Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Deborah Sawers Kaiser
Mass murder is the killing of four or more individuals at one given time or in a fairly short period of time, and in one place (in a single incident). Although often confused with serial murder —the killing of three or more people over a period of time, with intervals between murders—criminologists distinguish between the two. A variety of motivating factors drive mass murderers, for example, disgruntled employees lash out against a corporation or organization, violence is driven by intolerance of racial or sexual orientation, or an individual responds to perceived injustices. Mass murder is generally premeditated and deliberate, not impulsive or spontaneous, with firearms most often used, enabling ...