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We Have Studied Every Mass Shooting Since 1966. Here’s What We’ve Learned About the Shooters

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/05/we-have-studied-every-mass-shooting-1966-heres-what-weve-learned-about-shooters

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Those early exposures to violence need addressing when they happen with ready access to social services and high-quality, affordable mental health treatment in the community. School counselors and social workers, employee wellness programs, …

I particularly detest Republicans who automatically refer to these mass shootings as a mental health issue after having done everything in their power to cut funds for mental health and education to the bone. These sick SOBs have even passed legislation that forbids federal dollars being spent to study the problem of gun violence in this country. Yes, of course, it is a mental health issue, as well as other issues the article outlines, and this is the way Republicans handle it. The fact that so many Republicans continue to deliver these shameless, hypocritical responses, tragedy after tragedy, then go back to work to make sure that there is no access to mental health care in our communities and counselor support in our schools makes these pigs complicit in every one of these shootings.


You will never be able to predict who will be the next shooter , so do the only sane thing that can be done and disarm america.
Don’t look to these guys mental health records, look to their voting records.
You can’t predict whose going to go nuts but you can be sure that anybody that voted for Trump IS nuts.


The writer just skims over the fact that shooters are mostly triggered by crisis in their lives.

The fact is, the American system is producing crisis on mass industrial scale: a simple trip to the ER or a bad performance review can push somebody over the edge, due to high health care costs and due to the hypercompetitive employment situation.

Americans work more hours for less money & stingier benefits than at any time since the Great Depression.

Anyone who feels hopeful out a working class life in the USA is delusional. In fact, the USA is $h!tting the bed, at least in every way that matters.

The palpable, mass despair, which also drives the opioid crisis, is the elephant in the room.


What about the fact that most mass shootings in the United States are committed by white men in a racist and patriarchal society?
Many people in this country have experienced abuse, trauma, etc. Many people have experienced a triggering event, such as being fired from a job. But not any person commits a mass shooting! An article explaining mass shootings is completely illegitimate if it does not take into account how race and gender play a role in white male terrorism.


She lists all these contributing reasons in order, 1,2,3, without bothering to say that first they are all men! What an asshole. I know many women who have gone thru trauma as bad or worse than she alludes to and NONE of them have become mass murders as a result. Mass murder is a result of male privilege, toxic masculinity as people now say, not some childhood trauma. God save us from Shrinks, the penultimate defenders of patriarchy.


A missing factor in all of this is wealth inequality. “The Spirit Level” showed that the higher the levels of wealth inequaility in a country the higher the incidents of alienation and of violent acts. In Countries where health inequality high , persons feel inadequate or see themselves as failures if they are not wealthy. These systems tend to measure the worth of a person based on their relative wealth. This does not mean that the poor are likelier to be mass shooters. It means that within a socio-economic group individuals will measure their own success against their peers.

Capitalism itself is a root cause.


Could you do an analysis of countries that can’t stop themselves from invading other countries?

What are the four characteristics of a warfare state? (And it isn’t only males.)

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First, they are not all men. There have been female mass shooters. Second, there are other attributes that they all had in common. They were all human. They all had hands. There are a lot of common factors–many of which could be counted as contributing factors–which we don’t consider useful because they are not pathological and they are not distinctive enough to have any predictive value. That is a weakness of the authors’ approach. It appears they were looking for bad factors that the shooters had in common, but they failed to look at the prevalence of those factors in the population at large. The shooters may all have had bad experiences, but that tells us nothing unless it is compared to the rate at which non-shooters also have these bad experiences. Most of them have been white, but that is a factor with very low distinctiveness, so merely being white is a very poor predictive factor. The question the authors should have been looking at is not what was the same about all these shooters, but how they were different from all the rest of us.

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Perhaps, prior to any weapon purchase, the buyer must pass a State or Federal test consisting of many questions put together by Mental Health officials, specifically for the purpose of determining who might be likely to use the weapon to hurt or kill others.

Doesn’t sound like Brain Surgery to me.

Other than a test, as another commenter here proposed, all buyers must first purchase a insurance policy to cover anyone hurt through the misuse of that particular weapon.

Making yearly insurance payments significant, would also go a long way in limiting the numbers of weapons sold.

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Sounds like good rules for our police depts., military personnel, HSA security folks, the Alphabets, et al. What do you think?
What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander sort of general rule of thumb, perhaps?
Then the testing of all political appointments and elected representatives, as well. Some of them appear to be lunatics, or worse, right? ( Not thinking of anyone in particular, just sayin. )

The other elephant in the room is that, in the words of MLK, the US govt. is the #1 purveyor of violence in the world. Especially insidious are the forever wars, which began in 2001, and have expanded into Africa & probably soon in into Latin America, if our goons get their way & go after Venezuela.

