(Received 29 July 1999; accepted 15 November 1999)
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We looked for variations in the timing of mass slayings/rampages (MS/R) committed in public places by solitary perpetrators. News reports on 440 MS/R from 1920 to 1996 yielded 379 onset times which were examined for temporal patterns. There was a dramatic increase in the number of MS/R from 1966 to 1995. We observed a significant monthly variation with peaks in July–August and December, and a bimodal daily rhythm for MS/R onset with a major peak at 11:00 a.m. and a minor peak at 8:00 p.m. Observed time trends for MS/R could help develop protective programs to reduce stress and violence in public places.
Department of Medicine, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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