Mass shooters (4 or more dead) often generally share four similar traits, according to a study commissioned by DoJ and done by The Violence Project. They are 1) childhood trauma, 2) personal crisis or specific grievance, 3) a roadmap or script that validates their feelings, and 4) access to a firearm.
The data and conclusions are below. However, the most deadly mass shooting in the U.S -, Mandalay Bay here in Las Vegas where 58 were murdered and hundreds injured – remains an outlier and a cipher. Stephen Paddock had no apparent grievances, politics, or trauma. He had no manifesto. Despite literally tens of thousands of hours spent by multiple law enforcement agencies, no one has a clue why he did it. The report does say most shooters are suicidal. Maybe that is part of the answer?
It’s getting worse
“Mass shootings are becoming more frequent and deadly: Of the 167 incidents the researchers logged in that 53-year period, 20% have occurred in the last five years, and half since 2000.
They’re also increasingly motivated by racial, religious, or misogynist hatred, particularly the ones that occurred in the past five years.”
Assault weapons increasing are used instead of handguns, with predictably increasing carnage.
Most shooters are suicidal.
But researchers said they were particularly struck by how many mass shooters displayed symptoms of being in some sort of crisis prior to the shooting. “Those are opportunities for prevention.”
The study found strong links between suicidal motivations and mass shootings.
Nearly 70% of shooters were suicidal before or during the shooting, and the numbers are even higher for school shooters.
Shooters increasingly are motivated by fame.
Even if it’s just 15 minutes of cheering for them on 4chan after the shooting and before they go to prison, assuming they are still alive. Columbine was the, um, triggering event here.
Access to guns.
Most young shooters stole their weapons from parents or friends. Yes, absolutely, guns should be locked up. And maybe most of the times they were. But a kid will probably know where the keys are.