When the Sandy Hook Incident was in the heat of the moment, I attempted to provide information that would describe the complexity of the issue, on the Wrong Planet website, to avert the attention from the one factor that was in focus in the Autism Community. I provided an informal Poll to analyze many factors potentially associated with the increase of rampage killings in the last 30 years.
It was an extremely interesting discussion, with a meeting of the minds on the spectrum that is linked at the bottom of this blog entry. My description of the issue is provided here:
From the timeline provided in the link above, it appears that mass murders/spree killings (FBI definition of 4 or more killed other than the shooter) have increased dramatically in the last three decades from 12 to 21 to 29.
What is also interesting is that in the first decade there were only 2 shooters under the age of 30 and 22 in the last 2 decades.
What is perhaps the most alarming trend is that there have been 22 incidents in the last 5 years, almost twice as many in the entire first decade, and one more than the second decade.
All of these rampage killings were accomplished with guns, the majority of which were identified purchased legally. Most of the individuals were identified as having some type of mental disturbance.
While overall violent crime and murder statistics continue to decrease in the US since the early 90's, the low for gun fatalities per homicides, suicides, and accidents was identified in the year 2000, and has been reported slowly increasing in the decade between 2000 and 2010.
Interestingly, there is one survey that suggests the percentage of guns in households has actually decreased since 2004, suggesting there are 70M guns in homes. However, another survey suggests 300M, per registered and unregistered guns.
The overall factors of mental illness/disturbance, legally purchased guns, the use of guns in every crime, and male participation at 98%, are factors that have stayed relatively the same over the three decades in these studied mass murders/spree killings.
What has changed dramatically is the demographic of the age of males involved and the frequency of the incidences.
What was once a crime almost entirely limited to middle aged males, is now a crime that is approaching 44 percent in the last two decades for males under the age of 30, and 38 percent for males under the age of 26.
In the first decade there were 16 percent under the age of 30, and 0 percent under the age of 26.
If one takes the increase of that under 30, male demographic out of the equation in the last 2 decades, there is not a substantial increase of mass murders/killing sprees, overall, in the last two decades until the last 5 years.
A common psychological element that can be identified across decades in the timeline provided, regardless of identified mental illness/disturbance, age, or target selected to kill, has also stayed relatively the same over three decades of reported rampage killings: a loss or absence of a viable social role for the individuals involved and the killing and violence is directed at some demographic in society.
It appears what was once a type of violent crime almost limited to middle aged disenfranchised males is now becoming more of an issue for younger disenfranchised males.
Violent Video Games have become increasingly popular, available, accessible, and realistic per the virtual experience since the early 90's. Many of which are associated with using guns and other weapons to kill enemies.
Never the less, whether as a result of stricter enforcement of laws associated with drug crime or other factors; murders, violent crime, and crime in general, are reported by the United States Department of Justice, to have overall steadily dropped during that same time period.
Even Serial Killings are reported to have dropped by 300 percent in the 2000's decade, back to the levels seen before a 300 percent increase started in the 1970's.
Rampage killings are a glaring exception to these trends, in the US.
It is worth noting that in many of the violent video games the goal is to kill as many enemies as possible with the most powerful weapons available. Other than military actions under the social norm, the only potential of this outside of the social norm, in real life, is rampage killings.
Even if the killer's medical records are released, and Asperger's becomes officially documented in the legal record, he will be the first of 62 individuals officially diagnosed with Asperger's involved in a rampage killing as defined in the timeline, in the last 3 decades in the US, making up 1.6 percent of that assessed demographic.
That is a potential demographic subgroup as rare as the one female identified as participating in a rampage killing over 3 decades. Neither of which could statistically be identified as even a significant factor associated with rampage killings.
In one final and potentially salient note in the future for those that do or don't want to see some of the "assault weapons banned" for sale, the 10 year Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004 after there was a dramatic increase in the late 90's in Rampage Killings that did decrease substantially in the early 2000's.
The recent use of legally obtained weapons in rampage killings that were under that previous ban that expired in 2004, can certainly not be left out as a significant factor in the total equation of the dramatic increase in rampage killings and number of deaths in those killings over the last five years.
This correlation and the emotional gravity of the Sandyhook rampage killing may eventually be enough to support a new ban for some of those weapons that were banned for sale before.
Link to the Wrong Planet Poll, and discussion on this issue:
Autism, the Internet and "Ideological First Identity", a Collection of Thoughts: