Do a couple of successive mass shootings in California suggest that older men will be the next generation of mass murderers?
Don’t count on it, experts say. 72 year old man who killed 11 people in Monterey Park and a 66-year-old man who is said to killed seven near Half Moon Bay could have committed crimes within 48 hours and 400 miles of each other. But they are likely to remain the exception in a growing list of young offenders.
The reason: Although older men quickly pick up infectious diseases, they seem to be practically immune to those types of infections that provoke a violent manifestation of mimicry.
“We don’t see a lot of 60 and 70 year olds commit mass murders, and when they do, it’s usually a murder-suicide in the family,” he said. Jack McDevitt criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston.
Suicides tend to occur in clusters, suggesting contagion, but there is little evidence that killings or mass shootings follow such a pattern, McDevitt said.
More important, he added, is one of criminology’s most recognized findings: When it comes to crime in general and violent crime in particular, men tend to “age” from criminal activity.
This pattern is also observed during mass executions.
Database supported Northeastern University’s Department of Criminology reveals that, at age 72, the man who shot at a ballroom dance studio Saturday night in Monterey Park and died the next day from a self-inflicted gunshot wound was the second-youngest offender. mass murder in recent years. The 66-year-old man accused of shooting seven people in San Mateo County on Monday afternoon is also among the oldest mass murderers.
This database dates back to 2006.
The fact that both men were Asians and immigrants puts them in even less company. Since 1967, the database of mass executions maintained by violence project found that 11 out of 172 perpetrators – about 6.4% – were Asians. Nine of these mass shooters immigrated to the United States from Asia.
A total of 15.1% of Project Violence mass shootings were immigrants.
While it differs in methodology and the range of dates it covers, database The massacres supported by Northeastern University, USA Today, and the Associated Press tell a very similar story. It found that from 2006 to two shootings in California, 34 of 535 events — also 6.4% — were perpetrated by perpetrators identified as Asian or Pacific Islander.
But what surprised researchers the most was the age of the last two mass shooters in California. Not since 64 years old video poker player fatally shot 58 visitors At the 2017 Las Vegas Music Festival, an elderly man staged a mass shooting in the USA
Violence in general, and massacres in particular, is largely the prerogative of young and middle-aged men. Emma Friedel who teaches criminology at Florida State University and has contributed to the Northeastern database. Over the past decades, the average age of mass murderers, defined as those who have killed four or more people in a single incident using any weapon, has ranged from 30 to 32, she said.
(In addition, they are overwhelmingly male: in the Violence Project database of 172 mass shootings, all but four were male, and two out of four women acted in partnership with a man.)
“The key feature that we see in mass murderers is the externalization of guilt,” Friedel said. “They tend to be collectors of injustice.”
Despite their highly visible role in school shootings, teenagers and young adults are not the most likely demographic to be involved in mass killings; they are generally too young to have accumulated enough resentment to encourage such violence, she said.
On the other end of the spectrum, older men tend to “have developed the skills to deal with life’s disappointments,” she added.
Although they may have many resentments, it seems that they have reached old age safely precisely because they have found less cruel ways to deal with their anger and frustration.
“Mass shootings don’t survive to old age because they usually can’t cope for that long,” Friedel said.
If the discontent points to a general motive for the massacre, experts say, then the shooter’s choice of location may provide more specific clues as to the circumstances that triggered it.
In this regard, experts, including McDevitt, consider the crimes of the two men to be somewhat different. The Monterey Park shooter’s choice of the Star Ballroom suggests that disappointment in social relationships could motivate his actions. A shooting in San Mateo County appears to have been directed at colleagues or employers of the suspect, which may indicate money problems, etc. work relationship.
“Having two tragedies in a row makes people look for patterns, and there may not be any,” Friedel warned. “We’re still talking about rare specimens.”
The Violence Project database shows that 31% of the mass shootings took place in the workplace, and roughly 22% took place in a bar, restaurant, or apartment building—places that suggest the shooter may have been motivated by failed relationships or interpersonal or group hatred.
However, such differences pale in comparison to the single most common factor common to all mass shootings, he said. Dr. Amy Barnhorst UC Davis psychiatrist who studies gun violence.
“So many people are fighting rights, hate, anger and frustration,” Barnhorst said. “What causes the mass shooting is the weapon.”
Add a gun to that, and “all these different paths that start in different places merge into a place where rage and resentment lead to a shooting rather than a broken wall or a bar fight,” she said.
Here, too, the demographics in the two California shootings appear to be consistent with some warning signs of potential violence, but conflict with others.
An Internet survey a 2018 study by researchers at UC Davis and Harvard University estimated that 4.2 million California adults own a firearm. A disproportionate number of firearm owners – 43% – were aged 60 or over.
In light of this finding, it is not surprising that the two shooters may have had weapons. However, Asian Americans are less likely to own guns: in a state where Asians and Pacific Islanders make up roughly 16% of the population, a study found that only 9% of gun owners identified their ethnicity as non-white. Black or Hispanic.
The vast majority of these gun owners are “very law-abiding and responsible gun owners,” Barnhorst said. “One is enough to give them a bad name.”