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September 26, 2014


Who Are the Mass Shooters?

by Anne Paddock

The FBI released a study on mass shootings this week that indicates mass shooters in our country are primarily male and young (no surprise there). The study looked at mass shootings between 2000 – 2013 and found there were 160 mass shootings where “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” The study does not include gang or drug related violence or shootings where the shooter’s primary purpose was to commit suicide publicly.

The study provides a lot of information but the data on sex and age are summarized as follows:

  • All but 6 of the shooters were male meaning 96% of the mass shooters were male.
  • The largest group of mass shooters was in the 19-25 year age group followed by 12-18. These two groups accounted for 34% of mass shooters.
  • 75% of the mass shootings were done by those aged 45 and under (and 71% of the mass shooters were male, 45 and under).
  • The three age groups with the largest number of mass shooters include 12-18, 19-25, and 41-45.
  • The female mass shooters (6) were primarily between the ages of 41-45 with the incident occurring in the workplace.

The report discloses that most of the mass shootings take place at business or schools and that 486 people were killed and 557 wounded in the incidents. In response, businesses and schools have increasingly conducted drills and trained employees on how to protect themselves by fleeing or seeking shelter during an emergency, according to the study. In other words, our country is training people and students to react TO the shootings instead of preventing them by tightening the gun control laws and specifically focusing on the group who is most likely to commit mass shootings: males aged 45 and under and especially males between 12-25 years old.

In nearly every instance of public danger in this country whether it be fire, labor, or safety, we have collectively addressed the problem by passing laws that prevent incidents and protect workers and students. We have sprinkler systems, alarms, electrical codes, seating capacities, weight capacities, speed limits, and more – all adopted to prevent people from being wounded or killed. But, we don’t do this with guns.

If the FBI “recognizes that seeking to avoid these tragedies is clearly the best result,” why doesn’t the rest of the country support this effort? Because the lives of the 486 people who were killed and the 557 wounded in the mass shootings over the 13-year period  are not as important as a person’s right to keep and bear arms, according to some very vocal groups in this country and those who interpret the second amendment of the Constitution.

To read the FBI study (A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000-2013), click here.

  1. Sep 26 2014

    Yes, I think there is an awareness that it can happen anywhere. If it happened in a kindergarten class, a movie theater, a post office, a Wendy’s, factories, colleges, and board rooms, it can happen anywhere.

    There are many things needed to prevent these mass shootings including a greater commitment to work towards prevention by targeting males 45 and under, strengthening gun control laws (who really needs an automatic weapons or magazines with 6,8, 10 rounds?) including background checks, and my personal favorite: mental health evaluations. After reading that report, some people might come to the conclusion that males, especially those 45 years old and younger should not be allowed to have guns period….

  2. Sherry
    Sep 26 2014

    Anne, your excellent post raises another question: do you think there is increasing awareness around the outdated belief: “It can’t happen here?” There is certainly evidence that “it” can, it has…and, to your point, what will prevent it from happening again?

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