You have all this normalized murder & violence by the state, it sends a message that violence & murder are normal, acceptable, and that human life, especially for poor people & brown people, life is cheap.

In a very real way, the escalation of the mass shooting phenomena is our wars are coming home.


“First, they are not all men.”

Why this need to be silly about something so serious?
Study of nearly 40 years of mass shooters:

And race/ethnicity (mostly white):

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Rules to live safely by, especially when there is a potential for misuse of materials or of positions of power, would be a good general rule of thumb, forefinger, or pinkie. Just sayin.

Much too we haven’t learned. Not even since the Sandy Hook
Elementary School slaughter (2012) of some 28 little children
with a military assault rifle that Adam Lanza’s mother bought for him.
More of the same as our president, who sword dances with Saudi bone
saw murderers can’t get the name of the Ohio city straight, Democratic
Party favorite, dirty Joe Biden’s “enough is enough” doesn’t include his support
for the Iraq war nor his son’s lucrative business deals in the neo-Nazi Ukraine,
brought about by Obama’s neo-cons. And is Hillary, who smiles at Muammar
Gaddafi’s knife rectum assault, any worse than her teacher who said half million
dead Iraqi children is “worth the price.”? Even Bernie as a treasured F35 fighter
jet factory in Vermont.
It’s the military-industrial complex that makes us all
spiritually sullied until we silently say with Isaiah: “Woe is me! For I am undone;
for I am a man[person], of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of
unclean lips . . .” (6.5).
This is why the JFK assassination matters. When in 1963 his Washington
University speech spoke of ending the Cold War, Bloody Gina’s (CIA dir.), ancestors
made sure the profit supply line between Wall Street and government military spending
wouldn’t be severed. Instead, that President’s head almost was.

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And so it goes on and on, an endless dirge of bullshit from those we elect.

And the majority of us continue to support the same two most corrupt political parties in the U.S.

They lie, cheat, and steal from us, and we still give them the right to continue doing it to us every two and four years.



There are proposals here, eliminate guns, testing for mental illness, and even gun owner insurance.
There is some validity for some of these ideas, but none get to the root of the problem with guns.
“In 80% of school shootings, perpetrators got their weapons from family members”.
“Other public shooters were more likely to acquire them illegally”.
“Workplace tend to use handguns they legally owned”.

Lets look at this,
First up, trying to eliminate guns right now in this countries hateful climate, will most likely start a true civil war, no one benefits from this. And the fascists’ will love this.
Next, testing for mental illness, no problem with this, but a large % of shooters will bypass this regulation, per the data. It could prevent some workplace killings.
Then we have gun owner insurance policies, ok, but doesn’t solve the problem before it happens when we look at the data. Only marginally helps.
The biggest prevention of these killings when you look at the data compiled…
And don’t tell anyone, no matter how close they are to you, how to unsecure them.
This doesn’t solve everything, but it’s a good place to start, then we can move on to addressing the other items in the study.

And lastly, we must muzzle TRUMP, IMPEACH the SOB already!!

"Massacre Mitch" had better doing his fucking job.

There does not seem to be much depth to this study.
Many data points such as gender, ethnicity, medication, environmental pollution, political affiliations and so on should all be factored in to gain any meaningful insight.
That these are “troubled” kids with access to firearms is rather self evident as is the fact they are influenced by other mass murderers.

“The question the authors should have been looking at is not what was the same about all these shooters, but how they were different from all the rest of us.” The major difference that I see is that mass shooters are gun addicts. Just as millions of people use drugs or alcohol but don’t become addicts, millions of gun owners don’t overdose by going on shooting sprees.

How do we identify gun addicts? Possession of gun(s) in violation of existing laws; possession of assault weapons; possession of more guns and ammunition than would be necessary for any reasonable purpose; frequently firing guns for pleasure or practice by people who aren’t employed to be accurate shooters; and expressing love for guns more often and more emphatically than love for people.

Laws should allow investigating anyone possessing guns who’s suspected of being a potential gun addict – that is, overdosing by going on a shooting spree. Equally importantly, such individuals should be educated as to the possibility that they could overdose on their guns by going on a shooting spree when for some reason they become mentally disturbed. Regulating gun sales won’t solve the problem, because many people get guns from friends or relatives, or steal them. All of us should know the signs of impending mass shooting by gun owners, and the law be changed to make it possible to check out such persons, the way it allows stopping drivers suspected of drunk driving, or interrogating people accused of family violence.