Daily Revolt

April 22, 2007

Mass Shootings More Common Since 1960s

A human video game:
Since Aug. 1, 1966, when Charles Whitman climbed a 27-story tower on the University of Texas campus and started picking people off, at least 100 Americans have gone on shooting sprees.

What is the cause:
Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox blames guns, at least in part. He notes that seven of the eight deadliest mass public shootings have occurred in the past 25 years.

"I know that there were high-powered guns before," he said. "But this weaponry is just so much more pervasive than it was."

Why can't we follow the Australian example:
Australia had a spate of mass public shooting in the 1980s and '90s, culminating in 1996, when Martin Bryant opened fire at the Port Arthur Historical Site in Tasmania with an AR-15 assault rifle, killing 35 people.

Within two weeks the government had enacted strict gun control laws that included a ban on semiautomatic rifles. There has not been a mass shooting in Australia since.

The decline of sense of community, and the rise in alienation:
But there has also been an erosion of community in America over the past half-century, and many scholars believe it has contributed to the rise in mass shootings.

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