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Researchers of mass shootings are asking the wrong questions, Duke professor claims

08/11/2019 3:51 pm ET
Researchers of mass shootings are asking the wrong questions, Duke professor claims

Photo: Columbine massacre remembrance/Crimeonline

20 years after the shocking tragedy at Columbine, “there is still no established science to predict who might become a mass shooter,” says Science News.

That’s because researchers have been asking the wrong questions.

Scientists “need to focus on identifying ways to stop mass shootings before they happen,” says Philip Cook, professor of economics and sociology at Duke.

Research clearly shows that mass shooters communicate their intentions on social media or to individuals before they go on their rampage.

Scientists have already tracked clusters of suicide and have recommended ways to prevent copycat actions. Why not apply the same science to clusters of mass shootings to predict how they might happen and limit multiple occurrences?

Cook claims research and media focuses too much on the individual perpetrator, rather than the four commonalities among mass shooters, per an analysis of 150 such U.S. shootings from 1966 to 2018: childhood violence or trauma, work grievance, copycat modeling, and ready access to guns.

More at Science News