini’s website foretold of the chilling events which took place at a Collier Township fitness club in Pennsylvania. Sodini had been keeping a diary on his blog, eluding to plans of killing young girls at the fitness club, for at least a year prior to the shootings.

George Sodini allegedly entered the fitness club, calmly entered an aerobics class, turned off the lights and opened fire on the 20 or so occupants, killing three people and injuring nine others, before turning the gun on himself.

Sodini blamed everyone and found bad in everyone: his father, brother, mother, religion, church, right-wing people and women. Sodini also claimed he had no one to help guide or counsel him, no one to tell him what he is doing wrong in his life. He hated women, religion, his life and was jealous of young people and felt his situation was totally hopeless.

Blog entries state that Sodini planned to commit the murders a year ago but decided against it.

An entry in Sodini’s blog, posted November 5, 2008 states, “Planned to do this in the summer but figure to stick around to see the election outcome. This particular one got so much attention and I was just curious…”

These statistics for George Sodini were also posted in his blog. Note the date of death, August 4, 2009 – the same day as the shootings.

George Sodini
Age 48.
DOB 9/30/1960
DOD 8/4/2009
5-10, 155 lbs.
Never married.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA

Below are some excerpts from his online diary/blog which reveal much of his pain and motivations. All spelling errors remain:

 “My dad never (not once) talked to me or asked about my life’s details and tell me what he knew. He was just a useless sperm doner. Don’t know why, find it fun talking to young kids when I visit someone. Brother was actually counter-productive and would try to embarase me or discourage my efferts when persuing things, esp girls early on (teen years). Useless bully. Result is I am learning basics by trial and error in my 40s, followed by discuragement. Seems odd, but thats true. Writing all this is helping me justify my plan and to see the futility of continuing…

Mum – The Central Boss. [address] Don’t piss her off or she will be mad and vindictive for years. She actually thinks she’s normal. Very dominant. Her way and only her way with no flexibility toward everyone in the household. A power and control thing. People outside the immediate family like her. Why are people vicious with their closest ones? She is the Boss above all other Bosses…

Religion: have been in barrooms and church groups. The worst people by far are the religious types. Especially a right-wing, stiff-faced fundie like Andy. A condescending, demeaning, passive-aggresive person. Frigid, rigid, linear and totally inflexible. Being a very serious person, he cannot hide his frown-lined face. He better not try to smile; lest his face might crack. I knew children of parents who grew up in strict religious homes. Religion has a certain stink to it of guilt, shame, fear, and that moral standard that always contradicts the natural tendencies and desires of a person…

…as pastor Rick Knapp would proclaim. Holy —-, religion is a waste. But this guy teaches (and convinced me) you can commit mass murder then still go to heaven. Ask him. Call him at [phone number]. If no answer there, he should still live at [address]. In any case, guilt and fear kept me there 13 long years until Nov 2006. I think his crap did the most damage.

I like to write and talk. Ironic because I haven’t met anybody recently (past 30 years) who I want to be close friends with OR who want to be close friends with me. I was always open to suggestions to what I am doing wrong, no brother or father (mine are useless) or close friend to nudge me and give it bluntly yet tactfully wtf I am doing wrong. A personal coach or someone who knows what he is doing would be perfect. Money is highly secondary for a solution…

I have slept alone for over 20 years. Last time I slept all night with a girlfriend it was 1982. Proof I am a total malfunction. Girls and women don’t even give me a second look ANYWHERE. There is something BLATANTLY wrong with me that NO goddam person will tell me what it is. Every person just wants to be —- nice and say nice things to me. Flattery. Oh yeah, I am sure you can get a date anytime. You look good, etc. —-. Awwww, wait. I can just start being self-righteous and say I live a good, clean life. I am holy, that’s all Rick Knapp stuff. Hear that you —-: I Am Just Good!..

Everthing stays the same regardless of the effert I put in. If I had control over my life then I would be happier. But for about the past 30 years, I have not.”

To read the full text of L.A. Fitness shooter George Sodini’s blog link / online diary from his website click here. George Sodini’s blog link was removed, and it’s unknown, but the text on his website was published and is here.

