LOOKING INTO THE EYES OF A MASS SHOOTER
Combine the faces of 39 mass shooters in America, and this is what you’ll see: An average-looking white man with dark hair and eyes.
The truth is that he could be anyone, a fact that perhaps lends credence to Malcolm Gladwell’s assertion that mass shootings are a “slow-motion, ever-evolving riot, in which each new participant’s action makes sense in reaction to and in combination with those who came before.”
LOOKING INTO THE EYES OF A MASS SCHOOL SHOOTER
LOOKING INTO THE EYES OF A MASS WORKPLACE SHOOTER
In 2012, a gunman killed six people at a sign company in Minneapolis, Minn. In 2010, an angry employee killed eight co-workers in Manchester, Conn. Workplace shootings are, according to our data, one of the most common types of shootings in the U.S.
It’s clear why 10 percent of people surveyed by The American Institute of Stress said they’re afraid of someone becoming violent at work.
Similar to our other facial averages, the average face of a mass workplace shooter was a nondescript, white man with dark hair and eyes. He may be a little older, but beyond that, he looks quite similar to the other profiles.
THE DEADLIEST MASS SHOOTERS IN U.S. HISTORY
MASS SHOOTINGS AND RACE
The majority of mass shootings are committed by white men (56 percent) – more than three times as many as any other group.
One sociological study concluded that the privilege of being white, heterosexual, and male plays a key role. According to the study, these privileges “make subsequent … losses more unexpected and thus more painfully shameful,” and create a situation where perceived failures “result in a final cumulative act of violence to stave off subordinated masculinity.”
This makes sense when you look at killers like Dylann Roof, who unleashed his rage in a black church because he believed that black people had come to take over the country and “rape our women.”
A LOOK AT MASS SHOOTINGS ACROSS THE U.S.
When we look at the big picture – locations, racial profiles, and the number of victims associated with each mass shooting – a trend emerges. As the data show, mass shootings happen more often on the East and West Coast than anywhere else in the country. This makes sense when you consider that the majority of the U.S. population lives in these areas.
THE VENUES OF RANDOM VIOLENCE
The terrible truth is that your life is most at risk in a mass shooting at a school or military site – places that should typically make you feel safe. While the majority of mass shootings happen in “other” locations, military sites and schools see the most related deaths (22 and 21 people respectively).
THE FACE OF A KILLER
The truth is complicated. Most mass shooters are young, white men, and they tend to look like every other young, white male. Most of them obtained guns legally. They had friends and family who cared about them. They seemed like normal people until they committed their unthinkable crimes.
For some people, these faces will simply become caricatures of the firearm debate that illustrate shortcomings in America’s system. But families and friends of their victims will only see portraits of monsters.
Note: Omar Mateen, born to Afghan natives, has been labeled among the “Other/Unclear” shooters due to the inconsistent regional and racial identification of Afghanistan and its citizens among reputable sources.
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