US mass killings may be contagious: Study

A new study has found that mass killings in the United States may be contagious as there is an increase in the likelihood of a new shooting after each deadly tragedy in the US.

The findings published in the journal PLOS ONE Thursday are the result of scientists’ examination of data from 1998 to 2013 on school shootings and other mass killings in the country.

Incidents which claim the lives of four or more people “create a period of contagion that lasts an average of 13 days,” the study showed.

“Roughly 20 to 30 percent of such tragedies appear to arise from contagion,” it asserted.

The study indicated that the risk of a follow-on shooting was temporary and that it appeared to fade after the two-week mark.

According to previous research, suicides can be contagious among young people especially when the details of the method used are spread among them.

“The hallmark of contagion is observing patterns of many events that are bunched in time, rather than occurring randomly in time,” said lead author Sherry Towers, research professor in the Arizona State University Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center.

 

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