INTRODUCTION Mass shootings or “shooting massacres” were once considered rare occurrences in the United States. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. On August 1, 1966, a man who had already shot and killed his mother and wife opened fire at passersby from his sniper position at the top of a 27-story tower on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, killing 17 people and wounding another 30. Mass shooting incidents occurred well before 1966, such as in the 1949 case of a mentally ill war veteran who, using a Luger pistol, shot and killed 13 people on the streets of Camden, New Jersey (Fox, 2007). However, the Austin Tower shootings was considered a turning point; since that time, the occurrence of mass shooting episodes has increased, and now such incidents occur with alarming frequency. More than 100 Americans have “gone on shooting sprees” in the past 40 years (Crenson, 2007). Certain kinds of settings have attracted a number of mass shooting incidents, especially workplaces, schools or university campuses, restaurants, shopping centers or malls, and even places of worship. After a number of U.S. Postal Service employees shot their coworkers at worksites during the 1980s and early 1990s, the term “going postal” was coined to signify going berserk and shooting people. The latest postal incident occurred in 2006 when a former employee shot and killed six people at a letter-sorting facility in California (Crenson, 2007).
ASJC Scopus subject areas