Mass murder

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Mass murder (in military contexts, sometimes interchangeable with "mass destruction") is the act of murdering a large number of people, typically at the same time or over a relatively short period of time.[1]

According to the FBI, for individuals, mass murder is defined as the person murdering four or more persons during a particular event with no cooling-off period between the murders. A mass murder typically occurs in a single location in which a number of victims are killed by an individual or more.[2][3] With exceptions, many acts of mass murder end with the death of the perpetrator(s), whether by direct suicide or being killed by law enforcement.

A mass murder differs from a spree killing, in that it may be committed by individuals or organizations, whereas a spree killing is committed by one or two individuals. In terms of individuals, mass murderers are different from spree killers, who kill at two or more locations with almost no time break between murders and are not defined by the number of victims, and serial killers, who may kill numerous people over long periods of time. Mass murder is also not synonymous with genocide because genocide requires distinct elements.

Mass murder may also be defined as the intentional and indiscriminate murder of a large number of people by government agents. Examples are the shooting of unarmed protestors, the carpet bombing of cities, the lobbing of grenades into prison cells, and the random execution of civilians.[4] The largest mass killings in history have been governmental attempts to exterminate entire groups or communities of people, often on the basis of ethnicity or religion. Some of these mass murders have been found to be genocides and others to be crimes against humanity, but often such crimes have led to few or no convictions of any type.

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Mass murder by a state

The concept of state-sponsored mass murder covers a range of potential killings. It is defined as the intentional and indiscriminate murder of a large number of people by government agents. Examples are shooting of unarmed protestors, carpet bombing of cities, lobbing of grenades into prison cells and random execution of civilians. Other examples of state-sponsored mass murder include:

Mass murder by individuals

Mass murderers may fall into any of a number of categories, including killers of family, of coworkers, of students, and of random strangers. Their motives for murder vary.[6] A notable motivation for mass murder is revenge, but other motivations are possible, including the need for attention or fame.[7][8][9]

Student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on Virginia Tech's campus in 2007.

Vasili Blokhin's war crime killing of 7,000 Polish prisoners of war, shot in 28 days, is notable as one of the most organized and protracted mass murders by a single individual on record.[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ Aggrawal A. (2005) Mass Murder. In: Payne-James JJ, Byard RW, Corey TS, Henderson C (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine, Vol. 3, Pp. 216-223. Elsevier Academic Press, London
  2. ^ "Serial Murder - Federal Bureau of Investigation". Fbi.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  3. ^ Clues to Mass Rampage Killers: Deep Backstage, Hidden Arsenal, Clandestine Excitment, Randall Collins, The Sociological Eye, September 1, 2012
  4. ^ a b R. J. Rummel, Irving Louis Horowitz, Death by Government, Page 35, ISBN 1-56000-927-6
  5. ^ R.J. Rummel. Chapter 1: 61,911,000 Victims: Utopianism Empowered
  6. ^ Kluger, Jeffrey (April 19, 2007). "Inside a Mass Murderer's Mind". Time. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  7. ^ "ABC News: What Pushes Shooters to Mass Murder?". Abcnews.go.com. 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  8. ^ "Notoriety Drives Mass Shooters". Newser. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  9. ^ "ABC News: Psychiatrist: Showing Video Is 'Social Catastrophe'". Abcnews.go.com. 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  10. ^ Sebag Montefiore, Simon (2004). Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. Knopf. p. 334. ISBN 1-4000-4230-5. 

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