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Profiling mass shooters

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 12:25 pm - January 31, 2013.
Filed under: Second Amendment,Sex Difference

Via Andy at Ace and Wired, comes this report from DHS (New Jersey branch) on the commonalities of mass shooters. A few key ones:

  • Male between the ages of 17 and 48. (Fits with Dan’s earlier post.)
  • Usually no prior military service. (Goes against a stereotype favored by some on the Left, of the rampaging psycho ex-soldier.)
  • Usually acts alone. (Columbine was an exception.)
  • Usually uses a semi-automatic handgun. (So, the banning of so-called “assault rifles” would accomplish… ?)
  • Usually “no pattern or method to the selection of victims.”
  • But, nearly half of the shootings (13 of 29) were at a workplace and done by an employee or ex-employee. Warning signs would be a sudden increase in the employee’s: absenteeism, drug/alcohol use, poor hygiene, depression, withdrawal, resistance to change, mood swings, angry outbursts, suicidal comments, comments about “putting things in order”, comments about problems at home, comments empathizing with previous mass shooters and other criminals.

The shooters include whites and non-whites (I did not see any obvious racial pattern).

The report states that “Most of the active shooters took their own lives or were shot by responding police officers.” But it also indicates that it takes 10-15 minutes, typically, for police to get there; during which time people are sitting ducks.

The report is not useful for drawing conclusions about the role of armed civilians. First, it looks at only “the 29 deadliest” of mass shootings in recent years. Almost by definition, those would be the ones where an armed civilian did not quickly stop the shooter. (The ones where an armed civilian did, would tend to have lower casualty counts.) Second, the report simply does not discuss the role of armed civilians, one way or the other. Whereas we know that, in at least a few shootings, armed civilians slowed the shooter, or occasioned his thinking “game over” and taking his own life.

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11 Comments

  1. Excellent post.

    Comment by Candice — January 31, 2013 @ 1:08 pm - January 31, 2013

  2. Thanks :-)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 31, 2013 @ 2:11 pm - January 31, 2013

  3. The gun-grabbers will dismiss the lower body-counts where armed-civilians intervened as a statistical anomaly…not as a contributing-factor, but as dirty-data.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — January 31, 2013 @ 5:13 pm - January 31, 2013

  4. As awful as mass shooting incidents are, they’re rare.

    It’s alway useful for people to be aware of their surrounding (e.g. mentioning an irrational co-worker to management or keeping an eye on the weirdo or just walked in) but to turn the nation upside-down based on rare occurrences isn’t productive.

    There will always be bad people – people willing to justify evil in their twisted minds. There was a guy in California a few weeks back who bought rubbing alcohol to pour on a homeless woman outside that he set on fire. People drive cars into crowds, burn buildings, explode bombs… not much we can do about it (which is why people are so frustrated, I suppose).

    There’s an article today about ski-masked robbers in DC and there’s talk of restricting the sale of ski masks.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/30/ski-mask-is-fashion-accessory-to-crime-in-dc/

    Comment by SoCalRobert — January 31, 2013 @ 5:50 pm - January 31, 2013

  5. Excellent post is right. Fascinating because as you say the profile goes so against the liberal stereotype.

    And of course then the banning of scary-looking weapons would accomplish nothing, but as I think you know it’s not about gun control, it’s about people control. This is the liberals’ way of getting even with people they don’t like. It’s all part of the “Revenge” Obama spoke of in that speech he gave shortly before the election.

    Comment by Tom the Redhunter — January 31, 2013 @ 8:48 pm - January 31, 2013

  6. “Goes against a stereotype favored by some on the Left, of the rampaging psycho ex-soldier.”

    Straw man much?
    You have a point, if the citizenry is fully armed there could be remedy to these types of shootings. But your use of such a silly straw man makes your post so much less potent.

    Comment by mike — January 31, 2013 @ 10:37 pm - January 31, 2013

  7. How is it a Straw Man? Have you not read DHS profiles?

    Comment by The_Livewire — February 1, 2013 @ 7:52 am - February 1, 2013

  8. I can not find the straw man.

    However, I located his cousin:

    if the citizenry is fully armed there could be remedy to these types of shootings.

    Does this mean that every person, regardless of age or mental condition is armed all the time and in every location and on the lookout for stopping gun mayhem? Is that the condition you are establishing?

    How do I know who is going to break into my house and how he or they will be armed? Somehow an AK-47 with a hundred round clip seems like an intimidating sort of defensive weapon. I might blow an ear off my cat, but I think I have a good chance of winning the battle. I sure would prefer it to some cute little pop-pistol with a pink ribbon on the grip.

    Comment by heliotrope — February 1, 2013 @ 10:10 am - February 1, 2013

  9. Profile is interesting. The only thing missing was all serial killings, mass murders, domestic murder suicides and inner city gang violence are committed by borderline psychotic homosexuals and bisexuals. Untreated BPD and untreated paranoid schizophrenia is the problem.

    Comment by rjligier — February 1, 2013 @ 1:17 pm - February 1, 2013

  10. Straw man much?
    You have a point, if the citizenry is fully armed there could be remedy to these types of shootings. But your use of such a silly straw man makes your post so much less potent.

    Comment by mike — January 31, 2013 @ 10:37 pm – January 31, 2013

    Not really.

    The American Legion on Tuesday criticized a new Homeland Security report as unfairly stereotyping veterans by suggesting that some soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan could be recruited by right-wing extremists to participate in violent actions.

    “I think it is important for all of us to remember that Americans are not the enemy. The terrorists are,” David K. Rehbein, national commander of the veterans organization, said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about a security assessment titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence and Recruitment.”

    The report, which prompted a storm of outrage Tuesday from conservatives, cited the example of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in warning that the return of disgruntled military veterans could lead to “terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”

    And of course, the Obama Party directly calling soldiers “uninvited and unwelcome intruders”.

    And don’t forget Barack Obama’s puppet John Kerry testifying before Congress that all US soldiers were insane psychotic killers who murdered babies.

    So yes, the Obama Party, Barack Obama, and the left clearly see all soldiers and ex-soldiers as rampaging psychos.

    Why do you support that, mike?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — February 1, 2013 @ 1:29 pm - February 1, 2013

  11. Thanks guys!

    mike – The false stereotype of the dangerous, disturbed veteran is a pretty small part of my overall point in this post. But since you raise the question, yes it has been a staple of some on the Left (and yes, I said *some* in my original) for decades now, since the days of the Vietnam War in fact, when anti-war types such as John F. Kerry sought to promote it.

    Deal with it.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 1, 2013 @ 1:48 pm - February 1, 2013

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