Reading Between the (Head)Lines

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Mass Murders Are On The Rise

Single death homicides have dropped 40 percent since 1980; yet mass murders are increasing. Why? Read More

Nice job, Dr. Archer!

I've been saying the same thing regarding the alarming rise of mass shootings of this sort for the past twenty-five years. But often the falling statistics regarding violent crime are cited in arguments by opponents of this observation. Your clarification in this piece is a valuable contribution to the discussion. And a sobering reality check for those that would deny this terrifying trend. We may disagree on the causes, but the phenomenon is very real.

Best wishes,

Dr. Diamond

It's Unclear if Mass Killings are on the Rise

Dr. Archer, you need to be careful here. You cited only one source, The NY Times, who states that mass killings are on the rise. There are noted criminologists on record saying that this is not true. Among them are James Fox, John M. Klofas and Chris Delaney.

Actually most data I've seen

Actually most data I've seen indicates it has actually declined a lot. Along with serial killers as well. Just more visible due to mass media. However it does look like the murder rate has fallen much faster than the mass murder rate =(

Single death homicides are up for 2011 and 2012

The nadir of single death homicides was in 2010. Single death homicides have been steadily increasing in 2011 and 2012.

The FBI recently released a report saying that violent crime is up 18% from 2010 to 2011.

Still havn't seen actual

Still havn't seen actual statistics on the percentage with military and security training.

Serials seem to be in the high 80 percentile, but mass seems to be as you say.

My speculation is that murder rates have dropped, as the amount of folks still walking from the Nam conflict dropped at a similar rate.

This begs the question...

Is the incidence of psychosis in the population also on the rise? It would be an interesting corollary point to the rise of mass murders.

No difference in strictness of gun control?

There is tremendous difference in outcomes when one examines strictness of gun control across different countries. Just yesterday, a madman in China slashed his way through 20 or so students with a knife. None died, thanks to the fact that it is damn hard to get a gun in China. One suspects that guns must be controlled at the national level to be effective.

Ignores the evidence - gun control is effective

This article is a crock. Its conclusion is also self-serving in that it promotes more work for the psychology profession.

The US has a 4x higher intentional homicide rate than other developed countries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

Its homicide rate by guns is about 9 times higher: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_...

Most other Western countries do not grant individuals the right to bear arms anything nearly as much as the US. It is true they are also more socially cohesive.

The answer does not lie in further testing, as the author suggests. It lies in looking at other countries' experience and learning from it. Nowhere else in the world do we see the rate of mass murders as much as in the United States. Socially isolated and disaffected people with a gun can kill far more people than if they don't have access to guns.

In Australia, where I'm from, we had a mass murder in the mid-1990s. Our conservative prime minister, John Howard, banned individual ownership of guns. We haven't seen a mass murder since and our homicide rate has also more than halved since then. John Howard himself wrote about this several months ago: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/brothers-in-arms-yes-but-the-us-n...

Indeed, as the commentator

Indeed, as the commentator related, "The answer does not lie in further testing". It lies in going out of the ivory tower, go to the scene, look at those blood from those innocent faces, feel their pains; and just think how a single person can kill so many people before any of them can resist with a chair, or run away while he was butchering someone else... :(

If we keep teaching our children that they come from animals, 10 years later, we shouldn't be surprised that they behave like one.

Indeed, as the commentator

Indeed, as the commentator related, "The answer does not lie in further testing". It lies in going out of the ivory tower, go to the scene, look at those blood from those innocent faces, feel their pains; and just think how a single person can kill so many people before any of them can resist with a chair, or run away while he was butchering someone else... :(

If we keep teaching our children that they come from animals, 10 years later, we shouldn't be surprised that they behave like one.

Indeed, as the commentator

Indeed, as the commentator related, "The answer does not lie in further testing". It lies in going out of the ivory tower, go to the scene, look at those blood from those innocent faces, feel their pains; and just think how a single person can kill so many people before any of them can resist with a chair, or run away while he was butchering someone else... :(

If we keep teaching our children that they come from animals, 10 years later, we shouldn't be surprised that they behave like one. :(

Indeed, as the commentator

Indeed, as the commentator related, "The answer does not lie in further testing". It lies in going out of the ivory tower, go to the scene, look at those blood from those innocent faces, feel their pains; and just think how a single person can kill so many people before any of them can resist with a chair, or run away while he was butchering someone else... :(

If we keep teaching our children that they come from animals, 10 years later, we shouldn't be surprised that they behave like one. :(

James Fox

The article just takes for granted what the NY Times writes. Dr. James Fox, Northeastern University Criminologist authors a study which reveals that mass murders are not on the rise and actually peak in 1929. This is just the normal ebb and flow. There is understandable hysteria involving the recent tragedies but it will all die down soon enough....until the next tragedy.

James Fox

The article just takes for granted what the NY Times writes. Dr. James Fox, Northeastern University Criminologist authors a study which reveals that mass murders are not on the rise and actually peak in 1929. This is just the normal ebb and flow. There is understandable hysteria involving the recent tragedies but it will all die down soon enough....until the next tragedy.

opinion, not facts

And some people wonder why psychiatry is viewed with skepticism:

The NYT "article" referenced here is no such thing:
It's an op-ed piece containing only the original author's subjective observations, without any verifiable stats or references.

A quick google returns multiple links to articles backed up with verifiable data - not personal opinion - all refuting the claim made in both the referenced NYT op-ed piece, and this one.

You're entitled to your personal opinion Doctor Archer;
not your personal facts.

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Dale Archer, M.D., is a clinical psychiatrist and author of The New York Times bestseller, Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional.

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