Mass stabbings don’t get as much media attention as mass shootings. Likewise for mass burnings, drownings or hit-and-runs. Since guns are the weapon in 73% of mass attacks, understanding mass attacks of all types might be key to preventing mass shootings. The federal government has studied this. Take-aways Non-gun mass attackers are not different than gun mass attackers. Changes in behavior precede stressors, the latter triggering attacks. The mental health community is letting at-risk people fail. Mass public attack stats The National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC), oddly a function of the Secret Service, cataloged five years of mass public attacks, which they define as when three or more people (not including perpetrators) were harmed in public or semi-public places. Like the Violence Project’s work on mass public shootings, NTAC looked deeply into the perpetrators’ lives, motives, modus operandi and more. It is important research for two reasons: motives of mass …Continue reading →
Psychiatric prescribing of psychotropic medications may be contributory to mass public shootings (MPS). Main Takeaways Increased use of psychotropic medications is associated with increased frequency of MPS. Non-psychiatric prescribing of these drugs is not strongly associated with overall MPS frequency. Psychotropic medications are associated with elevated rates of homicide, hence also associated with MPS. Perps receiving medications and psychiatric counseling are strongly associated, indicating mental health professionals are not catching warning signs. Over a quarter of a million at-risk and unmanaged adults are statistically likely to have “hostile” reactions from their drugs. A note about data and correlations Before going into a summary, much less the detailed data, know that this is not a one-problem-fits-all conclusion. There is no singular driver of MPS. What is herein is an exploration of trends in how America is (mis)medicating the population and how it may well contribute to some/many MPS. The data is …Continue reading →
Even sullied terms can be analyzed. We came across a quality study that looks at “mass [not-just-public] shootings” and paints a not-quite-alarming story. Main Take-aways As defined more broadly herein: Mass shootings are not steadily increasing and are decreasing as a function of population. Most mass shootings are in private residences and are “family related.” Assault weapons are a minority share of guns used. A third of assailants had mental health issues, higher than the general population but lower than mass public. Mass shootings can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental health, whether directly affected or not. The senseless violence and loss of life can cause individuals to feel anxious, depressed, or traumatized. For some, it may trigger feelings of grief, anger, and helplessness. In the aftermath of a mass shooting, it’s important to seek professional help if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Many detox locations …Continue reading →
There must be an election coming. The current California governor is making presidential maneuvers and the New York Times appears to be propping up his (inaccurate) statements about guns. I lived in that politician’s home turf for 22 years, during his political rise, so I have a deeper than average interest – and knowledge – of what the reality is, and in which alternate reality the politician resides. Main Take-aways California’s gun homicide rate is exactly the national average. Their overall suicide rate is rising, but is 29% lower that national averages, which bends the curve on gun suicide rates. For mass public shootings, California has 17% more incidents and 60% more deaths than the national average. The New York Times agitprop In a rather choice bit of partisan hackery, the New York Times (NYT) makes the following assertions about California and guns.
The largest multilingual international database of mass public shootings (MPS) tells us that they are increasing globally, less rapidly in the United States, but the average number of deaths in American MPSs is rising faster than the world at large. Let us then look at some of the factors that may contribute to mass shootings and see if there are rising rates of underlying causes. Main Take-aways 41% of mass public shooters with mental health issues got their guns legally, and the rate is rising. MPSs are on the rise, but not steeply. Handguns are outpacing all other weapon types, including “assault weapons.” Higher capacity magazines are radically increasing in use. The rate of legally acquired guns is rising much faster than illegally obtained guns. Precautions and Notes Repeat after me… mass public shootings are statistically rare events, and as such, trends and isolating causes are of a fragile nature.
It is well established that most mass public shooters (MPS) have mental health problems. The question is whether they are more prone to instability than the public and by how much. The answer is upwards of nine times as unstable. Major Take-aways Depending on the subtopic, MPSs are 1.4 to 9.0 times more likely to have mental health problems. Most commonly, they have “thought disorders” – a characteristic of psychotic mental illness – at nine times the rate of the general public. The Violence Project and Their Book We have discussed the Violence Project and mental health before. They study MPS due to significant funding (for which we are green with jealously) and unprecedented access to uncommon data. They have produced the most comprehensive database on MPS available. The Gun Facts project will continue to maintain our mass public shooting database because we track important variables that the Violence Project …Continue reading →
“Mass public shootings are rising faster around the world than in the United States!” “Mass public shootings are rising faster in the United States than the rest of the world!” Stuff like this makes me dislike Twitter even more than I normally do. That I saw these contradictory statements, each citing “real data,” within 60 seconds of one another was my first clue that the pro- and anti-gun camps were shouting past one another and that somebody was not paying attention. Why the division? It comes down to definitions and data sources. The Data Disagreement Two academics – John Lott and Adam Lankford – have published papers that calculate the number of mass public shootings (MPSs) around the globe. These papers come to different conclusions and have caused one of these two to abandon the normal congenial language normally bandied by studied men and women. Geek smarminess aside, we see …Continue reading →
“You gotta be crazy to shoot a bunch of strangers dead!” Yes. Crazy and untreated. A deeper dig into the mass public shooting (MPS) database with the most detailed mental health insights reveals that the American mental health system is ailing. High Level Takeaways 68% of MPS perpetrators have mental illness. Of those, 65% of them never received treatment. Of perpetrators who were previously suicidal, only half received treatment. Mood disorder medications have an outsized influence. The Violence Project Database A product of government funding and greater access to medical records, the Violence Project database of MPS has the most complete accounting of the mental health status of MPS perpetrators. Their database starts in 1966 with the legendary University of Texas tower shooting and goes on through early 2020. They also have nearly complete records of the perp’s mental health history, including rarified data such as the perp’s suicidality, their …Continue reading →
That is the big question everyone is asking. You, I, even your crazy Uncle Jim who never “got over ‘Nam” don’t shoot-up elementary schools or their company headquarters. That leaves us to wonder what makes mass public shooters different that the rest? What causes them to disconnect from reality and society to the point where mass murder seems like a good idea to them? Well, we now may have some numbers to (partially) answer the question.
“Assault weapons must be banned because they are vastly more deadly!” (It is equally believable that this was said by Everytown, MSNBC, or the crazy homeless person on the corner… it is getting hard to tell the difference.) Are “assault weapons” inherently more dangerous that any other type of gun? I know ardent gunnies will go into deep discourse about the relative energy transfer potentials of sundry ammo types and rifle configurations. But thanks to the Gun Facts Mass Public Shooting database, we can make a quicker review. The High-Level Numbers NOTE #1: “Assault weapon” is a legislative term, not a technical one. There are a plethora of “assault weapons” laws that cover everything from handguns to hunting rifles to Lord Knows What. So we use the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons bill definition since it is the only one that covered all of the United States. NOTE #2: It is …Continue reading →