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We Profiled the ‘Signs of Crisis’ in 50 Years of Mass Shootings. This Is What We Found.

The New York Times – “These are abridged details from profiles of the suspected or convicted perpetrators of more than 150 mass shootings in the United States. The profiles are based on news reports, public documents and our conversations with the shooters’ friends, colleagues, social workers and teachers. These events have become more frequent and more deadly over time. One-third of all the mass shootings in our study occurred in the last decade. This is no coincidence. The killings are not just random acts of violence but rather a symptom of a deeper societal problem: the continued rise of “deaths of despair.” This term has been used to explain increasing mortality rates among predominantly middle-aged white men caused by suicide, drug overdose and alcohol abuse. We think the concept of “deaths of despair” also helps explain the accelerating frequency of mass shootings in this country. Nearly all the killers we profile are men…They chose mass shootings as a way to seize power and attention, forcing others to witness their pain while attempting to end their lives in a way that only they controlled….

  • We say “never again” and yet less than 48 hours elapsed between the shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, Calif. “Again” keeps happening because mass shooters are not monsters who appear out of thin air.
  • Mass shooters live among us. They are us. They are for the most part the men and boys we know. And they can be stopped before they pull the trigger.”
  • James Densley is a professor of criminal justice at Metro State University. Together they run the Violence Project.
  • This research is critical toward our understanding of the mass shootings. The facts are conveyed not with visualizations – graphs, bubbles, charts…they are rather presented as short statements completed by the source material and related locations and dates of each mass shooting event. The starkness clarifies, focuses and elevates the key factors that are consistent in mass shootings.

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