- Mass murder
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Contract killing · Felony murder rule
Honor killing · Human sacrifice (Child)
Lust murder · Lynching
Mass murder · Murder–suicide
Proxy murder · Lonely hearts killer
Serial killer · Spree killer
Torture murder · Feticide
Double murder · Misdemeanor murder
Crime of passion · Internet homicide
Manslaughter in English law
Non-criminal homicide Note: Varies by jurisdiction Justifiable homicide
By victim or victims Suicide Family OtherPseudocide
Mass murder (in military contexts, sometimes interchangeable with "mass destruction") is the act of murdering a large number of people (four or more), typically at the same time or over a relatively short period of time. According to the FBI, mass murder is defined as four or more murders occurring during a particular event with no cooling-off period between the murders. A mass murder typically occurs in a single location in which a number of victims are killed by an individual or more.
Mass murder may be committed by individuals or organizations. Mass murder may also be defined as the intentional and indiscriminate murder of a large number of people by government agents. Examples are the shooting of unarmed protestors, the carpet bombing of cities, the lobbing of grenades into prison cells and the random execution of civilians. Mass murderers are different than spree killers, who kill at two or more locations with almost no time break between murders, and serial killers, who may kill large numbers of people over long periods of time. The largest mass killings in history have been attempts to exterminate entire groups or communities of people, often on the basis of ethnicity or religion. Some of these mass murders have been found to be genocides and others to be crimes against humanity, but often such crimes have led to few or no convictions of any type.
Mass murder by a state
The concept of state-sponsored mass murder covers a range of potential killings. It is defined as the intentional and indiscriminate murder of a large number of people by government agents. Examples are shooting of unarmed protestors, carpet bombing of cities, lobbing of grenades into prison cells and random execution of civilians. Other examples of state-sponsored mass murder include:
- Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, religious or national group. While precise definition varies among genocide scholars, the legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Since the CPPCG went into effect in 1951 there have been two genocides found to be so in international courts these were the Srebrenica genocide and the Rwandan Genocide (see International prosecution of genocide. There have been a number of other convictions for genocide under municipal laws, and a number of genocides in history – such as the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust – are widely seen as genocides, but occurred before the universal acceptance of international laws defining and forbidding genocide was achieved in 1948, so those criminals who were convicted of taking part in these historical genocides were found guilty of crimes against humanity and other more specific crimes like murder.
- Political mass murder or the killing of a particular political group within a country, such as Béla Kun's ethnic cleansing against Turkish and Crimean Tatars and other minorities in 1921-22, White and Red Terrors, Joseph Stalin's Great Purge, Mao Zedong's Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries, Pol Pot's Killing Fields, massacres at the partition of India, or the Hama, Jallianwala Bagh, Tlatelolco massacres, and the mass killing of communists by Suharto's New Order.
- Deliberate massacres of captives during wartime by a state's military forces, such as these committed by the Empire of Japan, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II: the Nanjing Massacre, the Katyn Forest Massacre of Polish citizens in 1940 and the massacres of political prisoners after the launch of Operation Barbarossa, the Three Alls Policy and the massacre of Soviet Jews at Babi Yar.
- Mass killing of civilians during total war, especially via strategic bombing, such as the Bombing of Chongqing, Bombing of Tokyo, the Blitz, the bombing of Dresden and Hamburg, or the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- Actions in which the state caused the death of large numbers of people, which political scientist R. J. Rummel calls "democide", which, in addition to the cases above, may include man-made disasters caused by the state, such as the Holodomor in the Soviet Union, and the disastrous effects of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China.
For further historical examples of mass murder, both state-committed and in wartime, see here.
Mass murder by individuals
Mass murderers may fall into any of a number of categories, including killers of family, of coworkers, of students, and of random strangers. Their motives for murder vary. Many other motivations are possible, including the need for attention or fame. Examples of American mass murderers include Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Ronald DeFeo, Jr., George Hassell, Andrew Kehoe, Howard Unruh, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, Richard Speck and Charles Whitman.
Workers who assault fellow employees are sometimes called "disgruntled workers," but this is often a misnomer, as many perpetrators are ex-workers. They are dismissed from their jobs and subsequently turn up heavily armed and kill their former colleagues. In the 1980s, when two fired postal workers carried out such massacres in separate incidents in the US, the term "going postal" became synonymous with employees snapping and setting out on murderous rampages. One of the 1980s most famous "disgruntled worker" cases involved computer programmer Richard Farley who, after being fired for stalking one of his co-workers, Laura Black, returned to his former workplace and shot to death seven of his colleagues, although he failed in his attempt to kill Black herself.
