Thirty Six Percent of Mass Shooters Were Trained by the U.S. Military, but the Media Never Report It


Jack Gilroy | CovertAction Magazine - TRANSCEND Media Service

Media pundits and politicians blame lax gun laws, social isolation and mental illness for mass shootings, but ignore the advent of a fascist culture that venerates the U.S. military.


30 Aug 2022 – In the wake of a barrage of mass shootings, the media have offered a variety of explanations centering predominantly on the social isolation and mental illness of shooters and their easy access to military-style weaponry due to lax gun regulations.

These factors are significant but almost all media pundits avoid the gorilla sitting in the psyche of the American mind—that of the huge military budget and culture of military veneration, which is reminiscent of fascist cultures.

In a July 8 column entitled “Why Shooters Do the Evil They Do,” New York Times columnist David Brooks characteristically cites mental illness, loneliness and the need for recognition and power as lying at the root of recent mass shootings.

Portrait of David Brooks
David Brooks [Source:]

What is missing is any discussion of American-style militarism, something Brooks has whitewashed throughout his writing career.

According to David Swanson, Director of World Beyond War, 36% of mass shooters have been trained by the U.S. military—when only one percent of Americans serve in the military.


Many of the mass shooters also have used military-style weapons and have worn military-style clothing.

Teenager enters supermarket in Military uniform, kills over 10 in mass shooting
Buffalo mass shooter Payton Gendron dressed in military fatigues being arrested. [Source:]

Jillian Peterson and James Densley recently published a detailed study of mass shooters sponsored by the the National Institute of Justice entitled The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic, which has been widely cited by the media.

The book casts light on many dark corners of American life but characteristically ignores among the darkest—the military-industrial complex.

The Violence Project - How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic - Our Book

Peterson and Densley found that, of 172 mass shooters, only four were women. Most bought guns legally, had previous issues with violence or mental illness and experienced feelings of hopelessness. The authors also noted that many of the shooters were under 25 years old and that their prefrontal cortex, or brain, had not fully developed.

About Us - Mass Violence Research Think Tank | The Violence Project
Jillian Peterson (left) and James Densley’s well-funded study ignores the obvious. [Source:]

The authors fail to consider, however, how a 20-year war waged by their own country might have had a negative influence on the behavior of some of the mass shooters, or how some may have been broken by their time serving in Afghanistan or Iraq—which we know to be the case.

Esteban Santiago is taken from the Broward County main jail for transport to the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Jan. 9, 2017.
Floridian Esteban Santiago is one of many mass shooters who is a military veteran. Media reports said that the Iraq War veteran had returned from his 2011 combat tour a “changed man.” [Source:]

Kids in the U.S. are taught in school to honor their country each morning as they recite the pledge of allegiance and to venerate veterans on Memorial Day and other holidays. Might the stories of their national military killing people around the planet have some influence on young people already suffering from an increased exposure to violence on television and in the movies?

A U.S. soldier showing his nine-year-old son how to fire M249 light machine gun. [Source:]

The year 2019 was deadly for young shooters. The same year, not coincidentally, saw President Donald Trump pardon and lionize Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher, who murdered an Iraqi teen and was known as a psychopath among his platoon mates.

U.S. Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher charged with war crimes in Iraq reunited with his wife | Daily Mail Online
(Left) Eddie Gallagher with his wife, Andrea; (Right) Gallagher as a sniper in Mosul, Iraq, where he was accused of war crimes; (Center) Donald Trump, one of Gallagher’s admirers. [Source:]

In 2015, Pope Francis addressed a Joint Session of Congress charging the arms industry with having blood on its hands. Many applauded him, but since that time, the U.S. military budget has increased over $116,000,000,000 as violence at home has only increased.

PHOTO:Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 24, 2015, in Washington.
Pope Francis speaks before Joint Session of Congress; members, however, failed to heed his message. [Source:]

In his famous speech against the Vietnam War—given one year before his assassination on April 4, 1968—Martin Luther King, Jr., called the U.S. the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” Why then should it be any surprise that the target of violence should increasingly be Americans?



Jack Gilroy  is an anti-drone activist. His plays and novels focus on young men and women who resist war. You can read more at Jack can be reached at


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