On average, there are about 20 mass murders every year, and the trend has been steady since the 1970s, said James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston and author of five books on mass murder.
The typical mass murderer is a socially isolated white man in his 30s or 40s. He has no criminal record, but his life has been marked by failure and frustration, and he decides that his family, boss or co-workers must pay with their lives, Fox said.
“The rarest form of mass murder is the completely random shooting,” Fox said. “Those perpetrators tend to be younger (in their 20s). They are more likely to have profound mental health issues, as opposed to the older guy who is quite sane, knows exactly what he is doing, and just decides that life is miserable.”
The random shooter, Fox said, feels “the whole world is unfair, someone has to pay, and it doesn’t matter who.”