Researchers from the Arizona State University have published the results of their research within which they analyzed the effect of previous Mass killings and school shootings and whether or not these fit within a contagion model.
The full publication can be accessed via: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0117259
In short the results of the research conducted provide the following important findings, please note that a mass killing is defined as an event of four or more deaths:
We find significant evidence that mass killings involving firearms are incented by similar events in the immediate past.
- Mass Killings: Incites an average of 0.30 new incidents (30%)
- School Shootings: Incites an average of 0.22 new incidents (22%)
- Contagion Period: Increase in probability – 13 days
The average occurrences of these tragic events are pretty alarming, to say the least. The researchers provide the following:
On average, mass killings involving firearms occur approximately every two weeks in the US, while school shootings occur on average monthly.
Firearm Ownership Associated to Incidences
And then of course the ever ongoing debate on gun ownership would have to be mentioned here ….
… [US] state prevalence of firearm ownership is significantly associated with the state incidence of mass killings with firearms, school shootings, and mass shootings.
In so far as the media playing a role within the possibility of ‘spreading’ the contagion when it comes to mass shootings or school shootings – the researchers state that the answer may never be known. This is attributed to the fact that the perpetrators commit suicide after their actions and the contributing factors can never truly be explored.
Behind the Bloodshed
Behind the Bloodshed is a published ‘study’ provided by USAToday. And again the figures are startling:
- Since 2006: 200+ mass killings in the USA [172 cases 2006-2011 – FBI]
- In 2015 there are 13 events of this nature already – up until June 17th with the Charleston, SC church killing by Dylann Storm Roof
- Within the 2015 data to date: 11 events were conducted by shooting, 1 by blunt force and 1 by stabbing.
- Data published by the FBI is only 57% accurate due to erroneous reports as well as excluded cases.
- About 57% of the victims knew their killers – even if they were not the main target.
- 77% of mass killings involve a gun
- Nearly one-third of victims were under age 18.
- Many mass killers do not face prosecution – suicide, killed by police, or mental illness.
As can be seen from the above, this is a real problem and the statistics really speak volumes!
The FBI data
Although the accuracy of the mass killing data provided is limited, as described above, additional data from the FBI website, and specifically the study entitled “Active Shooter Events from 2000 to 2012” – the location of attacks highlights the potential danger to school going children. 29% of attacks were at a school as the primary location. Image Source
Profiling does not seem to be a viable option here due to “Single shooters conducted all attacks between 2000 to 2012 that the authors identified. Shooters did not fit a specific profile.” as provided in the Active Shooter Event Study quoted above.
Additional (and relevant) data snippets from this study, specific to shooting equipment:
- 60 percent of the attacks the most powerful weapon used was a pistol.
- 8 percent it was a shotgun
- the most powerful weapon used was a rifle in about 25 percent of the cases.
- Multiple weapons in about one-third of the attacks.
- 3 percent of the cases – improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to the attack site
- Attacker(s) wore body armor in 5 percent.