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Mass shooting means a number of people shot in the course of a single incident by a single criminal or a small group of criminals. The overarching goal for these individuals is to kill as many people as they can.
During the last 30 years, the United States had 78 mass shootings, more than 2 per year on average. By contrast there were 41 mass shootings in 24 other wealthy, industrial nations during the same period. Greater gun availability does not prevent mass shootings. Perpetrators are most of the time men while women and children are disproportionately the victims, girls more so than boys.
Media coverage of a mass shooting show future perpetrators how to do it. Extremist ideology can convince a person extreme violence is justified and many different ideologies can facilitate extreme violence.
“”To a much greater degree than is generally understood, there's strong evidence of a copycat effect rippling through many cases, both among mass shooters and those aspiring to kill. Perpetrators and plotters look to past attacks for not only inspiration but operational details, in hopes of causing even greater carnage.
Tough state laws on gun procurement did not protect California from mass shootings because nearby states have much easier access to firearms and guns can be transported between states as easily as cars can. From 2009 to 2015 states insisting on background checks suffered 52% fewer mass shootings than states without background checks. Background checks also reduce the numbers of women shot dead during domestic violence and the number of police shot dead. The National Rifle Association pressured the US Federal government not to allocate funds for gun control research. One has to wonder that they have to hide.
Claims that violent video games lead to real-life violence have not been substantiated. In fact, while about 70% of high schoolers play violent video games, only 20% of mass shooters say they have played those games. Playing violent video games is not associated with real-life aggression. Researchers have not found a link between the popularity of video games and the amount of gun homicides in a country.
Researchers have found that video games are blamed more often when the shooter is white as opposed to when the shooter is black.
“”These issues become obscured when mass shootings come to stand in for all gun crime, and when “mentally ill” ceases to be a medical designation and becomes a sign of violent threat.
|—Jonathan M. Metzl MD, PhD, and Kenneth T. MacLeish PhD|
Mass shootings have been blamed on mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Media coverage focuses disproportionately on shootings perpetrated by people with mental illnesses as compared to shootings committed by people with no diagnoses.
Most people with mental illnesses are ordinary, nonviolent people who want to continue going about their lives. Even people with serious illnesses are highly unlikely to be violent.
“”Blaming autism lets people wave away the idea that evil is not inborn but grown, that someone they know could have hate growing within, that there is capacity for harm in all of us and we don't have an easy answer for it.
However, the reality is that autistic people are less violent than average. Research has shown that autistic children tend to be less aggressive than non-autistic children, with any outbursts usually being the result of provocation. Autistic adults are less likely to commit crime. Research shows that being on the autism spectrum reduces the risk of violent behavior. Autistic people, however, are more likely to be victims.
Nevertheless, autistics pay the price. For example, 17-year-old autistic Jack Robison was accused of being a terrorist for his scientific curiosity in creating explosives with household chemicals, setting them off in the woods away from other people, and filming the results; it took a year-long battle for all charges to be dropped. Another autistic teen, a quiet and nonviolent boy who has been bullied to the point of PTSD, was targeted by rumors at school that he was the reason for the school's lockdown. Research shows that exposure to claims about autism causing violence leads to negative attitudes towards autistic people.
- School shooting
- Aurora shootings
- 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting
- Christchurch terrorist attacks
- Hate crime
- Criminologist: Six Things You Should Know About Mass Shootings
- Maybe we should outlaw ownership of guns by men?
- Crime profilers overhaul theories on motives after latest mass shootings
- While politicians do nothing, a growing legion of cops, psychologists, and federal agents is scrambling to stem the bloodshed.
- A Criminologist Explains the Devastating Truth About Mass Shootings in America
- Video games, violence and mass shootings have a long, complicated history - USA Today
- No evidence that violent video games are causing mass shootings, despite politicians’ claims - CNBC
- Violent video game engagement is not associated with adolescents' aggressive behaviour: evidence from a registered report - Royal Society
- Fact check: Are violent video games connected to mass shootings? - CNN
- Violent video games blamed more often for school shootings by white perpetrators - Science Daily
- Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms - American Journal of Public Health
- Mental Illness, Mass Shootings, and the Politics of American Firearms
- Trends In News Media Coverage Of Mental Illness In The United States: 1995–2014 - Health Affairs
- The NRA wants an 'active' mental illness database. Thirty-eight states have that now. - Washington Post
- Don't Blame Mental Illness for Mass Shootings - American Academy of Family Physicians
- Gun violence and mental health - American Federation of Teachers
- Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: bringing epidemiologic research to policy.
- "Flying at Night": the Good, the Bad, the Shocking - Autistic Dreams
- The Myth of the Autistic Shooter - New York Times
- Aggression in children with autism spectrum disorders and a clinic-referred comparison group
- Autism Is Not Psychosis - The Atlantic
- Toronto attack: Autism does not increase risk of violence - The Conversation
- Victimization and Perpetration Experiences of Adults With Autism - Frontiers in Psychiatry
- Autism link to violence is a myth - CNN
- Autistic teen says peers at Norwalk High unfairly label him a threat - The Hour
- The influence of media suggestions about links between criminality and autism spectrum disorder