Source Politico | Repost Fight for Life Foundation 6/1/2022 –
Mass shooters overwhelmingly fit a certain profile, say Jillian Peterson and James Densley, which means it’s possible to ID and treat them before they commit violence.
Each time a high-profile mass shooting happens in America, a grieving and incredulous nation scrambles for answers. Who was this criminal and how could he (usually) have committed such a horrendous and inhumane act? A few details emerge about the individual’s troubled life and then everyone moves on.
Three years ago, Jillian Peterson, an associate professor of criminology at Hamline University, and James Densley, a professor of criminal justice at Metro State University, decided to take a different approach. In their view, the failure to gain a more meaningful and evidence-based understanding of why mass shooters do what they do seemed a lost opportunity to stop the next one from happening. Funded by the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the Department of Justice, their research constructed a database of every mass shooter since 1966 who shot and killed four or more people in a public place, and every shooting incident at schools, workplaces and places of worship since 1999.
Peterson and Densley also compiled detailed life histories on 180 shooters, speaking to their spouses, parents, siblings, childhood friends, work colleagues and teachers. As for the gunmen themselves, most don’t survive their carnage, but five who did talked to Peterson and Densely from prison, where they were serving life sentences. The researchers also found several people who planned a mass shooting but changed their mind.