As gun attacks surge in US supermarkets, a glimpse into what’s on the minds of these mass shooters

As gun attacks surge in US supermarkets, a glimpse into what's on the minds of these mass shooters
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Law enforcement, including the FBI, is working at the scene of a mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia. PA

A gun rampage at a Walmart in Virginia is the latest amid a rise in mass shootings in general in the United States, and mass shootings in grocery stores and retail stores in particular.

Several people, including the shooter, were killed in the Nov. 22, 2022, incident at a retailer outlet in Chesapeake. This follows a racist attack at a Buffalo grocery store earlier this year in which 10 black shoppers were killed.

A previous Walmart mass shooting in El Paso, Texas in 2021 was also racially motivated — 23 people were killed by a gunman who posted a hate-filled anti-immigrant manifesto online.

We are criminologists who study the life histories of mass shooters in the United States. Since 2017, we have conducted dozens of interviews with incarcerated perpetrators and people who knew them.

We also built a comprehensive database of public mass shootings using public data, with shooters coded on nearly 200 different variables.

Overall, mass public shootings in which four or more people are killed have become more frequent and deadly over the past decade, to the point that the United States now averages about seven such events each year. .

Our definition of public mass shootings excludes cases in which the killings are attributed to any other underlying criminal activity, such as drugs and gang membership, which is why they may be lower than other estimates.

Mass shootings also tend to cluster, with one study finding they are contagious for an average of 13 days and our own research showing that those responsible study and draw inspiration from other mass shooters.

The May 14 Buffalo shooting preceded a series of mass shootings this summer, including at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, at a medical facility in Oklahoma, and at a July 4 parade in Highland Park. , Illinois.

The latest tragedy in Chesapeake, Virginia comes just three days after a gunman killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

As Gun Attacks In Us Supermarkets Mount, Find Out What's On The Minds Of These Mass Shooters

Chesapeake Police Public Information Officer Leo Kosinski briefs the press following a mass shooting in Chesapeake, Virginia. PA

What do we know about mass shootings in stores?

The tragedy in Chesapeake, Va., is the 36th mass shooting in our database to take place at a retail establishment. These shootings left 217 dead and injured 227 others, and they have been increasing over time – with 2019 and 2021 being the worst years on record for retail shootings.

Retail shootings are most common in southern and western states, and two-thirds have occurred in urban areas. The perpetrators were all men, except for a woman who shot with her male partner.

The retail mass shooters were white in 56% of those incidents and black in 25% of the recorded cases and aged between 18 and 70 – although 60% were in their 20s. About one in 10 were employees of the targeted retail establishments.

Perpetrators generally used a weapon (58%). A third of the perpetrators used an AR-15 type assault weapon.

Looking at the life stories of the perpetrators, two thirds had a criminal history and half of them communicated their intention to harm others before the attack. Still, retail shootings tend to be less well planned than other mass shootings – only 22% of perpetrators did any significant planning.

Two-thirds of the shooters were suicidal – 26% had previously attempted suicide and 37% intended to die during the shooting – and about 30% suffered from psychosis, although the perpetrators did not act on their hallucinations or delusions than in 11 percent of retail shootings. Half of the abusers had a known bias against a racial or religious group.

Trashes at work and what motivates them

The motive for the Virginia incident is not known, but reports suggest the perpetrator was a Walmart employee.

According to our data, workplace shootings are motivated by an employment issue, such as termination or suspension in 70% of incidents, and by an interpersonal conflict with another employee in 23% of cases.

Nearly three-quarters of perpetrators show behavioral changes or warning signs before the shot, such as increased restlessness.

Our research suggests many strategies to prevent these types of mass shootings – from anonymous employee reporting systems to workplace crisis response teams. However, restricting access to firearms for those at high risk would be the most effective strategy overall.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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