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Direct Link To This Post Topic: A Guide to Mass Shootings in America
    Posted: May 24 2014 at 4:44pm

A Guide to Mass Shootings in America

There have been at least 70 in the last three decades—and most of the killers got their guns legally.

—By Mark Follman, Gavin Aronsen, and Deanna Pan

| Updated: Sat May 24, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

Update May 24, 2014: America's latest mass shooting took place in Santa Barbara on Friday night. The New York Times reports: "Seven people were killed and another seven injured in a bloody drive-by shooting on the crowded streets of a small college town near Santa Barbara, as what police described as a mentally disturbed gunman methodically opened fire in a 10-minute spasm of terror."

It is perhaps too easy to forget how many times this has happened. The horrific mass murder at a movie theater in Colorado in July 2012, another at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that August, another at a manufacturer in Minneapolis that September—and then the unthinkable nightmare at a Connecticut elementary school that December—were some of the latest in an epidemic of such gun violence over the last three decades. Since 1982, there have been at least 70 mass shootings across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. Thirty-three of these mass shootings have occurred since 2006. Seven of them took place in 2012, and another five occurred in 2013, including in Santa Monica, California, and at the Washington Navy Yard. The first five months of 2014 brought another bloodbath at Fort Hood, Texas, and mass killings in northern and southern California.

We've gathered detailed data on three decades worth of cases and mapped them below, including information on the shooters' profiles, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed. The below analysis covers the cases from 1982 through 2012, and the map has been updated with cases through 2013.*

Weapons: Of the 143 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and semi-automatic handguns with high-capacity magazines. (See charts below.) Just as Jeffrey Weise used a .40-caliber Glock to slaughter students in Red Lake, Minnesota, in 2005, so too did James Holmes, along with an AR-15 assault rifle, when blasting away at his victims in a darkened movie theater. In Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza wielded a .223 Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle as he massacred 20 school children and six adults.

The killers: More than half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (12 and 20, respectively); the other 30 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, and religious and government buildings. Forty four of the killers were white males. Only one of them was a woman. (See Goleta, Calif., in 2006.) The average age of the killers was 35, though the youngest among them was a mere 11 years old. (See Jonesboro, Ark., in 1998.) A majority were mentally troubled—and many displayed signs of it before setting out to kill. Explore the map for further details—we do not consider it to be all-inclusive, but based on the criteria we used we believe that we've produced the most comprehensive rundown available on this particular type of violence. (Mass shootings represent only a sliver of America's overall gun violence.) For a timeline listing all the cases on the map, including photos of the killers, jump to page 2. For the stories of the 151 shooting rampage victims of 2012, click here, and for all of MoJo's year-long investigation into gun laws and mass shootings, click here.

Hover over the dots or use the search tool in the top-left corner of the map to go to a specific location. (Zoom in to see the Aurora shooting, located close to other massacres in Colorado, and to see other proximate shootings in Milwaukee, Seattle, and elsewhere.)

Sources: Research by Mother Jones. (With thanks to the Associated, and Citizens Crime Commission of NYC.)

Our focus is on public mass shootings in which the motive appeared to be indiscriminate killing. We used the following criteria to identify cases:

  • The shooter took the lives of at least four people. An FBI crime classification report identifies an individual as a mass murderer—versus a spree killer or a serial killer—if he kills four or more people in a single incident (not including himself), typically in a single location.
  • The killings were carried out by a lone shooter. (Except in the case of the Columbine massacre and the Westside Middle School killings, which involved two shooters.)
  • The shootings occurred in a public place. (Except in the case of a party on private property in Crandon, Wisconsin, and another in Seattle, where crowds of strangers had gathered.) Crimes primarily related to gang activity, armed robbery, or domestic violence in homes are not included.
  • If the shooter died or was hurt from injuries sustained during the incident, he is included in the total victim count. (But we have excluded many cases in which there were three fatalities and the shooter also died, per the above FBI criterion.)
  • We included a handful of so-called "spree killings"—cases in which the killings occurred in more than one location over a short period of time, that fit the above criteria.

For more on the thinking behind our criteria, see our mass shootings explainer. Plus: more on the crucial mental illness factor, and on the recent barrage of state laws rolling back gun restrictions across the US. And: Explore the full data set behind our investigation.

Here are two charts detailing the killers' weapons:


This guide was first published on July 20, 2012; since then we've updated and expanded it multiple times with additional research and reporting. The analysis and charts above cover the data through 2012 (comprising 62 cases); additional data and analysis on the shooters' weapons are in this story. Information from five additional mass shootings in 2013 is included on the map and in our full data set here. For much more of our reporting on mass shootings, gun violence and gun laws, see our special reports: America Under the Gun and Newtown: One Year After(Return to intro.)

