Smart Talk: The Violence Project finds commonalities among mass shooters

  • Merideth Bucher/WITF

Over the past 50 years, mass shooters in the United States exhibited four commonalities, according to The Violence Project — a think tank that has assembled comprehensive research on mass shootings in America. The project is partially funded by the National Institute of Justice and includes a thorough database of more than 150 mass shootings dating back to 1966.

What shooters have in common: They all experienced childhood trauma, had an identifiable crisis point before the shooting, studied the actions of other shooters and had a means to carry out their plans.

Researchers examined not only the background of shooters but every aspect of their personal history, relationships, the community, and the social climate where the events occurred. Their findings are then disseminated and evaluated for policies and prevention strategies.

Appearing on Thursday’s Smart Talk to talk about what the data shows is Dr. Jillian Peterson, PhD, co-founder of The Violence Project and a psychologist and professor of criminology at Hamline University in Minnesota.

Key Points: 

:28 – Introduction to The Violence Project

6:40 – Mass shooters are often suicidal

14:52 – Is there a way to prevent mass shootings?

25:40 – How can this data be used?

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