The largest study of mass shootings to date found common threads among most mass shooters since 1996. It’s less about trench coats, bowl cuts and Confederate flags and more about the shooter’s past experiences, attitudes and behaviors leading up to the shooting — and of course, access to a firearm.
A study by the nonpartisan think tank The Violence Project funded by the Department of Justice, analyzed all mass shootings — killings of four or more in a public place, not including the shooter, as defined in this project and by the FBI — since 1996 and found most have four things in common: experience with childhood trauma, a personal crisis or grievance, a “script” or examples that validate their feelings or provide guidelines on how to carry the violence out and access to a firearm.
Debates over the cause of mass shootings have been largely tainted by political agenda. Those in favor of gun control blame guns, and those against it blame mental illness. However, this database focuses on more than 100 variables surrounding these incidents and offers a more holistic view of the circumstances that play into them.