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U.S. Mass Killings Occurring at 'Uniform' Rate


Las Vegas after the recent mass shooting.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzed the time distributions of 323 mass killings in the U.S. between 2006 and 2016 and found that mass killings occurred at a stable rate throughout the 10-year period: about once every two weeks.

Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Mass murders in the U.S. occur at a stable, once-every-two-weeks rate, according to a recent University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study analyzing the time distributions of 323 mass killings between 2006 and 2016.

Although mass shootings have not become more prevalent over the past decade, University of Illinois professor Sheldon Jacobson finds it disconcerting that it has not gotten better.

The researchers also studied the distribution of different subsets of mass killings, and found the data suggested a quality known as "memorylessness," which describes a pattern in which one mass killing does not seem to trigger another one soon after it, or if it does, the effect is quite small. This means another shooting is just as likely to happen one day after a shooting as it is to happen five days after, dispelling the "copycat" hypothesis.

The researchers hope these patterns will inform public discussion and policy via education of the public and law enforcement preparation.

From Inverse
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