A Kink in Kipland Kinkel’s Kortex

When Kipland Kinkel was expelled from school for having a loaded pistol, he was terrified of what his father would say. He felt that he had nowhere to turn and no choice but to end his parents’ lives. He planned how he would do it, and how he would make sure that he, too, would die but not before getting back at classmates who made him feel worthless. There was something else about this kid besides failing to be part of the popular crowd. The way he planned and carried out what he did on May 21, 1998, speaks to something a bit more malignant: he may have been psychopathic. Violence develops in the first two years of our lives. With the exception of certain rare head injuries no one biological factor predisposes a child to violent behavior. In other words, it’s not due to a brain disorder, genetics, or mistakes in parenting, but could be the result of a cumulative effect. Child psychologist Jonathan Kellerman recounts how Kinkel wantonly destroyed his world over something as minor as a school violation. His crime showed a finely honed and detailed sense of premeditation.  “What turns them on,” says Kellerman “is the kick, the high, the impulse…the subjugation of others.” They seem quiet and shy, but it may be the emotional flatness that signals psychopathy.

In 1999, PBS’s “Frontline” produced a documentary of Kip called “The Killer at Thurston High.” He was raised by two schoolteachers who wanted to get the most out of life. He was dyslexic in the midst of a family that was immersed in academics. He was small and weak with a poorly-managed temper. His father had a temper and was quick to show judgment. He struggled against his father, who wanted to keep guns out of the home then changed his mind and bought him high-powered rifles. Kip’s parents took him to a therapist who talked about his own Glock 9-mm handguns. Kip was put on Prozac for depression but he stopped taking it. He wrote in his journals about how much he hated himself.  Watch kip kinkel Thurston high school shooting tragedy.   When he was found with a gun in his possession the police took him away and called his father to come get him.  With all hope gone he got his semiautomatic rifle,  returned to the kitchen and shot his father to death. Then he waited for his mother to come home. She parked in the garage downstairs, Kip came and told her he loved her before he shot her six times. He covered the bodies of both of his parents with sheets and as he waited through the night. He left a note, “I have killed my parents. I am a horrible son.” In his journal, he’d written, “My head just doesn’t work right. Goddam these voices in my head.”  Nearly one year after Kinkel’s rampage, on the anniversary of Adolph Hitler’s birthday in 1889, the Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado occurred. Kip pled guilty to four counts of first-degree murder and twenty-four counts of attempted murder. He was sentenced to 112 years in prison without parole. Watch Kip Kinkel’s confession pt 1

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