Valdai Paper #61: Canaries in a Coal Mine. Why the United States is Experiencing an Epidemic of Indiscriminate Mass Murder


In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.

Events in the United States associated with the murder of policemen by black men are considered by the author as manifestations of terrorism. The main feature of them is that such violence is deliberately indiscriminate, chaotic. The target is not a specific person or specific people, but anyone who belongs to the relative group of people (or even to the whole society).

The epidemic of  Indiscriminate mass murder (IMM) is an external reflection of a number of negative long-term trends in the American society. He reveals the causes of the IMM epidemic, what was the turning point in their growth, why mass killings  by means of firearms became so  frequent.

The author concludes that IMMs still are isolated cases that do not lead to the collapse of the state or to the beginning of the civil war. However, we need to worry because they are signs or indicators of an extremely disturbing negative trends inside the US society.

About the author:

Peter Turchin Ph.D, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, USA

Download Valdai Paper #61 in English (PDF)

Download Valdai Paper #61 in Russian (PDF)

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