Archive for June 15, 2012

On the Possible Motivations of Travis Baumgartner

June 15, 2012 7 comments

Some of you might have heard that an employee of G4S Cash Solutions Canada shot four of his coworkers, killing three of them.

Edmonton police are looking for an employee for a security firm who remains missing following an armoured-car robbery attempt that left three guards dead and another fighting for his life at Edmonton’s University of Alberta.Travis Brandon Baumgartner, 21, an employee of G4S Cash Solutions Canada, was identified by police as the subject of “an intense investigation,” Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht said. “This was not a random attack,” he said. At 3 p.m. local time, Edmonton police announced they were issuing four warrants – three counts of first-degree murder, one of attempted murder – for Mr. Baumgartner’s arrest.

Now, workplace shootings are not uncommon in the USA. Infact, we have a term to describe them- going postal. Mark Ames has even written a fairly well-recieved book about this phenomena- Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.

However this incident has some peculiarities. First- it happened in Canada… yes, Canada! Incidents such as these are extremely unusual in this country. Secondly, the guy does not meet many of the criteria of your typical workplace shooter. The alleged shooter is apparently tall (6′ 4″), was gainfully employed and not your average loner or anti-social guy. He did have some somewhat overtly optimistic estimates about his future- but nothing odd for a 22 year old guy. Infact, nothing about him stands out as particularly odd. Sure.. he had an interest in guns, but so do many men who seek employment in the armed forces or police.

People who want to rob an armored truck do not typically post FaceBook updates like-

His last status, written at 11:33 a.m. Thursday, quoted a line spoken in the movie The Dark Knight, by the Joker character. “One night she grabs the kitchen knife to defend herself, now he doesn’t like that… Not… One… Bit…” Mr. Baumgartner wrote.

or write things like this on their timeline-

Mr. Baumgartner’s Facebook page also suggests he was excited about his job. Earlier this week, he’d posted before a shift: “It’s time to go fill ABMs. If you want to know where that money comes from, I’ll tell you… Me :)”

And, on June 1, he wrote: “I wonder if I’d make the 6 o clock news if I just started poping [sic] people off.”

I believe that money, was at best, the peripheral motivation behind his unfortunate actions. In my opinion, his motivations to do what he did were highly personal in nature.. or he was doing bath salts.

What do you think? Comments?

PS: We will return to our usual programing about the nature and behavior of complex socio-economic systems and pictures of nekkid chicks after this post.