Guns. Bullying. Mental illness. Psychiatric medications. Violent videogames. Fatherlessness. The desire for fame.
Many reasons are invoked to explain why more and more frequently in today’s America, young men – and occasionally women – are turning into mass murderers.
Yet the highly politicized debate over core causes and prevention strategies generates far more heat than light. Liberals blame guns, the National Rifle Association and Republicans, while conservatives blame fatherlessness, godlessness and gun-free zones. But just as with most other life-and-death issues plaguing today’s painfully divided America, true consensus as to causes and cures – which could then become genuine policy solutions – always seems out of reach.
Let’s look at the problem from a somewhat different vantage point than usual, one that casts the growing incidence of mass-shootings in terms of “contagion.”
In a 2015 peer-reviewed study titled “Contagion in Mass Killings and School Shootings,”