Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Terance D. Miethe
Mass murder involves the illegal killing of a large number of people, either by the state or by an individual. The term genocide is often used to describe mass killings and other efforts directed at the physical elimination of groups of people based on their ethnicity, nationality, race, religion, or a combination of these factors. A related concept is democide , which refers to government-sponsored killings for political reasons. Although intentionality is a necessary element for all types of mass murder, opinions differ over the particular types of actions that should qualify under these definitions. Some examples of ambiguous situations include deaths of citizens during wartime, deaths in government custody, and deaths resulting from government embargoes and blockades. Problems of definition aside, estimates of the prevalence of mass murder during the twentieth century are simply staggering. In fact, the estimated numbers of victims of such murders range from one hundred ...