Causes Of Mass Shootings

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“You’re watching television, you’re watching the news; you’re being pumped full of fear… and it’s just a campaign of fear and consumption. That’s what I think it’s all based on is the whole idea that keep everyone afraid and they’ll consume. And that’s really simple.” (Bowling). Mass murders occur throughout the world and affect every race and gender. Individuals have debated for years about what causes a person to commit these crimes. Mental illness, alcohol, drugs, rejection, access to guns, biological factors, violent entertainment, the list goes on and on. The three most talked about are access to guns, mental illness, and violent entertainment. Although access to guns, violent entertainment, and mental illness may play a role in mass shootings,…show more content…
There has been a common debate on how we should define mass shootings. From the FBI to CNN, each has their own way of defining this heinous crime. The best definition, however, comes from USA Today’s Behind the Bloodshed, an article with an in-depth analysis of mass shootings throughout America. They define mass shootings as “any incident in which four or more people were killed, including family killings, and with no cooling off period” (Overberg). The first recorded public shooting happened in 1764 in Greencastle, Pennsylvania. A teacher and ten students were shot by four Lenape American Indians. Since then, the rate of mass shootings has been increasing. Between 1982 and 2011, mass shootings occurred throughout the United States every two hundred days. Throughout 2011 and 2014, mass shootings had increased to every sixty-four days and seven of the thirteen mass shootings that had double-digit death tolls, took place in the last nine…show more content…
The news believes that they hold an obligation to cover these stories as part of their public service, but they do not realize that less is more. With their over televised reports of these shootings, the news is not only covering them they are influencing more. During the American Revolution, the German writer Goethe wrote “The Sorrows of Young Werther”. It grew in popularity and became the Catcher in the Rye of its day. Readers wrote parodies of the book, dressed as Werther, and some even committed suicide just like him. This would later be called the Werther Effect. Two hundred years later, “Death of a Student”, a six-part television show created in Germany, aired. It was about a high school student named Claus Wagner who committed suicide by jumping under a train. Each episode began by showing him jumping under the train. The show was supposed to teach teenagers that suicide was wrong but it proved to have the opposite effect. The real message of Werther and Wagner was that if you commit suicide, hundreds of people will pay attention to you. Psychologist has identified this as the suicide contagion and is a well-known phenomenon, especially among teenagers. Newly found evidence is beginning to reinforce the idea that highly publicized mass shootings hold the same contagious effect. Researchers at Arizona State University examined news reports from 1997 to
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