Be extra careful: Mass shootings are contagious

Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton.

a mathematical model found that shootings that resulted in at least four deaths launched a period of contagion, marked by a heightened likelihood of more bloodshed, lasting an average of 13 days.

From here: Mass Shootings Are Contagious | Scientific American

And this study says media coverage is the cause of the contagion

Our findings consistently suggest that media coverage systematically causes future mass shootings. … A range of robustness checks support these conclusions. Using our benchmark estimation, a simple back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that 58 percent of all mass shootings between January 1, 2013 and June 23, 2016 are explainable by news coverage. In terms of timeframes, news coverage seems to systematically raise the number of mass shootings in the following four to ten days and the effect reverts back to statistical insignificance after approximately 12 days.


Some ideas on how to reduce the media contagion effect in this, including giving no notoriety to to the shooters (don’t name them, don’t publish their photos):

Mass shootings may not actually be more frequent than they have been over the last 50 years. Our perception has changed to indicate it’s an epidemic, thanks to the media, but that’s not what the trends of actual data show.

While different choices about how to define a mass shooting and the period over which to calculate mass shooting trends have resulted in disagreement about whether the frequency of mass shootings has risen, there is clear evidence that the media’s use of the term mass shooting has increased significantly over recent decades (Roeder, 2016). Unfortunately, the ambiguity in how mass shootings are defined and counted may result in increased media coverage influencing public perception without better informing our understanding of the prevalence of mass shootings or their determinants, trends, social costs, or policy implications.

From here, an article worth reading: Mass Shootings in the United States | RAND


and some resources:


Great points @zee.

We’re already seeing it and with the political rhetoric going on it’s only gonna fuel more hate and more extremist.


Excellent information. Sadly, little to none of it will penetrate the armor of outrage worn by the anti-gun left. They believe themselves to be RIGHT and GOOD, and therefore superior to you. However, if one possesses a puckish sense of humor, one can agree with their logic and line of reasoning, add additional correct info which demolishes their argument, and watch their tightly wound heads explode.

For instance, we have all heard the anti 2A argument along these lines: “When the second amendment was written, all they had was muskets and swords. You can have all of those you want and we’ll just ban everything else.”

Now, one could marshall a correct and cogent rebuttal referencing puckle guns and Furgeson rifles, as well as pointing out the levels of carnage which could be achieved with swords and muskets. One would fail utterly.

It could be much more effective, not to mention more fun, to craft an argument through agreement. It might go something like this: “Why, you’re right! I never thought of it like that before. What an insightful way to understand the Constitution. Hey, you know what? We should also restrict voting to white men of property just like they did back then. And remember, slaves were property, too! I’m on your side, brother. Let’s go fight for the real meaning of the Constitution; I’m right beside you. Boy, is like see them try to quarter some troops in our civilian homes! I’ll throw so many rock, they won’t know what not 'em!”

I recommend deploying a splatter shield first.



These are the people who scare me the very most.


I know, right! There are none so dangerous as the self righteous.



I have been saying media has been a big part of the problem for a while but I dont have all the letters around my name for the public at large to believe me.


Very Informative! I’ve been a subscriber of Scientific America for 2 years now, and they’re spot on. I’ve since downloaded every publication starting from the late 1800’s.

I wish POTUS would call the media out regarding the misdiagnosis and misinformation of Mass shootings, in the sense they make flagrant statements like “There has been 252 mass shootings so far in 2019.” The media then provided a source link for their claim, which included the following areas governed by Democrats:

Mass Shootings
21 in Chicago, IL
10 in Baltimore, MD
7 in St. Louis, MO
6 in Washington, DC
6 in Philadelphia, PA
5 in Atlanta, GA
3 in Brooklyn, NY
3 in Oakland, CA

Democratic Locales that received no coverage! Then the claim of POTUS being a racist when a Whites kill non-whites, and a racist when he points out locales governed by Democrats where Black are killing each other in record numbers (Baltimore).

President Trump can’t win for losing with the media. I hope by now Americans have inoculated themselves from the bull-jive the media is using to infect the massesIMG_20190804_144452 .

