In a year that has been tarnished by catastrophic events worldwide, America has arguably seen one of its worst years in recent times, as 2017 not only marks a year of horrific natural disasters and political events, but it has also been constantly reminded of one of its most prevalent issues yet - gun violence.
Despite being one of the largest developed countries in the world, the United States still suffers from a shockingly violent culture. With many claiming that this is largely due to the fact that firearms—especially assault rifles—are so easy to purchase. Unlike other countries around the world, the United States is quite unique when it comes to their relationship with guns as the people's right to bear firearms in constitutionally protected.
As America continues to the grieve the recent tragic events of the Las Vegas shooting, it may be time to take a look at what most of America’s mass shooters have in common. From legally obtained weapons, and links to mental illness and domestic violence, here are five of the most chilling facts that you need to know about America’s mass shooters.
Most Of The Weapons Used Have Been Obtained Legally
One of the most chilling facts about America’s mass shooters is that almost all of them have purchased their guns legally. That’s right, the weapons they used to slaughter innocent, everyday people were handed to these killers from the counter of a gun store.
According to the Mother Jones database, an astonishing 143 guns that were in the possession of the 62 mass shooters between 1982 and 2012, a staggering 75 percent of these weapons were obtained legally with more than half of these weapons being high -apacity magazine, assault firearms.
Had America enforced stronger gun laws, or at the very least, performed more thorough background checks, it would be safe to say that most of the American mass public shootings would not have taken place as these killers would have been denied access to owning and purchasing these weapons.
In Almost All Cases The Shooter Has Been Male
This particular fact is rather disturbing, especially when taking into consideration the current political and gender arguments within the United States, as researchers have found some rather shocking statistics in regard to these heartless killers. The researchers have found that since 1966, almost all of the mass shootings have been committed by men.
In fact, only five, or just 2.3 percent, of these mass public shootings have been committed by a lone woman shooter. After countless years of findings, some research supports the idea that males are more likely to develop negative attributions of blame that are external in nature, meaning that men often believe that the cause of their problem is someone else or a force outside of them. This often translates into anger and hostility towards others.
There is also evidence supporting that when women do kill, they particularly do so in a much less violent way, such as poisoning, drowning, or suffocating. Whereas men tend to go wild, often resorting to firearms, which ultimately increases the body count much more significantly.
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There Is A Shocking Connection Between The Shootings & Domestic Violence
According to analysis of FBI data, Everytown for Gun Safety has found that American gun violence is inextricably linked to domestic violence, with more than half of American women often killed by their current or former partner. Between 2009 and 2016, more than 54 percent of mass shooters have shot a current or former partner or a family member. With this year alone, more than five of at least seven mass shootings have involved domestic violence.
In addition to these statistics, almost 20 percent of mass shooters have been formerly charged with domestic violence, with many more having previously shown signs of violence such as threats, violating protective orders, or evidence of ongoing substance abuse.
Yet, despite these glaring connections, the matter still manages to go unrecognized by the widespread media, unless the shooter is targeting innocent random people or involved or motivated by some form of terrorism.
Shooters Are Attacking More Frequently
It’s scary to think that any of us could be involved in a mass shooting —especially given that these devastating attacks are occurring more and more frequently.
A study by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center has shown that the frequency of these mass shootings has been increasing rapidly over the years. According to their research, the average time between mass shootings during the period of 1983 to 2011 was 200 days. However, since 2011, this timeframe has shrunk to just a shocking 64 days.
Research conducted by the Stanford Geospatial Center found that during the 1990s and 2000s the rate of mass shootings often fluctuated and would occasionally climb as high as 10 per year. This rate has since skyrocketed after 2011, in which it peaked at a horrifying 42 mass shootings in 2015.
More Than Half Of Mass Shooters Have Some Form Of Mental Illness
Director of research and evaluation at the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Grant Duwe, discovered a chilling finding after he compiled his own statistics for mass public shootings during the time period of 1915-2013. Over the course of this period, Duwe found an overwhelming 160 cases, in which 97 of those involved shooters that had been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, or at least showed signs of one.
Of all the mental illnesses, Duwe found that the most common one associated with mass public shootings was paranoid schizophrenia, a type of schizophrenia in which the person has delusions of being plotted against or persecuted.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that a person with a serious mental illness is going to commit a mass shooting, Duwe does believe that there is reason to suggest that it is a major risk factor.