New Item: U.S. mass attacks often sparked by personal, workplace grievances … –

As the U.S. reels from a week of high-profile shootings, a new report on mass attacks seen in the nation over a five-year period is highlighting the connection between domestic violence, misogyny and shootings.

The 70-page report, issued on Wednesday by the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center, examined 173 incidents where three or more people were harmed. The attacks targeted workplaces, schools, religious institutions and public transportation, among other locations, which killed 513 people and injured 1,234 more.

The report calls for communities to intervene early when they see warning signs of violence and encourages businesses to consider workplace violence prevention plans.

It was released as the U.S. experienced a particularly deadly start to the new year that has left 39 people dead in six mass killings, including one this week in Monterey Park, Calif., that left 11 people dead at a dance hall as they welcomed the Lunar New Year.

“It’s just happening way too often,” said Lina Alathari, the centre’s director, during a news conference ahead of the report’s release.

Perpetrators overwhelmingly men

The centre defines a mass attack as one in which three or more people — not including the attacker — were harmed. Almost all the attacks were carried out by one person, 96 per cent of attackers were men and the attackers ranged in age from 14 to 87, with an average age of 34. In 73 per cent of incidents, some kind of firearm was used.

While the centre said it found one-quarter of the attackers had subscribed to a belief system involving conspiracies or hateful ideologies, including antisemitic or anti-government views, half of the attackers were motivated by more specific grievances and “were retaliating for perceived wrongs related to personal, domestic or workplace issues.”

A man holds a sign during a vigil outside Monterey Park City Hall, blocks from the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, on Tuesday night in Monterey Park, Calif. A gunman killed multiple people at the ballroom dance studio late Saturday amid Lunar New Year’s celebrations in the predominantly Asian American community. (Ashley Landis/The Associated Press)

The report noted that nearly two-thirds of attackers exhibited behaviours or communications “that were so concerning, they should have been met with an immediate response.” But in one-fifth of the cases, the concerning behaviour wasn’t relayed to anyone “in a position to respond, demonstrating a continued need to promote and facilitate bystander reporting.”

The report also called for greater attention toward domestic violence and misogyny, noting that 41 per cent of the attackers were “found to have had a history of engaging in at  least one incident of domestic violence.”

“Though not all who possess misogynistic views are violent, viewpoints that describe women as the enemy or call for violence against women remain a cause for concern,” the report said.

About half the attacks in the study involved a business location, and attackers often had a prior relationship with the business, as an employee, a customer or a former employer. 

The weekend’s attack in San Mateo County in California, for example, involved an agricultural worker who killed seven people at the farm where he worked, police said.

WATCH l Accused in California mass killings had personal connection to shooting sites:

7 killed in mass shooting at northern California farm

California is grappling with its second mass shooting in three days after a man with an automatic handgun shot and killed seven people at a mushroom farm south of San Francisco on Monday.

Small percentage of overall U.S. gun deaths

While mass shootings often get outsized attention in broadcast news media coverage, they account for a very small percentage of the human losses U.S. sees each year from gun violence.

The Gun Violence Archive, an online database of incidents in the U.S. that defines mass shootings as those in which four or more people are shot, recorded 513 deaths from such incidents in 2020.

That total was less than the number of unintentional gun deaths (535) and gun deaths involving law enforcement (611) for that very same year, according to separate tracking from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The total gun deaths from homicides in 2020 was 19,384 people, per the CDC, with an even greater number of deaths from gun-related suicides (24,292).

There were 13.6 gun deaths per 100,000 Americans in 2020, far and away a higher rate than other Western countries, which have more restrictions on possessing firearms.

By comparison, Canada saw its highest per capita homicide rate in 16 years in 2021, with a rate of 2.06 homicides per 100,000 population. That figure, compiled by Statistics Canada, included all homicides, including the 60 per cent not attributable to firearms.

Up until the pandemic, per capita gun deaths in the U.S. were significantly lower than in the 1970s to early ’90s. There were 16.3 gun deaths per 100,000 in 1974, the modern high mark.

Lawmakers remain divided on the solutions, with Democrats calling for more gun control measures while Republicans focus on mental health and increased security.

Joe Biden’s administration passed the most significant gun control legislation in decades last summer after high-profile mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas. But the bill did not include an assault weapons ban.

Biden on Tuesday again urged lawmakers to consider an assault weapons ban after the California shootings.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith