By Alan Hall | Excerpted from the August 2012 Socionomist
Originally published under the title “Social Mood Regulates US’ Multiple Shootings”
“Random, multiple-victim shootings make society fearful.”
Most people would agree with the sentence above. Yet in the article excerpt here, socionomist Alan Hall presents recent data that suggests a radical re-ordering of the statement: “A fearful society is more likely to suffer multiple-victim shootings.”
Read an excerpt of the August 2012 article below.
As multiple-victim shootings increased in the United States over the past year, pundits blamed Hollywood, violence-enamored culture and easy access to guns.
But we found data that argue otherwise. Figure 1 shows the NYSE Composite Index—a broad measure of over 2000 stocks—plotted against all the data compiled by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, a gun-regulation advocacy group. The chart suggests a strong connection between the social mood trend and multiple-victim shootings.
We carefully examined the data and found only two duplicate entries. After deleting them, we added the August 5, 2012, Sikh Temple attack and the August 13, 2012, Texas A&M shooting. We indexed the list and graphed the daily sum of people killed and wounded in the 432 multiple-victim shooting incidents since 2005. Finally, we smoothed the graph using a 40-day moving average.
Social mood trends divide the chart into four main sections, two of them positive (shaded green) and two of them negative (shaded brown).
Note how closely the shooting data follow the trends in the stock market. Multiple-victim shootings produced few casualties during most of the 2005-2007 uptrend. After the 2007 mood peak and as stocks fell, the number of victims trended markedly higher. The numbers then peaked just a month after the March 2009 low in stocks and shootings remained high for the rest of 2009, lagging similarly to other expressions of mood, such as economic statistics and incidents of political unrest. As mood continued to wax positive, multiple-victim shooting casualties trended lower, ultimately bottoming just a month after the May 2011 stock peak. …
Read the rest of the article to learn why negative social mood drives the rate of multiple-victim shootings, and other social trends such as dark movies, apocalyptic thinking, and authoritarianism.
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