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gun violence

AP Photo/Jessica Hill/The Conversation

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.

In the United States, where some significant portion of the public believes that the government is out to take their guns, the idea that a mass shooting was orchestrated by the government in an attempt to make guns look bad may be appealing both psychologically and ideologically.

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