Saturday, July 4, 2015

Mass Killings Inspire Copycats, Study Finds

NBC News

Police have said so for years and now scientists have measured the effect: Mass shootings and school attacks do inspire copycats. 

As many as 20 to 30 percent of attacks are set off by other attacks, according to researchers at Arizona State University and Northeastern Illinois University. The effect lasts about 13 days, they write in the report published Thursday in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE. 

And mass killings — such as the 2012 attack on small children at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, the 1999 Columbine massacre, and last month's shooting of nine people at a prayer meeting in Charleston — are becoming alarmingly common in the United States. 

"On average, mass killings involving firearms occur approximately every two weeks in the U.S., while school shootings occur on average monthly," wrote Sherry Towers, a research professor at ASU, and her colleagues. 

Such attacks are more common in states where more people own guns, they added in their report.
"Statistics are not readily available on the incidence of mass killings and school shootings in other industrialized countries, however studies have shown that the firearm homicide and suicide rates in the U.S. are several times higher than that of any other industrialized country and the patterns appear to be due to higher rates of firearm ownership in the U.S. compared with other industrialized countries," they wrote.


  1. "They looked at databases maintained by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to make their calculations. "

    Well, it started out as an interesting study. Cant imagine what led them to think to use data from the Brady Center considering their database was inaccurate enough for CNN and Politifact to call BS on it.

  2. The copycat theory I buy (I've said so myself). I'm not sure how they came up with this gem though:

    Such attacks are more common in states where more people own guns, they added in their report.

    They are not showing their work for me to tear it apart. They just said they used data from the Brady Campaign [snicker]. Here is a list of states where mass shootings happened in order of their occurrence according to Mother Jones (no friend of gun rights): SC, WA, CA, DC, FL, CA, WA, NY, CT, MN, WI, CO, WA, CA, GA, CA, NV, AZ, CT, WA.

  3. If you compare the list of the last 20 mass shootings to the gun ownership map that Mike just posted before this we see that only three of them occurred in states with higher than 30% gun ownership (SC, NV, and MN). Though I will say that this map has some eyebrow raising red flags- Nebraska less than 15%? Hawaii between 45-50? Come on.