Active Killer Definition

With so many definitions regarding the term active shooter, mass shooter, mass murder, what is the appropriate description and use?

Surely we have all heard those terms used in some way. It's safe to say there is a significant amount of confusion surrounding the terminology and when to use a designated term. To help you understand why we have multiple definitions, We must first examine the reasoning behind the terms. When recording criminal data, specific measures must be met to classify the associated criminal activity as it relates to statistical information recorded in a host of state and federal databases.

A mass shooting can be defined as one in which four or more people selected indiscriminately, not including the perpetrator, are killed. Mass murder is defined as at least 3 or more killed. The accepted definition by federal law enforcement for "active shooter" is: “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms.” The media likes to use these terms as power statements in headlines.

According to the Oxford dictionaries, active means, (a person) engaging or ready to engage in physically energetic pursuits. Oxford also defines "shooter" as, "a person who uses a gun either regularly or on a particular occasion." We know some of you are saying, "Well why then would you break down the definition in this manner if we already have a commonly accepted phrase by law enforcement? Let me start by saying, we have no issue with the federal definition of an active shooter per se instead think for a moment. When you hear the phrase "active shooter" we unconsciously create an image in our minds where a person is shooting others with a gun.

However, What about the person who uses a vehicle to run over victims? How about someone who uses bombs or a knife? Even further what if the person is stopped or fails to kill the threshold number of victims, but had every intention of carrying out their violent actions on a group of people. Can you see where we are going with this? When we talk about the tragedy at Columbine High School, we remember this event as a school shooting. In truth, it was a much more sinister plan and a great example of a failed bombing. The two killers intended on detonating propane explosives as part of their initial plan, and when that failed, they resorted to using firearms.

Simply stated, the term active shooter becomes overused and misleading and fails to account for people who use other weapons to harm others. Again, this is the professional opinion of our company, and we believe by defining the term in a newly established manner; we can address several issues that are evident in the term active shooter.

Now that we have addressed other definitions and why we believe those terms fail to account for many important factors, let's get into our definition. We painstakingly chose the term "active killer." For us, it was essential not to limit the killer's methods only to the use of firearms. So here we go,

Our definition is: "Any person or persons who are engrossed in killing or injuring as many people at one or more locations, regardless of weapon."

Let us pause for a moment because we know many of you are asking the question, Don't we define a killer as: "a person or thing that kills." (Oxford Dictionaries). If the person only injuries should we not use another term to cover both injury and death? Hear us out; we look at the action of the person carrying out the violent behavior. Can we reasonably expect the level of force could result in serious bodily harm or the death of another? If yes, then it falls within our definition. I recognize, In most cases, an active killer will choose a gun over any other weapon.

Again for us, it is crucial to view the definition in this way because the characteristics of an active killer not only have significant application criminally regarding targeted violence, but should be expanded into the national security realm when addressing threats such as terrorism, lone wolf attackers, and domestic terrorism.

Check out our latest video on the Characteristics of an Active Killer, can we really know? youtube