Active Shooter Incidents Could Be Contagious

07/10/2015 |

Mass killings may inspire similar acts of violence

Active shooter

Public acts of violence such as mass killings – events with four or more deaths – and school shootings may create a period of contagion when more tragedies are likely to occur, according to researchers from Arizona State University and Northeastern Illinois University. The scientists found that the danger period lasts an average of 13 days after the initial incident and between 20-30% of high-profile acts of violence can be attributed to this phenomenon.

While the researchers are quick to note that there’s no way to determine with certainty what exact factors play into the commission of specific crimes, they also point to the precedent of previous studies showing that suicide amongst teens can be contagious to demonstrate that the ensuing attention after a tragic event can produce similar acts. The study, published in PLOS ONE, also shows that the incidence of mass killings and school shootings is significantly higher in states with a high rate of firearm ownership.

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