Goleta, California, Postal
Shooting Latest Example of Unique Facilitating Role Guns Play in Murder-Suicide
Role of Guns, Other
Patterns of Murder-Suicide, Identified in VPC Study American Roulette,
the Largest Study of Murder-Suicide in the U.S. Ever Conducted
murder of six former co-workers and subsequent suicide by a Goleta, California,
ex-postal worker fits the tragic pattern--the use of a firearm--that defines
almost all of the more than 1,300 estimated deaths that result each year
from murder-suicide, according to the Violence Policy Center (VPC). In
2002, the VPC published the largest study of murder-suicides ever conducted,
American Roulette: The Untold Story
of Murder-Suicide in the United States. The study was based on
data collected in the first six months of 2001. It found that California--with
29 murder-suicide incidents in the first half of 2001--was second only
to Florida, and tied with Texas, in the number of murder-suicides incidents.
The study is currently being updated by the VPC using 2005 incidents for
release later this year.
Findings of the 2002
- Unlike the Goleta,
California, murder-suicide, where a woman was the shooter, the VPC study
found that men were the murderers in 90.4 percent of incidents.
- The VPC study found
that 94.5 percent of murder-suicide incidents studied involved a firearm,
most often a handgun.
- The VPC study estimates
that there are more than 1,300 murder-suicide deaths per year.
- Unlike the Goleta,
California, shooting, 76 percent of murder-suicides analyzed in the
VPC study occurred in the home.
VPC Legislative Director
Kristen Rand states, "Most people think of suicide as a solitary act.
In fact, many people with suicidal thoughts are also intent on taking
other people with them, and guns make it far too easy to commit mass murder-suicide.
America needs to fully understand the risk of murder-suicide and the pivotal
role that firearms play."
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x109