I Don't Like Mondays: A Routine Activities Approach to Examining Mass Murder

Janice Wittekind, Auburn University
Thomas A. Petee, Auburn University
Gregory S. Weaver, Auburn University

There has been considerable attention given to incidents of mass murder over the last several years. Research on the topic has tended to focus on differentiating between various types of mass murder, or on issues related to the context or outcome of these events. To date, there has been little attention given to theoretically explain the distribution of mass murder incidents. The present study attempts to address this deficiency by examining mass murder using a routine activities approach. As originally formulated by Cohen and Felson (1979), routine activities suggests that the distribution of predatory crime can be explained by the convergence of suitable targets, motivated offenders, and a lack of guardianship. The present study examines incidents of mass murder occuring within the United States between 1980 and 2000 to determine whether the routine activities model can be used to explain this phenomenon.

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Updated 05/20/2006