In one month, eight mass killings in the U.S. have left 57 people dead. A unifying theory has emerged: it's the "dismal state of the nation's economy," says an April 8 story in The Washington Post. Other outlets concur. NEWSWEEK's Kurt Soller tested the meme with three leading criminologists.
Richard Rosenfeld, president-elect, American Society of Criminology: "There are too few mass murders to draw a meaningful connection … [And] there's no way to prove whether those killings would have occurred under different economic circumstances."
Alfred Blumstein, former director, National Consortium on Violence Research: "There's not much linking these shooting events, and certainly not the economy ... If anything, it's a mixture of notoriety [and] retribution against one's enemy. Any sort of pattern here would be a copycat effect."
Roger Lane, author, "Murder in America: A History": "Mass killings are different from ordinary homicides; the psychological profile is closer to suicide … It's usually just that the shooters are utterly crazy, which has nothing to do with economic conditions."