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01-20-2000

A Nation In The Line Of Fire: Criminologist To Discuss "Mass Shootings In America"

[A photograph of James Fox for newspaper use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/jamesfox.jpg]

They happen in places as small as Jonesboro, Arkansas; Pearl, Mississippi; West Paducah, Kentucky; Springfield, Oregon; Littleton, Colorado; and Conyers, Georgia -- and in big cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Seattle and Fort Worth. James A. Fox

Mass shootings in this country have grabbed headlines, airtime and magazine covers by the sheer horror of such acts, most committed by individuals seeking payback for perceived wrongs.  Workers who get fired come firing back.  Bullied students open fire on classmates and teachers. And each time, we ask ourselves one simple question: Why?

Criminologist James Fox will discuss the hows and whys of such acts in “Rampage: Mass Shootings in America” on Thursday, January 27, at 7 p.m. in the Cheel Commons of Clarkson University’s Cheel Campus Center.  The presentation is part of the 1999-2000 Convocation Series.

Fox, dean of the College of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in Boston, says such shootings aren’t spontaneous or random, but planned in a selective and methodical fashion, waiting patiently for the most effective time to attack.  They may seek to commit suicide, but first they intend to get even with those responsible for their miseries: women, minorities, immigrants, classmates, supervisors and family members. 

In “Rampage,” Fox suggests a profile of the rampaging avenger and offers a picture of social changes responsible for the growing number of mass shootings in our society, and offers suggestions for reducing such incidents.

Besides his academic duties at Northeastern, Fox has published 13 books, including Mass Murder, Overkill and Killer on Campus.  He has also published over 100 journal and magazine articles and newspaper columns on the issues of multiple murder, juvenile crime, workplace violence and capital punishment.

As an authority on homicide, Fox has appeared regularly on TV and radio programs all over the country, including “Dateline NBC,” “20/20,” “48 Hours” and “Oprah.”  Frequently interviewed by the national press, he was the subject of a two-part USA Today cover story titled “The Dean of Death,” as well as an article in Scientific American.

Fox often gives lectures and expert testimony, including nine appearances before Congress, White House meetings with President and Mrs. Clinton and Vice President Gore on youth violence, private briefings to Attorney General Janet Reno on trends in violence, and a presentation for Princess Anne of Great Britain.  He is also the subject of a forthcoming TV movie about a college dean who moonlights as a serial murder investigator.

PHOTO CAPTION: James A. Fox, dean of the College of Criminal Justice, Northeastern University.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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