The Guardian reports: The US is reeling from another school shooting, the 45th this year, after a 26-year-old gunman murdered as many as nine people and wounded seven more at a community college in Oregon before he was killed.
The gunman was named as Chris Harper Mercer, a 26-year-old man who lived near Umpqua college in the rural town of Roseburg. He is thought to have been born in England before moving to the US as a young boy.
Investigators were focusing on reports from survivors that Mercer told students to state their religion before he opened fire.
The police were also looking at reports that hours before the attack he posted messages on an internet chat site warning people to stay away from school. Investigators said they were attempting to trace people on the site who discouraged him while others urged him on. It does not appear anyone reported the messages to the authorities before the shooting. [Continue reading…]
Quartz reports: A study this summer from Arizona State University found “significant evidence” that school shootings and other mass shootings were far more likely if there had been reports of a similar shooting in the previous two weeks.
And last year, after analyzing 160 mass shootings in the U.S. from 2000 to 2013, Andre Simons of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit concluded, “The copycat phenomenon is real.”
“As more and more notable and tragic events occur, we think we’re seeing more compromised, marginalized individuals who are seeking inspiration from those past attacks,” Simons said at the time.
The reporter’s typical mandate—to paint the clearest, most accurate picture of an event using all available information—may, in this case, be unintentionally encouraging further crime, sociologists and psychologists say. [Continue reading…]