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Maine shootings are 10th mass killing in a public setting this year, a US record, according to Northeastern expert

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Law enforcement gather outside Schemengee's Bar and Grille, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, in Lewiston, Maine.

The shootings in Maine that have killed at least 18 people are a sign of the lethality of the weapons that are easily available, says James Alan Fox, a Northeastern professor who has been studying mass killings and serial murders for more than 40 years. The victims were killed in Lewiston, Maine, on Wednesday night at a bowling alley and a bar several miles apart. Images from the bowling alley show a man carrying a high-powered, assault-style rifle. 

Fox says the Lewiston case is the 10th mass killing in a public setting this year, which he cites as a U.S. record. There have been 568 mass killings in the U.S. since 2006 that have claimed 2,962 lives, according to the Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University Mass Killings Database, the longest-running and most extensive data source on the subject, which is maintained by Fox.

A mass killing is defined as an event that results in four or more deaths. “Let’s understand that these events still are rare in a population of more than 330 million people,” says Fox, the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern. “What has changed is the severity of these crimes.”

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

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