Mass killings in the U.S. are expected to continue during the current poor economic conditions, Eric Hickey, director of forensic studies at Alliant International University in San Diego, tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Hickey said in the recession of the early 1990s, the U.S. was seeing almost one multiple killing per week. Gradually, that declined to about one per month, but “you knew that couldn’t last and it started going back up a year ago or so, and in the past three or four months, there has been a spike, which could be an anomaly, but I don’t think so. would be shocked if we didn’t continue on this track for a while.”
Revenge is the most common factor in mass murders, said criminologist Jack Levin of Northeastern University. Says Levin: “At the most basic level, the revenge is directed against family members,” who are the main victims in about 30 percent of all mass killings. “The next most likely target is the workplace, where an ex-worker who was fired or laid off comes back shooting, killing the boss and co-workers.” Finally, there are mass killers who blame society in general for their problems and may walk into a mall and open fire, or target certain groups for destruction, including the police, because “the police are representatives of society.” Some experts cite easy gun access in the U.S.: “You need to understand how our society permits easy access to lots and lots of guns if you’re going to understand why these kinds of killings happen so much in the United States as opposed to somewhere else,” said David Hemenway, a health policy professor at Harvard. “As far as I can tell, the psychological problems of these killers are not unique to the United States, but what is unique is that it’s so easy for people in the U.S. to get access to weapons.” Daniel Nagin, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University, agreed. “It’s technologically impossible to kill a lot of people very quickly without access to these assault weapons,” he said.