(Listen to the radio interview by Patrick Wanis PhD explaining the causes and pyschological profile of gym killer George Sodini.)

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5 replies
  1. Avatar
    Van says:

    I’m only 26 but in terms of meeting women or lack there of at the rate I’m going I can see myself feeling like George Sodini did about being partnerless. I’m not making excuses for George and what he did but I can see why he went out the way he did. He never had control over his life and maybe this was his sick way of controlling someone’s fate whether they lived or died.

    Look at his life he didn’t have any meaningful relationships: not with his family, most likely had few friends, and didn’t have a g/f and had trouble getting dates. He was obviously depressed, frustrated, and lonely. Those are recipes for a sad life. I think he wanted to commit suicide, but instead of just ending his own life he probably wanted the victims’ family to feel what he felt, emotional pain.

    The guy was 48, still single(but not by choice), couldn’t get a girl, I think he decided enough is enough and checked out. I would probably do the same thing as him minus the whole shooting other people. Being alone because you can’t get a partner is probably the saddest feeling to have.

  2. Avatar
    Alli says:

    This whole story is very sad and scary to read. Obviously it’s not women’s fault that he did this. Who knows – maybe there’s something about this guy, that women picked up on, that creeped them out. I don’t know that for a fact, but I’m just saying, they may have sensed that this guy wasn’t 100%…It would be interesting if this were true and to know what signals spoke of this.
    These are the questions I am left with after reading the diary blog and hearing Patrick’s fascinating radio interview. (The list of warning signs was very important to hear!) I would be most interested in any input from Patrick…

    1. Is someone like this more of a sexual perpetrator than a murderer? Obviously, he killed women, but one thing that stands out is his obsession with the fact that he hasn’t had sex with a woman lately and sleeps alone. I mean he seemed very fixated with lack of sex. I understand he desired human contact, but at the same time, it seems like he needed a hot woman too to feel like a man. He seemed to think himself to be good looking because he mentioned he’s not ugly. Why was having sex with a hot woman so important to his self esteem ? He also kept stressing that he was getting older…can some of this be attributed to a mid-life crisis gone horribly bad ?
    2. Let’s say this guy by dumb luck, met a hot woman a few weeks ago and they dated and had sex after a couple dates or so. I find that hard to believe that that would have cured this man ? I mean he sounded he didn’t believe any good qualities that anybody told him he had because he didn’t have sex.
    The scary afterthought of that, is ok, so let’s say they have a torrid relationship for a month or so and then the woman dumps him. No one can get inside his mind, but would he have killed her instead of those innocent women who didn’t know him at the gym ? Or would have he seen her favorably for the “opportunity” and still project his rage at the women at the gym?
    3. Given that date rejection seems to stir feelings of inadequacy in insecure men, is there any RECOMMENDED safe way of rejecting a man ? Men ask women out, so they have to deal with rejection as a fact of life. Are there phrases a woman can say that are better than others ? I mean, I’m beginning to think to some men it might not matter, as the fact they got rejected still counts as rejection. Happiness is an inside job, as you often mention indirectly or directly, and that’s outside of anyone else’s control, so is a woman better off just using body language to show uninterest ?
    4. The radio interview mentioned about people not reaching out to others in today’s world and I see that. At the same time, who wants to reach out to someone who vibes as a miserable person and needs professional help. Might getting involved, put oneself in a dangerous position ? I remember hearing some news story a while ago about these innercity teenagers who robbed and killed an old man. One guy was the actual shooter and obviously had problems and when asked in a very brief tv interview why he targeted that older man in the neighborhood to rob and kill…he said something to the effect of well, that old man was nice to me. And the way he said that was like… that’s the old’s guy fault for being nice to me, as if he had it coming. Hearing that, really made me think different on the subject about helping a troubled stranger. It’s a sad reality to have to talk about, but it just seems like in today’s world we can’t open ourselves up to strangers in need, like we might want to, for our own good and safety. That’s what I got out of that anyway. So much for trying not to end this post on a low note !