Edited by tatee - May 24 2014 at 4:47pm
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2014 at 5:18pm

Mass Shootings: Maybe What We Need Is a Better Mental-Health Policy

What our in-depth investigation reveals about mental illness and America's mass killings with guns.

—By Mark Follman

| Fri Nov. 9, 2012 7:03 AM EST

Editor's note, December 14, 2012: This story on the prevalence of mental-health problems among mass shooters has new relevance in light of the Newtown tragedy. (It has been updated with data from the latest mass killing.)

Mass murderer Jared Loughner was sentenced on November 8 to multiple life terms in prison. It's difficult to read an account of the court proceedings in Tucson without getting a lump in your throat. The man who shot 19 people at a shopping center in January 2011—gravely wounding former US congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and killing six including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl—faced potent testimony from some of his victims.

"You may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven’t put a dent in her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place," said Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, as his still-recovering wife gazed directly at Loughner from her seat across the courtroom.

Loughner's mental illness was a powerful undercurrent in the proceedings. "You tried to create for all of us a world as dark and evil as your own," Kelly said. "But know this and remember it always: You failed." He continued: "Your decision to commit cold-blooded mass murder also begs of us to look in the mirror...We are a people who can watch a young man like you spiral into murderous rampage without choosing to intervene before it is too late." (Kelly then excoriated Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and other political leaders for cravenly ignoring gun control: "As a nation, we have repeatedly passed up the opportunity to address this issue. After Columbine, after Virginia Tech, after Tucson, and after Aurora, we have done nothing." It's well worth reading his entire statement.)

What had begun as a friendly public meeting hosted by Giffords on a mild southern Arizona morning turned ghastly when Loughner squeezed off 31 bullets in less than 30 seconds, wielding a 9 mm Glock with high-capacity magazines. For several years prior, Loughner had displayed signs of serious mental illness, including outbursts during his high school classes and complaints about voices in his head. Nevertheless, he was able to stroll into a Sportsmen's Warehouse in Tucson and purchase a weapon and ammunition legally. One of the bystanders who helped subdue Loughner after he'd paused to reload was Patricia Maisch; as she told the court on Thursday: "That beautiful day, our mental-health system failed us."

What few people realize is just how many times this has happened, before and since. Mass shootings generate sensational media coverage, yet most media have failed to connect the dots with regard to mental health. It is a crucial factor in these events, as our in-depth investigation into mass shootings at Mother Jones shows. After another young man unleashed horror inside a Colorado movie theater this July, we set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years. We identified and analyzed 62 of them—25 in the last seven years alone.

Nearly 80 percent of the perpetrators in these 62 cases obtained their weapons legally. Acute paranoia, delusions, and depression were rampant among them, with at least 36 of the killers committing suicide on or near the scene. Seven others died in police shootouts they had little hope of surviving (a.k.a. "suicide by cop"). And according to additional research we completed recently, at least 38 of them displayed signs of possible mental health problems prior to the killings. (That data is now included in the interactive guide linked above.)

Loughner was medicated and underwent psychiatric examinations at a secure federal facility in Missouri for more than a year and was diagnosed with schizophrenia; by this August he was deemed competent to agree to a guilty plea, the terms of which bar him from any appeal or parole.

Could he or any of the others have been stopped in advance? It's an exceptionally challenging question, one whose answer must take into account civil liberties, medical ethics, the proliferation of millions of guns in the United States, and our nation's politically charged patchwork of ever-loosening gun laws. On November 1, I participated in a panel discussion at the Commonwealth Club of California, discussing the data from our investigation in an effort to help consider how we might begin to answer this question. "The Mind, Madness and Gun Violence" also featured Dr. Renée Binder, a leading expert on psychiatry and the law from UCSF Medical School; board member Carol Kingsley of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; and Robert J. McMenomy, assistant special agent in charge of the San Francisco division of the FBI. You can watch our full discussion here:

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2014 at 5:46pm
While these events are unfortunate, as a negro I can't fathom handing over my guns to massa and trust in him that this would make the whole country (in which my people are still considered 3/5ths of a human) safe. Especially when history shows that massa and his kindred has mastered/perfected the art of rape, robbery and murder. 

But yall go head with that and let me know how that works out for ya.

Oh and I'm not talking to anyone in particular, but the articles are pretty transparent and the message is clear lol. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 24 2014 at 5:52pm
Originally posted by blaquefoxx blaquefoxx wrote:

While these events are unfortunate, as a negro I can't fathom handing over my guns to massa and trust in him that this would make the whole country (in which my people are still considered 3/5ths of a human) safe. Especially when history shows that massa and his kindred has mastered/perfected the art of rape, robbery and murder. 

But yall go head with that and let me know how that works out for ya.

Oh and I'm not talking to anyone in particular, but the articles are pretty transparent and the message is clear lol. 

This....I refuse...
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