Mass murder referred to the Criminal Law of the murder of a large number of people in a short time at one or a few contiguous locations. It is differentiated from serial murder , which is characterized by many acts over a long period of time. Mass murders are very rare; well under one percent of all murders are mass murders. The German police crime statistics do not show them separately as a crime category because of their low occurrence.
Outside of criminology, the term is used in political science and also colloquially for events in which a very large number of people were deliberately killed, especially politically motivated mass killings by state violence or terrorist attacks .
Definition and forms
The limit of the number of victims, through which an act becomes mass murder, is given in the literature as four, more rarely also as three.
Mass murder comes in different forms. The criminological literature attempts a classification according to motives and triggers. There are different approaches. A distinction is often made between four basic types:
- The disgruntled employee kills in a place that is associated with disregard and anger for him. The victims are often superiors and colleagues.
- Family tragedies arise when an almost always male family member who feels responsible for the other members of the family loses control of their life and believes that there is no way out for the entire family. These perpetrators kill out of “a shifted understanding of love and responsibility - the desire to protect loved ones from misery and need”. Triggers can be family breakup or financial worries. This group of cases is often associated with an extended suicide . A comparable trigger is also present if the perpetrator feels rejected by a desired partner and kills him and others in his environment.
- Mass murder related to another crime occurs when a hostage-taking , robbery, or other act escalates.
- Terrorism is the use of force (here murder) for political purposes.
As further classifications, followers of sects or other groups have been suggested who commit mass murder on the instructions of their spiritual leader.
By type of offense was committed the shredder was between the type (Annihilator) distinction of his family or kill in the workplace victims from a special close relationship and in the case of the Family Annihilators corresponds to the case of family tragedy above, the pseudo-command , the heavily armed goes out and often kills out of the movement and indiscriminately as well as the systematic approach of a bomber or arsonist who commits his deed in such a way that he hopes to be able to leave the crime scene undetected. Any of these types of crime can take the form of a rampage .
Mass murders are most common in the family environment.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the 2002 attack on Bali , which can be assigned to the field of terrorism, resulted in high numbers of victims . Further high numbers of victims arise from crimes committed by arson.
Use outside of criminology
Outside of criminology, politically motivated mass killings were regularly referred to as mass murder, such as the Great Terror under Stalin , or the massacre of around half a million communists in Indonesia from 1965 to 1966.
Individual acts of murder during genocide were also often referred to as mass murder. With regard to the Holocaust and Porajmos in its entirety and dimensions, the term mass extermination was coined, and historians used the same name for the industrialized Nazi killing sites, later extermination camps .
- Homicide: Mass Murder and Serial Killings In: Richard Alan Wright, J. Mitchell Miller (Eds.): Encyclopedia of criminology . Routledge, 2005, ISBN 9781579584665 , pp. 687 ff.
- Hans Joachim Schneider: Introduction to Criminology . Walter de Gruyter, 1993, ISBN 3110097567 , pp. 94-97.
- Clifton D. Bryant (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Criminology and Deviant Behavior - Historical, conceptual, and theoretical issues . Brunner-Routledge, 2000, ISBN 1-56032-772-3 , p. 271 ff.
- Elizabeth Yardley, David Wilson, Adam Lynes: A Taxonomy of Male British Family Annihilators, 1980–2012 . In: The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice , 2013 doi: 10.1111 / hojo.12033 .
- James Alan Fox, Jack Levin: Extreme killing: understanding serial and mass murder . Sage Publishing 2005, ISBN 0-7619-8856-4 , p. 23.
- Park Elliott Dietz: Mass, serial and sensational homicides. In: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. Volume 62, Number 5, June 1986, pp. 477-491, PMID 3461857 , PMC 1629267 (free full text).
- Federal Court of Justice: Order of February 26, 1999 - 3 StR 613–98 = “Approval of Genocide of Jews” BGH, NJW 1999, 1561–1562 “Among other things, the mass murder of the Jewish population during the Third Reich in the Texts denied or approved. [...] The accused, through [...] the genocide committed by the mass extermination of citizens of the Jewish faith by the National Socialist tyranny, approved of genocide in a manner that was likely to disturb the public peace. "