Mass Shootings on the Rise
In a recent study, looking at statistics from 2000 through 2013, the FBI found that the number of mass shootings in the latter years of the study nearly tripled the number of similar incidents in the early years. The report found 160 mass shootings during the 14 years studied, with an average of 6.4 shootings between 2000 and 2006, and 16.4 between 2007 and the end of the study. Seven out of ten shootings occurred in schools or in the work place, and more than half were over before police could respond. In 40% of the shootings, at least three people died.
Behavioral experts offer a number of reasons for the increase in mass shootings, from the increased availability of firearms (including automatic weapons) to the actions of copycat killers. As FBI officials studied the shootings, a pattern emerged, with many shooters having “deeply held personal grievances” that led them to quietly plan acts of violence.
Experts put most of the shooters in two categories—those who felt aggrieved and those who sought attention or notoriety through copying the acts of others. They believe, however, that many such persons can be recognized before their plans come to fruition, often by police, teachers or others. FBI officials reportedly receive numerous requests every week from local authorities asking for assistance in evaluating potential threats.
According to the study, an annual average of 11 mass shootings has occurred over the last 14 years. The attacks have left 486 dead and 557 injured. Though many of the attackers took their own lives, five still remain at large.
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