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1.   a spell or sustained period of unrestrained activity of a particular kind

2.   spree killing* - an event in which a person murders 2 or more people, in multiple locations, with little to no cooling-off period

* This definition was used by the FBI until 2005, the modern term is Active Shooter.

There is no universally accepted term or definition for all of the mass murders we experience in the United States.  For our title, AHS opts for an outdated term rife with ambiguity to draw attention to the history and difficulty of classifying these types of attacks.

Funded by the National Institute of Justice, The Violence Project has one of the best and most comprehensive databases for analyzing mass shootings and their cutting-edge research is presented in our documentary as the leading standard.  A snapshot of their findings and statistics are presented below.  Their definition of mass shooting is the one created by the Congressional Research Service which is used by researchers and the FBI:

“a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms—not including the offender(s)—within one event, and at least some of the murders occurred in a public location or locations in close geographical proximity (e.g., a workplace, school, restaurant, or other public settings), and the murders are not attributable to any other underlying criminal activity or commonplace circumstance"


Over 80% of mass shooters were in a noticeable crisis prior to their shooting



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