1 Like

here’s another reference:

FOLLMAN: There are some specific steps the media can take to reduce the sensational effect and the excessive focus on the perpetrator especially in the immediate aftermath.
FOLLMAN: So don’t put the perpetrator’s name in a big headline. It’s especially important to avoid the tough-guy posed images from social media with guns. That’s how they want to be seen. They want those distributed. Don’t focus excessively on the body count. That’s an important data point in reporting on an event like this. But to make a big deal out of it - that’s what they want.

also Guidance: On Names, The 'Manifesto' And Other New Zealand Mass Shooting Details : Editorial Guidance from the Managing Editor : NPR which details NPR’s specific approach to what to cover and what to not cover, and how to handle what’s news without making it sensational.

-WEAPONS. If officials describe them, attribute the descriptions to them. Remember, it’s almost always wrong to simply say they were “assault weapons.”

perhaps not exactly what you’re referring to but while I was poking about on NPRs site, I found this from August 27, 2018: The School Shootings That Weren't : NPR

This spring the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” The number is far higher than most other estimates. But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened.
We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.
In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.

1 Like

Sadly, the more these events are publicized and in a sense glorified the more likely we are to see another one soon.

Without a doubt the amount and type of attention the media focuses on these events helps to drive them.

1 Like

Yeah it could way off as I was quoting what was written in the media and linked here: Strangely, regardless if a victims die or not it’s counted in the mass shooting equation. When you view it you’re see what I mean.

1 Like

Harold Bevins here, and the idea of contagious Mass Shootings was strange, until yesterday when it happened in Dayton Ohio. My home town.

The thing I would add is that everybody and their brother that are against the 2nd Amendment will now be after “Red Flag Laws”, even though the laws regardless of what they were would not have stopped these shooters. The one in Dayton turned up clean up until the incident except something about back in school when he had a list of targets, and everyone let it pass… That happens way to often, but every one that gave a pass back then wants to take our guns for what he did now…


from the early reports, the red flag laws wouldn’t have caught the Dayton shooter anyway.
scary to have that so close to home, @Harold. glad you’re here.

That is the very scary part. Someone knew, but they may have had the mentality that it wasn’t their problem to deal with. Or maybe they didn’t believe him. Unfortunately, a lot of people say scary things for attention but have no intention of going through with the act.

The ones who do go through with it weren’t taken seriously enough - but how do you know who to take serious in this age of keyboard warriors and bullies? :frowning:

Welcome to the Community, @Harold - hope you can jump in on some of the less tragic conversations!

1 Like

Not a lot of perfect answers here… let’s run that through the law of unintended consequences.

IF we start 3-day-holding everyone who makes a scary comment, and taking the guns off everyone who loses their temper and making them prove their sanity, it won’t be very long before the majority of people learn not to say those things. In half a generation we’ll end up with people who keep that stuff to themselves.

For a while, things will get much less obviously scary, but perhaps they will be a lot more dangerous.

Its not only the big-talkers and the short-fuses who will learn to shut up, it’s the ones who really mean it or who really need help. Now those folks are underground, harder to spot and address, far more difficult to get to for intervention before they do something horrendous.

I don’t have a good answer here - if we let bullies run without restriction, people suffer, and it encourages others to act the same. If we bring the hammer down on people who speak their aggression, maybe some clean up their act, but the really dangerous ones just get quieter, not healthier. When we legislate this stuff we are using a bigger hammer, and bigger hammers are rarely better for addressing the complexities in any situation for best results.

My brother trains dogs as one of his professions… he says “You never want to teach a dog not to growl at you… because what you are really teaching him is to bite you without warning.”

We have a lot of people growling. What we cant tell by the use of bigger-hammer law standards is which are growling because they’re scared, which because they’re hurt, which because they mean to take something from you, which because they’re aggressive, and which because they are crazy.

Bigger-hammer law has its place, but deployed indiscriminately it will not solve the problem, and may make it worse. Social and mental health intervention needs to work better, but I don’t know how we do that.

I like that! I may have to use it. :slight_smile:

1 Like

You know back when I was in grade/middle school (and Atlantis had not sunk yet) they use to give us boxing gloves to settle the problem. Most bullies were not so bad when it was one on one.


@DBrogue I think that would still work.

1 Like

The (sorry Tom G.) lawyers will never let us do this again.