Stephanie Kelley-Romano


Why mass shootings spawn conspiracy theories

Mass shootings and conspiracy theories have a long history.

AP Photo/Jessica Hill/The Conversation

Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

While conspiracy theories are not limited to any topic, there is one type of event that seems particularly likely to spark them: mass shootings, typically defined as attacks in which a shooter kills at least four other people.

When one person kills many others in a single incident, particularly when it seems random, people naturally seek out answers for why the tragedy happened. After all, if a mass shooting is random, anyone can be a target.

Pointing to some nefarious plan by a powerful group – such as the government – can be more comforting than the idea that the attack was the result of a disturbed or mentally ill individual who obtained a firearm legally.

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