bullying and to consistently enforce them. Attempts to create more communal social organizations are likely to be effective for reducing this form of victimization. Schools that tolerate bullying increase the level of bullying as well as the risk that an unusual act of retaliation will occur.

RESEARCH ON VIOLENCE CLOSELY RELATED TO SCHOOL RAMPAGES

In looking in detail at some of the characteristics of the school rampages, one can think about them as more or less similar to specific categories of violence. In this section, we examine research on the phenomena of mass murder, public rampages and work violence, and murders followed by suicides or crime sprees that look as though they were designed at least in part to produce a “suicide by cop.”

Mass Murders

Mass murder is a very rare event. Defining a mass murder as an incident with four or more victims, one analysis of FBI Supplementary Homicide Report Data from 1976 through 1995 found 483 mass murders involving nearly 700 offenders and over 2,300 victims (Fox and Levin, 1998). This amounts to less than 1 percent of the more than 400,000 homicides committed during that period.

That analysis also compared mass murders with single-victim murders and noted a number of noteworthy differences. Mass murders are more likely to occur in small town or rural settings (43 percent) compared with single-victim murders (34 percent). Mass murders are not concentrated in the South, unlike single-victim murders. Mass murders are more likely to involve firearms (78 percent) than single-victim crimes (66 percent). And 40 percent of mass murders are committed against family members and almost as many involve other victims acquainted with the perpetrator, such as coworkers; this is more pronounced for mass murders than for single-victim crimes.

Mass murderers are usually older than single-victim murderers. While more than half of all single-victim homicides occur during an argument between the victim and the offender, it is relatively rare for heated disputes to escalate to mass murders (23 percent). Many mass murders are committed to cover up other felonies, such as armed robbery (39 percent). However, in the FBI data, an equal number of mass murders have unspecified circumstances (39 percent) because these crimes involve a wide array of motivations, including revenge.

Fox and Levin (1998) argue that a majority of mass killers have clearcut motives—especially revenge—and their victims are chosen because of



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement