Tragically, we have had another mass shooting in the US. The chart above summarises deaths from such events (data collated by Mother Jones). It is clear that the problem has been getting worse since about 2005 (statistically significant at p < 0.00001).
Social factors appear to be blame, since there has been no signficant change in the availability of weapons in that time. Those social factors might include mental health policy, education policy, social media, video games, drugs, the decline of religion, media coverage of past shootings, etc. It seems to me that serious study is urgently required. Some things we do know: psychiatrist Ragy Girgis suggests:
“With exceptions, many of these [perpetrators] tended to be younger males who were empty, angry, and nihilistic, felt rejected by society, were socially, occupationally and/or academically unsuccessful, and blamed society for their failures. These individuals tended to have very fragile egos and were highly narcissistic, feeling they were much more special than they actually were and deserving of fame and notoriety. They harbored a strong desire for this notoriety and infamy. Committing a mass shooting instantly produces these results in today’s culture.”
In the Mother Jones dataset (for 1982 onwards), 13 states have never had a mass shooting (Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming), while in 13 other states, the chance of dying in a mass shooting exceeds 0.1 per million per year:
|State||Total Fatalities||Annual Deaths per million|
The relevant social factors are therefore not uniform across the United States. The map below shows the mean annual death rate per million for mass shootings in each state (for 1982 to 2023, excluding Alaska = 0 and Hawaii = 0.12):
Edit: Ragy Girgis, quoted above, notes that perpetrators tended to be “occupationally and/or academically unsuccessful.” Consequently, state unemployment rate is a statistically significant risk factor (p = 0.0148):
Even more significant (p = 0.0046) is the correlation with the Social Support Index from the US Joint Economic Committee Social Capital Project. Better social support helps to reduce the risk of mass shootings.