Over the past fifty plus years, over 125 mass shootings/massacres have occurred within the United States but not one perpetrator has been identified as a trained member of an international Islamist terrorist organization.
A review of the massacres will shed considerable light on the political, cultural and socio-psychological features of US society. The frequent and intensely bloody nature of these mass shootings are a distinctly US phenomenon. The high proportion of fatalities over wounded survivors is a reflection of the availability of high-power weapons in the US and the poorly coordinated police response – where SWAT teams place ‘force protection’ over saving lives.
Method and Scope
Until very recently, civilian-initiated massacres were an infrequent phenomenon in US society up. In order to understand the rise of civilian-initiated massacres as an American phenomenon, we will first set out approximately 20-year time frames, then list the number of massacres in each time period, examine the number of fatalities and the political and social ethos within each time frame. It would be interesting to look at the ratio of fatalities to wounded survivors in order to gauge the effectiveness of the police/medical response.
We can identify three time frames: the early period between 1960-1980; the middle period between 1981-1998; the most recent period between 1999-2016.
Political Dynamics of Massacres
There is a…