In some rare cases mass murders have been committed during prison riots and uprisings. During the February 1980 New Mexico State Penitentiary riot, 33 inmates were killed. Most of the dead, 23, lived in the Protective Custody Unit, and were killed by other inmates using knives, axes and being burnt alive over a 48-hour period.
Unlike serial killers, there is rarely a sexual motive to individual mass-murderers, with the possible exception of Sylvestre Matuschka, an Austrian man who apparently derived sexual pleasure from blowing up trains with dynamite, ideally with people in them. His lethal sexual fetish claimed 22 lives before he was caught in 1931.
On July 22, 2011, Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, killed 77 people in two separate attacks in Oslo, Norway. The first attack was a car bomb attack on the national government quarters in Oslo, killing 8 people. Behring Breivik then drove some 40 km to the island of Utoya where a political youth camp was in progress. Dressed as a policeman, he gathered the attendants and then opened fire, leading to the massacre of 69 people over the span of roughly 90 minutes.
Incidences of mass murder that are committed by more than one individual, mostly duos, happen less often than by a single individual but are not uncommon. Examples include Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden, Hu Wenhai and Liu Haiwang, Lavrynovitch and Obrapalski, and Kumatarō Kido and Yagorō Tani.
Mass murder by terrorists
In recent years, terrorists have performed acts of mass murder to intimidate a society and draw attention to their causes. Examples of major terrorist incidents involving mass murder include:
- October 6, 1976: Cubana Flight 455 - 73 killed
- November 20, 1979: Grand Mosque Seizure - 127 killed (excluding perpetrators)
- August 2, 1980 : Bologna bombing - 85 killed
- April 18, 1983 : 1983 United States embassy bombing - 63 killed
- October 23, 1983: Beirut barracks bombing - 299 killed
- March 8, 1985 : Beirut car bombing - 80 killed
- May 14, 1985 : Anuradhapura massacre - 146 killed
- June 23, 1985: Air India Flight 182 bombing over the Atlantic Ocean - 329 killed
- December 21, 1988: Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Scotland - 270 killed
- March 12, 1993: Bombay bombings - 257 killed
- April 19, 1995: Oklahoma City bombing in the United States - 168 killed
- August 7, 1998: U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania - 224 killed
- September 11, 2001: September 11 attacks in the United States - 2,998 killed
- October 12, 2002: Bali bombing in Indonesia - 202 killed
- March 2, 2004: Ashura massacre in Iraq - 170 killed
- March 11, 2004: Madrid train bombings in Spain - 191 killed
- September 4, 2004: Beslan school hostage crisis in Russia - 344 killed
- February 28, 2005: Al Hillah bombing in Iraq - 127 killed
- July 7, 2005: 7 July 2005 London bombings in the United Kingdom - 52 killed
- July 11, 2006: Mumbai train bombings in India - 207 killed
- March 27, 2007: Tal Afar bombings and massacre in Iraq - 152 killed
- August 14, 2007: Yazidi communities bombings in Iraq - 796 killed
- November 26–28, 2008: 2008 Mumbai attacks in India - 185 killed
- July 22, 2011: 2011 Norway attacks - 77 killed
- ^ Aggrawal A. (2005) Mass Murder. In: Payne-James JJ, Byard RW, Corey TS, Henderson C (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine, Vol. 3, Pp. 216-223. Elsevier Academic Press, London
- ^ Serial Murder - Federal Bureau of Investigation
- ^ a b R. J. Rummel, Irving Louis Horowitz, Death by Government, Page 35, ISBN 1-56000-927-6
- ^ R.J. Rummel. Chapter 1: 61,911,000 Victims: Utopianism Empowered
- ^ R.J. Rummel. Reevaluating China's Democide to be 73,000,000. November 20, 2005.
- ^ Kluger, Jeffrey (April 19, 2007). "Inside a Mass Murderer's Mind". Time. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1612368,00.html. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- ^ ABC News: What Pushes Shooters to Mass Murder?
- ^ Notoriety Drives Mass Shooters - Newser
- ^ ABC News: Psychiatrist: Showing Video Is 'Social Catastrophe'
- ^ Sebag Montefiore, Simon (2004). Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. Knopf. pp. 334. ISBN 1400042305.
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Look at other dictionaries:
mass murder — mass murders N VAR Mass murder is the deliberate illegal killing of a large number of people by a person or an organization … English dictionary
mass murder — murder of many people within a short period of time … English contemporary dictionary
mass murder — /mæs ˈmɜdə/ (say mas merduh) noun the murder of a large number of people at the same time; multicide. –mass murderer, noun … Australian English dictionary
mass murder — noun the savage and excessive killing of many people (Freq. 1) • Syn: ↑slaughter, ↑massacre, ↑carnage, ↑butchery • Derivationally related forms: ↑butcher (for: ↑ … Useful english dictionary
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