    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Alli,

      you have posed many powerful questions. Let’s begin with the first:

      “Is someone like this more of a sexual perpetrator than a murderer?”

      The answer is no. If he were a sexual perpetrator, he would have committed a sex crime not murder.

      “Obviously, he killed women, but one thing that stands out is his obsession with the fact that he hasn’t had sex with a woman lately and sleeps alone. I mean he seemed very fixated with lack of sex. I understand he desired human contact, but at the same time, it seems like he needed a hot woman too to feel like a man.”

      Sodini hadn’t slept with a woman in 20 years – he meant that both ways – a woman in his bed and sex with a woman – in 20 years. Women are better at handling a lack of sex than men are. Men are highly physical and yes, much of their self-confidence, self-esteem comes from a positive sexual relationship. Men also view and experience sex as a release. While women primarily connect with men emotionally, men primarily connect emotionally with a woman via sex.

      Your second question:

      “Let’s say this guy by dumb luck, met a hot woman a few weeks ago and they dated and had sex after a couple dates or so. I find that hard to believe that that would have cured this man ?”

      Yes, sex would not have cured him, but a connection with a woman would have been a start. And yes, his deeper issue with women relates to his relationship with his mother. He never had a real connection with her and most likely his sense and feeling of rejection came from her and then his resentment towards women in turn, kept and pushed women away.

      Your third question:

      “Given that date rejection seems to stir feelings of inadequacy in insecure men, is there any RECOMMENDED safe way of rejecting a man ? Men ask women out, so they have to deal with rejection as a fact of life. Are there phrases a woman can say that are better than others ?”

      Women have a much greater challenge handling rejection than men because men are accustomed to it since they are often the hunter. Women, generally speaking, take rejection much more personally than men. Women internalize it too easily. Then, of course, there are execptions to that on both sides. To say “no” to a man needs to be done in a direct manner, respectful but firm manner. It also depends on the venue and circumstance. You mentioned body language which implies you are desiring to say no in person, possibly at a bar, lounge or restaurant. And yes, that is the answer. I did a series of videos for “Dating on Demand.” https://www.datingondemand.com/datingtv/dodsquad/Profile.aspx?expertID=204 In one of them, a lady is approached by a guy at a bar. She is not interested, and although she is single, she lies and tells him that she has a boyfriend. I explained to her that her response is a big mistake. And yes, he stayed and said, “I don’t care if you have a boyfriend.” First mistake: don’t lie, second, men only respond to direct responses. If you keep the conversation open, a guy will keep talking and trying – he is a hunter. Also, I told her that if you say you have a boyfriend, he might tell his friends and one of them who might have been interested in you, now won’t approach you and thus, you miss out. I demonstrated to her that the best response to express “no, I am not interested” is via body language. Say to him, “Thanks for talking to me” or “Enjoy your evening”, shake his hand, smile, and immediately turn your back or walk away. The body language pose of back turned signals the subconscious that the connection has been cut, plus it also cuts off the verbal connection.

      Your last point expressed fear of reaching out to a troubled person because he or she might hurt you. My point is to be open and reach out with a smile, a helping hand to those that are also open. In the interview, I gave a specific example, a woman stopped on the street or walking slowly and crying. I said, stop and simply say “I see you crying, may I help?” That approach allows the person to say yes or no.

      I hope these answers above help.
      All the best,
      Patrick

  3. Avatar
    Alli says:

    Thanks for putting up the blog link and for the radio interview link. The blog link to George Sodini’s diary gives us an idea of what was going through his mind. It saddened me to read it because he sounded like a fairly intelligent person. The scary thing about reading all of that is he sounded very human and if he hadn’t killed people and mentioned anything about that in his blog, the rest of the diary would come off as normal struggles someone might go through.

    Obviously he had psychological problems but at the same time, he seemed very conscious of his bad thoughts and that his life wasn’t right and that he needed to get it on track. I find that to be the most frightening is that he was very aware of what he was doing and especially at the end of the blog when he mentions that many women won’t believe that he was this crazy because they said he was a nice guy.

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