Spree shooting. It is the disorganized cousin of mass murders. They are separated only by definition. A spree shooting is when multiple people are killed by someone in various locations over a short period of time…mass murder occurs when a shooter kills multiple people in one location, at one time. And don’t confuse them with serial killers.
Today’s spree shooting comes to us from Orange County, California…four dead including the shooter who killed himself after a series of murders, carjackings and a chase with police.
Last week it was former LAPD officer Chris Dorner who went on a week long rampage, killing four, wounding others and then killing himself in a cabin at Big Bear.
Last May, shooting erupted on the streets of Louisville. In the end three were killed, three more wounded as at least some of the shootout was in front of the crowd of onlookers, police and press. In 2009, in Geneva County, Alabama a shooter went on a spree that crossed three towns in two counties and left 10 dead besides the shooter who committed suicide when confronted by police.
Beyond definition, how do these sprees differ from mass murder? What is the motivating trigger? In mass murder we like to blame mental illness, in spree killings the trigger is more than likely anger; domestic violence to the extreme [like the Appomattox shootings in 2010] or a workplace shooting that spills out into the community like the Accent Signage shooting in 2012 where five were killed besides the shooter.
A second differentiation…this event will get minimal media coverage…it will be a regional or national news story only until either then next multiple death shooting or until the American Idol broadcasts during sweep week [ratings count]. But the murder count will continue unabated…12,000 Americans will die by gun violence again this year – 250,000 will be injured. It is, as someone on a gun forum said “the price of freedom.” A very high price indeed.