The murders are not personal. The killer is employing what’s known as the “principle of social substitutability” — substituting a particular group of people for a general wrong.
“The rampage shooters see themselves as moralistic punishers striking against deep injustice,” Peter Turchin explains in his essay “Canaries in a Coalmine.” “. . . it is usually a group, an organization, an institution, or the whole society that are held responsible by the killer.
“On the battlefield,” he wrote, “you are supposed to try to kill a person whom you’ve never met before. You are not trying to kill this particular person, you are shooting because he is wearing the enemy uniform. . . . Enemy soldiers are socially substitutable.”