Uptick in Mass Murders Could Be Linked to Economy

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2009 4:33 PM CDT
Investigators leave the scene where a Mass. man on a rampage, Saturday, fatally stabbed his 17-year-old sister and decapitated his 5-year-old sister in front of a police officer.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The recent spate of shootings could point to a link between violence and the faltering US economy, the Christian Science Monitor reports. “Most of these mass killings are precipitated by some catastrophic loss, and when the economy goes south, there are simply more of these losses,” said criminologist Jack Levin, and others agree. Though direct correlation is tricky to prove, “this is not the average situation,” added another.

The recession in the early '90s “saw a dramatic increase in workplace violence,” said Levin. But finding precedent for the current situation is literally impossible, as data correlating the economy and violence was not collected until after World War II and the Great Depression, the only similarly catastrophic downturn. Whatever the cause, the uptick in violence is “the worst I've seen in years,” one official said.