Not going to be passive about my personal response to potential mass violence.
When I enter a room, I look for exits, and potential defenses in the room. I work in schools and private homes.
In the course of my day you will find me armed.
I teach and model behavior that promotes each person being responsible for their own safety.
The Police have no role in preventing injury to you, they are the cleanup crew after a crime. They can pursue, and apprehend AFTER the fact.
For decades now, anti-terror experts, law enforcement agents, and emergency responders have been gathering information on who perpetrates mass shootings most frequently in the United States. Because these tragedies are so prevalent, they’ve now compiled quite a large mass of data on the phenomena.
Their data shows that active shooters often exhibit similar behavior and characteristics in the months and weeks before an attack. This behavior can provide warning signs for a potential shooting, but these signs are rarely reported to the authorities.
For that reason, here is some information on what to look out for if you suspect someone might be a mass shooter. Keep reading to get the warning signs.
A Single Man is More Likely to Be a Mass Shooter
In 2018, the FBI published a study that examined 63 mass shootings in the United States from 2000 to 2013, in an attempt to identify “those who may be on a pathway to deadly violence.”
In it, one point of data clearly differentiates American mass shooters from other members of society. 94% of active shooters were men. A different FBI study analyzed 50 active shooter incidents from 2016 to 2017, and found that all the shooters were male.
57% of the shooters were also either divorced, separated, or single at the time of the shooting.
According to the first study, mass shooters are white 63% of the time, which makes sense consider 60% of the U.S. population identifies themselves as Caucasian.
Watch Out for Abusive Behavior
Aside from being male and divorced or single, the majority of shooters had troubling behavior in common. This is behavior in the form of harassment, bullying, abuse, and perhaps previous incidences of violence.
The FBI found that 35% of our mass shooters in the 21st century had been previously convicted of a crime, felony or misdemeanor. 62% of mass shooters had a personal history of acting in an “abusive, harassing, and oppressive way,” according to the aforementioned reports. This behavior included incidents of “excessive bullying and workplace harassment.”
16% of shooters had previously had domestic abuse records and 11% were known stalkers and harassers of both men and women.
Prior to the attacks, the shooters in this study had, on average, 4.7 instances of troubling behavior.
77% spent at least a week planning their shootings, where these types of behaviors increased in frequency as they became more erratic. Most shockingly, over 50% of the shooter had told someone prior to the attacks that they were planning a mass shooting. Still, these behaviors rarely get reported.
The people who can most easily spot this troublesome behavior are the people closest to a potential shooter. This is either friends, family, or classmates. Again, most of the time, these people rarely ever report their erratic friend or relative to the FBI or their local police force, unfortunately.
This is surprising, as these people often have the most to lose. Of the nearly 160 mass shootings from 2009 to 2016, the gunmen shot their family member or romantic partner 54% of the time.
An Obsession with Guns and Other Weapons
Shooters often like to buy, build, or study illegal explosives, and quickly learn how to get and use a variety of guns, whether it be an assault rifle, a Glock, or a shotgun.
They also might have an assorted collection of other weapons like knives, batons, and other military gear. Post-shooting, law enforcement officers often find the shooters’ residences armed and booby-trapped with explosives and other weapons.
Look Out for Loners
Shooters are lone wolves. They tend to stick to themselves unless they find someone willing to join their nihilistic cause, like the two Columbine shooters that took the lives of so many.
It is this introverted personality combined with a history of violence, an obsession with guns, and a lack of conscience that is the most concerning. This type of person is very likely to one day become a mass shooter.
Shooters Come From Dysfunctional Families
Almost everybody has a mildly dysfunctional family, but a potential mass shooter typically has a dangerously dysfunctional home life. In other words, there are environmental and genetic factors that contribute to a shooter’s violent behavior.
They often lack mature brain development, and they tend to be far removed from environments and situations that would contribute to a positive outlook on life.
A Lack of Morals or Ethics
A lack of a guilty conscience is probably one of the most haunting signs of a mass shooter. A potential shooter can do horrible things and show no signs of remorse.
A mass shooter might have a history of killing wild animals or even family pets just for the fun of it. If you know a person like this, and they have no guilt about it, they may be a sociopath and one day commit an act of terror that is all too common in our country today.
Mass shooters don’t have to desire or the ability to live ethically. They have no conscience and get off on their traumatic displays of violence and murder. For many mass shooters, the thrill of it, as well as the notoriety is what made them want to commit a mass shooting in the first place.ay, no location is too sacred for a mass shooter to unleash terror, whether it be a school in Connecticut, a movie theater in Colorado, or a church in Charleston. Active shooters will hit your community where it hurts the most.
PERSONALLY, I carry a handgun, don’t go to potentially dangerous places. I use de-escalating speech and mannerisms. I am polite, and present as a non-victim.
I have thought through what I would do in a mass shooting event.
If possible, I will stop the guy with the gun, period.