The Patterns and Prevalence of Mass Public Shootings in the United States, 1915-2013

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The Patterns and Prevalence of Mass Public Shootings in the United States, 1915-2013

Category: Homicide, Mass Shootings|Journal: The Wiley Handbook of the Psychology of Mass Shootings (full text)|Author: G Duwe|Year: 2015

This chapter defines mass public shootings as incidents that occur in the absence of other criminal activity in which a gun was used to kill four or more victims at a public location. It traces the history of mass public shootings in the United States by examining 160 cases that occurred between 1915 and 2013. The chapter focuses on the patterns of mass public shootings by reporting incident, victim, and offender characteristics. The extensive news coverage given to mass public shootings, especially in relation to other mass killings, has helped influence perceptions about the typical mass murder. Given that perceptions help shape policy recommendations in the aftermath of such events, proposals to reduce mass killings have often focused on gun laws, school and workplace policies, and mental health reform. The broad social forces or policies that are effective in reducing crime may thus have a similar, albeit less direct, effect on mass public shootings.

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