Self defense podcast cover aware and prepared with host mandi pratt

Inside The Mind of An Active Shooter

Inside The Mind of An Active Shooter: Insights From a Threat Assessment Expert

Podcast cover art of Aware and Prepared Podcast host Mandi Pratt with guest Dr. Manny Taua


In this episode, the host and guest – Dr. Manny Tau, a seasoned threat assessment expert, discuss the case of Elliot Rodger, an active shooter responsible for a tragic rampage in Isla Vista (USCB area of Santa Barbara). 


Dr. Tau highlights Rodger’s entitlement, narcissism, and lack of empathy as contributing factors to his violent actions. 

By examining Rodger’s progression through stages of violent ideation and planning, Dr. Tau emphasizes the importance of early intervention and the complexity of identifying at-risk individuals. The episode also explores broader societal trends, such as entitlement and declining resilience, underscoring the need for proactive measures and fostering connections to prevent such tragedies.


Lessons Learned

Understanding Incels: Incels, short for involuntary celibates, are individuals who feel wronged by society, particularly regarding romantic relationships, often blaming alpha males for their own lack of success with women.


The Perils of Fixation: Fixation can escalate into dangerous obsession, with three main types: delusional fixation, obsessive fixation, and extreme overvalued belief fixation.


Elliot Rodger’s Case: Elliot Rodger exemplified a combination of delusional fixation and extreme overvalued beliefs, leading him to take violent action as a form of retribution for perceived wrongs.


The Pathway to Violence: Dr. Tau outlined six stages of the pathway to violence, starting from grievances and escalating to the actual attack, highlighting the importance of recognizing warning signs and intervening early.


Types of Aggressors: Aggressors can be affective (visibly upset) or predatory (calm and collected), with Elliot Rodger displaying traits of both as a parasitic aggressor, known for manipulation and toxic behavior.


Societal Factors: Contributing to Violence: Factors such as entitlement, cognitive laziness, and declining resilience contribute to a culture conducive to targeted violence, emphasizing the need for fostering connectedness and addressing societal values.

The Importance of Connectedness: Disconnectedness, particularly neglect and isolation during childhood, is a significant risk factor for violence, highlighting the importance of promoting connectedness among individuals and communities as a preventative measure.



Dr. Manny Tau website


Story and Timeline of Isla Vista Rampage


Victims of Isla Vista Rampage


***Don’t forget to review the show (bottom of all episodes) – is it helpful, practical, insightful?***


Book Mandi for your school, conference or workshop to share her real life story, how she healed and practical takeaways to inspire and empower your audience.


Find out the top 10 things Mandi does to keep herself safe at the bottom of her website


You can find Mandi, on Instagram @WomenAwareAndPrepared 


Music by Andrea Hamilton Binley at

The primary purpose of the Women Aware and Prepared Podcast is to educate and inform. This podcast series does not constitute advice or services. Please use common sense for your own situation.

Choose which platform you’d like to listen and follow the show:

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.