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December 17th, 2013
04:38 PM ET

"Piers Morgan Live, Rewind": Dr. Michael Welner on the Arapahoe High School shooter, and the psychology of the lottery

Whether you fell asleep early, stayed out too late, or simply want to watch it again, we realize it's not always possible to get your entire "Piers Morgan Live" fix from television. As an answer to this, we offer the below labor of love – "Piers Morgan Live, Rewind" – dedicated and designed to getting you caught up and connected to the conversation.

  • Dr. Michael Welner: Mass killings are by-products of high self-esteem

Members of Centennial, Colorado are still reeling from the evil that befell Arapahoe High School on Friday, when 18-year-old Karl Pierson came to campus fully armed for what police believe to be a mass shooting spree.

While Pierson’s initial target, his high school debate teacher Tracy Murphy, was able to escape, student Claire Davis remains in a coma after being shot in the head.

On Monday evening, Piers Morgan welcomed Dr. Michael Welner, asking the forensic psychiatrist for insight into why the young man was driven to create so much panic and fear in the hearts and minds of his classmates and community.

“Well this is quite clearly more than just intending to kill the debate coach or he wouldn't have gone in there armed to the teeth and with Molotov cocktails and with every capacity to carry out a mass casualty attack,” said the man who's served as the principle doctor in many high-profile cases similar to the incident in Colorado.

According to Welner, Pierson – who ultimately took his own life – saw this as “something that's going to give him a transcended immortality.”

An expert on matters of mental perspective, Welner theorized that “mass killing and fantasies of mass killing are the by-product of people with high self-esteem.”

Blaming society and the media for glorifying past mass-shooters, Welner indicated that Pierson's actions were not mutually exclusive from previous events:

“He watches how we make other people like [Adam] Lanza, like Aurora, like Columbine bigger than life and he says, ‘I'm going to have that,’ and we're just giving it to him.”

As throughout the interview a picture of Pierson flashed on the screen next beside photos of Lanza, the Newtown perpetrator, and Aurora killer James Holmes, Welner noted the significance:

“We have his smiling picture ... it perpetuates it.”

  • Michael Welner on the lotto: “It's like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"

As the lottery jackpot creeps closer to the U.S. record of $656 million, on Monday evening "Piers Morgan Live" welcomed Dr. Michael Welner, asking the psychiatrist to place the lotto obsession into perspective, and offer analysis as to why people partake in the contests, and why misfortune can sometimes follow the winners.

For Welner, the key to hanging on to the winnings is a matter of combating the vulnerability of those who suddenly find themselves richer than Daddy Warbucks.

He recommends that any lucky lotto player plan to make adjustments in their lives, and to take things in stride.

The financial issues so often hamstringing those that pick the right numbers, Morgan asked his guest if "the lottery [is] a force for good or bad in a society like America?”

Welner quickly answered in the affirmative, calling it “wonderful,” and noting that “lotteries raise money, the proceeds go to necessary programs that states have that otherwise they would be having taxes for.”

That, combined with the fact that “everyone's on a level playing field,” help further explain why Welner is in favor of the lottery:

“It's like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the magic of that when you were a child. The idea that anybody rich, poor, any corner of the earth, if you've got that winning ticket, it's you.”

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Robert G.

    Interesting how this is no longer front page news once it came out there were armed guards at the school

    December 21, 2013 at 6:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Robert G.

    Piers Morgan should do an interview with the armed security guard from the school and ask if he played any role in ending this tragedy sooner.

    December 21, 2013 at 6:12 am | Report abuse | Reply

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