A notebook that is believed to be connected to the mass killing of 12 movie-goers at a Colorado cinema reportedly shows stick figures being gunned down. It would not be the first time a mass killer has put pen to paper or typed out their murderous visions. Here is a brief look at the writings of mass killers, bombers and would-be assassins over the past 40 years.
‘Son of Sam’ letters to police
David Berkowitz was an American serial killer who was behind the killing of six people in New York City over a period of 13 months.
His letters, riddled with misspellings, to the New York City Police Department were taunts and a window into one man’s deluded mind.
“Dear Captain Joseph Borrelli, I am deeply hurt by your calling me a wemon hater. I am not. But I am a monster. I am the 'Son of Sam.' I am a little brat.
“When father Sam gets drunk he gets mean. He beats his family. Sometimes he ties me up to the back of the house. Other times he locks me in the garage. Sam loves to drink blood.
“'Go out and kill,' commands father Sam,” he writes in one letter left at a murder scene in April 1977. Portions of different letters were published in New York City newspapers.
Mr. Berkowitz was arrested and later confessed to the killings claiming that a neighbour’s dog ordered him to kill.
Reagan’s would-be assassin
John Hinckley Jr. was wrestled to the ground in March 1981 by secret service agents and police after trying to assassinate President Ronald Reagan - firing six bullets, the last of which narrowly missing the president’s heart.
In his hotel room, Mr. Hinckley left a two-page letter to actress Jodie Foster. He was obsessed with the actress after watching her in the film Taxi Driver - a film he watched 15 times. In the letter, he said he was seeking to kill President Reagan in order to win her love.
“Over the past seven months I've left you dozens of poems, letters and love messages in the faint hope that you could develop an interest in me...” writes Mr. Hinckley.
“By sacrificing my freedom and possibly my life, I hope to change your mind about me. This letter is being written only an hour before I leave for the Hilton Hotel. Jodie, I'm asking you to please look into your heart and at least give the chance, with this historical deed, to gain your love and respect,” writes Mr. Hinckley on the day of his assassination attempt.
The publishing of the “Unabomber Manifesto” in the New York Times and Washington Post in 1995 happened at the request of police after written threats by Ted Kaczynski.
Mr. Kaczynski was behind a string of mail bombings from 1978 until 1995 that killed three and wounded 23. He warned that if the 35,000-word manifesto was not published the bombing would continue.
The manifesto was a critique of the industrial revolution, which had damaged the natural world and causes psychological suffering, Mr. Kaczynski argues in his introduction.
“The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering even in ‘advanced’ countries,” he writes.
In the manifesto, Mr. Kaczynski defends the bombings. He was arrested a year after the manifesto was published and is serving a life term in prison.
Virginia Tech gunman
In April 2007, student Cho Seung-Hui went on a rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech killing 32 people before turning the gun on himself.
During the killing spree, Mr. Cho mailed pictures, videos and an 1,800-word manifesto to NBC News. The multimedia package was a rage-filled diatribe and promise to get even without ever mentioning any names.
"You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today," Mr. Cho is heard saying, “But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off."
After the massacre, testimony emerged that the student had been bullied, suffered from mental health issues and even channeled his anger and violent visions in a creative writing course.
While his creative writing did not refer to using guns to kill, they were disturbing enough to alert police.
"The threats seemed to be underneath the surface," said Lucida Roy, Virginia Tech’s former head of the English department. "They were not explicit, and that was the difficulty the police had."
Anders Breivik’s manifesto
Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik is accused of carrying out a shooting rampage and bombings that killed 77 people last July.
Judges will decide on the case August 24th.
A 1,500-page manifesto published online, called 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, has been attributed to Mr. Breivik.
The manifesto rails against a Marxist Islamic trend in Europe which he sought to halt, outlining his involvement in a resistance movement against the Islamization of the continent.
It also outlines plans and personal preparation for a series of attacks.
Shortly after it was published online, there were claims that parts of the manifest were copied from the Unabomber Manifesto.