Mass Murder in the United States: A History

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Mass Murder in the United States

Whenever new technology has been used to kill people, the government has stepped in to regulate it. Roth is author of the book American Homicide , a page history of how and why people have killed others in the Americas.


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He also wrote a chapter for the new book A Right to Bear Arms? In the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton this week, Roth said his research suggests that the government needs to regulate the most deadly guns and make it harder for the public to buy them — just as it did with dynamite. And each time we stepped up and did something about it.

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Roth said he is not talking about banning guns. In fact, his research suggests that levels of gun ownership have not been related to homicide rates in the United States through our history. But what is different now is the lethal power of guns and the ease with which large-capacity semiautomatic rifles can be modified to fire extremely quickly. We have had mass shootings as long as we have had guns.


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  • What is different now is that a single individual can have enough lethal power to kill scores of people. The database includes information on tens of thousands of homicides in different areas of the United States and western Europe from medieval times to the present. The database also traces hundreds of examples of mass shootings in the United States through history.

    For example, in , three people were killed at a tent revival next to a church in Jasper County, Georgia. A pistol was the weapon there. But what if the shooter had had more modern weapons at this crowded church event? Roth asked.

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    How many more people could have been killed? In the early history of the United States, Roth said, groups of people would band together to kill, often targeting African Americans or people of a specific religion, ethnic group or political movement. Roth pointed out that the Dayton gunman killed nine people and injured 27 in less than 30 seconds because he had a. He fired 41 shots in that time.

    Roth said there are other steps that would limit the toll of violence, including taking online and other threats of violence seriously; working to identify and stop hate groups, particularly those associated with white supremacy; and helping those with mental illness. Very few mass shooters are actually mentally ill, Roth said. It also discusses more than case studies within three distinct periods of mass murder activity , , and to illustrate more clearly the motives of mass murderers and the circumstances surrounding their crimes.

    18 of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history

    The final chapters take a look at media coverage and the role it has played in the social construction of mass murder. Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki.

    The United States reels as two mass shootings in 13 hours leave 29 dead

    Synopsis Edit Is mass murder a historically new phenomenon that emerged in the s? The Patterns and Prevalence of Mass Murder 15 2. The First Mass Murder Wave, — 32 3. The Trough Between the Waves, — 59 4.