US Mass Shooting Analysis
The analysis of US mass shootings from 1982 to May 6, 2023, reveals several key trends and insights. There has been a significant increase in total victims of mass shootings over the years, with the highest number recorded in 2017 (704 victims). Some years experienced noticeable spikes, and recent years have shown fluctuations in the annual number of victims. The total number of victims was considerably lower in the 1980s and 1990s, but increased more rapidly since the turn of the century.
In terms of weapon acquisition, the majority of mass shootings involved weapons that were obtained legally. The legal status of weapon acquisition was unknown or undetermined in a smaller number of cases, and very few involved both legal and illegal weapons.
The dataset shows a strong gender imbalance in mass shooters, with the majority being male and only a small number involving females. Further research may be needed to explore the factors contributing to this disparity in shooter gender.
The age group 21-40 has the highest number of total victims, while the youngest age group (0-20) has the least number of victims. There is a significant difference between the highest and lowest number of victims, indicating a strong relationship between age groups of shooters and total victims.
Shootings occurred in various locations, with the majority taking place in "other" location types, followed by workplaces and schools. Religious, military, and airport locations were less common.
Visualizing the dataset on a map revealed that the majority of shootings involved semiautomatic weapons and were predominantly perpetrated by males with a mean age of 36.6 years. The shooters' race varied, with White being the most common, followed by unknown or unspecified, Black, and Asian.
About the data
US Mass Shootings, 1982– May 6, 2023. Original data came from from Mother Jones: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data/
1. Identify trends in mass shootings over the years.
- Increase in mass shootings: The data shows a significant increase in total victims of mass shootings over the years, with the highest number recorded in 2017 (704 victims).
- Spikes in certain years: Some years, such as 2007, 2009, and 2018, experienced noticeably higher numbers of mass shooting victims compared to their surrounding years.
- Fluctuations in recent years: Although there is a general upward trend, recent years (2015-2023) have shown fluctuations in the annual number of victims, with 2017 being the highest and 2021 being the lowest in this time period.
- Lower numbers in the 1980s and 1990s: The total number of victims in mass shootings was considerably lower in the 1980s and 1990s, with annual totals never exceeding 61 victims.
- Rapid increase in 21st century: The number of mass shooting victims has increased more rapidly since the turn of the century, with significant jumps seen after 2006.
2. Examine the frequency of legally obtained weapons in mass shootings.
- 95 mass shootings involved weapons that were obtained legally.
- In 24 cases, it was unknown whether the weapons were obtained legally or not.
- 16 mass shootings involved weapons that were not obtained legally.
- For 7 cases, the legal status of weapon acquisition is marked as to be determined (TBD).
- In 1 case, both legal and illegal weapons were used in the mass shooting.
3. Investigate the distribution of shooter gender in mass shootings.
- The majority of mass shooters are male, with 137 cases identified in the dataset.
- A significantly smaller number of mass shootings involved females, with only 3 cases.
- In some instances, both male and female shooters were involved in mass shootings, accounting for 3 cases.
- These findings indicate that there is a strong gender imbalance in the distribution of mass shooters, with males being the predominant perpetrators.
- Further research may be needed to explore the underlying factors contributing to this disparity in shooter gender in mass shootings.
4. Analyze the relationship between age groups of shooter and total victims.
- Age group 21-40 has the highest number of total victims: With 1250 victims, this age group of shooters is responsible for the majority of the total victims.
- Age group 61+ has a surprisingly high number of victims: Despite being the oldest age group, individuals above 61 years of age have caused 652 victims.
- Youngest age group (0-20) has the least number of victims: The shooters in the age group from 0 to 20 years have the lowest total number of victims with 374.
- Significant difference between age groups: The difference between the highest and lowest number of victims is 876, indicating a strong relationship between age groups of shooters and total victims.
- Focus on age group 21-40: Since this age group has the majority of victims, further analysis should focus on understanding the factors contributing to this higher rate.
5. Analyze shootings location type.
- The analysis shows that the majority of shootings occur in other location types, with a count of 54.
- Workplace shootings are the second most common, with a total of 52 incidents.
- School shootings account for 22 cases, ranking as the third most frequent location type.
- Shootings in religious and military locations are comparatively rare, with counts of 8 and 6 respectively.
- The least common location type for shootings is airport, with only 1 recorded incident.
6. Visualize the shootings on a map.
- The dataset contains 126 shootings from 1982 to 2022, with the most recent being the Sacramento County church shooting in 2022.
- Shootings took place in various locations such as schools, workplaces, and religious institutions. The most common location type was workplace (32 incidents), followed by schools (30 incidents).
- The majority of shootings involved semiautomatic weapons (handguns, rifles), with a few cases involving revolvers or shotguns.
- Shooters were predominantly male and their ages ranged from 15 to 59 years old, with a mean age of 36.6 years.
- The shooters' race varied, with White being the most common (55 incidents), followed by "unknown" or unspecified (45 incidents). Other races represented include Black (16 incidents) and Asian (4 incidents).
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