Eric Madfis

Eric Madfis
University of Washington Tacoma | UW Tacoma · Criminal Justice

Ph.D.

About

40
Publications
45,524
Reads
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635
Citations
Citations since 2016
23 Research Items
538 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022020406080100
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100
Additional affiliations
September 2012 - present
University of Washington Tacoma
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (40)
Article
The definitions and terms used to describe single-incident mass casualty events vary widely and remain contested. To allow for the inclusion of more incidents, larger and more representative samples, and more comprehensive analyses, we argue in favor of using the broad term “rampage” and propose a new model, the Rampage Violence Status Model (RVSM)...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we guide readers through a narrative tour of the Cesare Lombroso Museum of Criminal Anthropology (Museo di Antropologia Criminale Cesare Lombroso) in Turin, Italy. We describe and analyze the museum’s displays, pointing to the rhetorical devices and narrative strategies employed to “whitewash” Lombroso’s historical legacy and the d...
Article
Full-text available
The concept of moral panic has been used to describe how society reacts to different threats, either real or perceived. Although most studies in this area rely on qualitative, historical data, recent efforts have employed quantitative applications of an attributional model to understand attitudes consistent with different characteristics of moral p...
Article
A dramatic transformation of school safety practices in American public schools has occurred during the last four decades. Scholars have argued that exaggerated fears and moral panics over youth violence, changing perceptions and responses to various risks in schools and society, and broader neoliberal political agendas expanded the criminalization...
Article
This study analyzes the life histories and subcultural trajectories of people who have at one time but no longer identify as racist skinheads. We find that, on the one hand, people are far more malleable with their subcultural identities than is commonly understood by law enforcement and researchers concerned with criminal desistance, and on the ot...
Chapter
This chapter addresses the extent to which school and police officials express confidence in their use of risk assessment by exploring how they interpret the magnitude of all forms of evidence when deciphering whether or not homicidal plots would actually be carried out. Findings reveal that the threat assessment criteria provide officials with the...
Chapter
The notion of averted rampage is problematized and distinctions between the concepts of threat, risk, and plot are clarified. Additionally, this chapter illustrates how school and police officials engage in violence risk assessment by examining the forms of evidence present when claims are made that a school rampage threat has been averted. Finding...
Chapter
This concluding chapter presents a discussion of the findings as a whole along with the policy and theoretical implications that may be drawn from them. It also discusses emergent areas that may help prevent school rampage killing and suggests avenues for future research.
Chapter
This chapter covers the manner in which student threats of rampage violence come to the attention of parents, police, and school authorities in order to be averted and considers the extent to which students have broken through a code of silence which discourages them from informing on their peers. In addition, as many contemporary school violence p...
Chapter
This chapter serves as a methodological appendix and addresses the research design and methodology of the project. In addition, more detailed demographic information about the eleven schools under investigation in this research is provided and the benefits and potential limitations of the study’s methods are discussed.
Article
Most research on severe targeted school violence (STSV) - defined as planned offenses committed by former or current students intending to kill one or more persons associated with their school - is related to risk factor approaches or theoretically informed models and thus lacks an empirical explanation of underlying mechanisms and the dynamic of c...
Book
This book tackles the important question of how we can understand and learn from the school rampage killings that have been prevented. In the flood of recent accounts and analyses of deadly school rampage killings that plague society and inspire widespread public fear, very little attention has been given to the incidents that almost were. Building...
Article
This study examined the 15 deadliest public mass shootings in the United States from March 1998 to February 2018 to assess (a) leakage of violent thoughts/intent, (b) leakage of specific interest in mass killing, (c) concerning behaviors reported to law enforcement, (d) concerning interest in homicide reported to law enforcement, and (e) firearms a...
Article
Full-text available
Researchers have extensively studied the tendency of certain violent criminals to hurt or torture animals, primarily focusing on domestic abusers and serial killers. However, little is known about the extent or nature of prior animal abuse among active shooters and public mass shooters. Public mass and active shooters essentially represent a single...
Article
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Utilizing data from news media accounts, this study investigates 11 incidents of averted school rampage threats that involved female perpetrators as conspirators or co-conspirators in plots to attack their schools. While the vast majority of both attempted and completed school rampage attacks have been committed by boys and men, there are in fact c...
Article
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In recent years, major media organizations have wondered if their coverage of mass shooters actually increases the risk of future attacks, and have asked how their reporting could be improved. In response, 149 experts have called for media to stop publishing the names and photos of mass killers (except during ongoing searches for escaped suspects),...
Article
This special issue includes: "Media Coverage of Mass Killers: Content, Consequences, and Solutions" by Adam Lankford and Eric Madfis; "Visually Reporting Mass Shootings: U.S. Newspaper Photographic Coverage of Three Mass School Shootings" by Nicole Smith Dahmen; "Covering Mass Murder: An Experimental Examination of the Effect of News Focus -- Kill...
Chapter
We introduce readers to the social problem of rampage school shootings and discuss the associated patterns, causes, and best practices for their prevention. While media coverage might suggest otherwise, rampage shootings at schools are extremely rare, even if they often yield much carnage and anxiety. At the individual level, some have focused on t...
Article
Full-text available
Prior research has shown that many mass shooters have explicitly admitted they want fame and have directly reached out to media organizations to get it. These fame-seeking offenders are particularly dangerous because they kill and wound significantly more victims than other active shooters, they often compete for attention by attempting to maximize...
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This article discusses Joel Best's (19996. Best, J. (1999). Random violence: How we talk about new crimes and new victims. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.View all references) notion of random violence and applies his concepts of pointlessness, patternlessness, and deterioration to the reality about multiple-victim school shootings gle...
Article
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In recent decades, highly-publicized school rampage attacks with multiple victims have caused widespread fear throughout the United States. Pulling from in-depth interviews with school officials (administrators, counselors, security and police officers, and teachers), this article discusses officials’ perceptions of fear and risk regarding rampage...
Article
Full-text available
Pulling from in-depth interviews with school administrators, counselors, security and police officers, and teachers directly involved in thwarting rampage attacks at 11 Northeastern schools, this study considers the extent to which students have broken through a ‘‘code of silence,’’ discouraging them from informing on their peers. While findings su...
Book
By examining averted school rampage incidents, this work addresses problematic gaps in school violence scholarship and advances existing knowledge about mass murder, violence prevention, bystander intervention, threat assessment, and disciplinary policy in school contexts.
Article
Full-text available
In the Unites States, middle-class Caucasian heterosexual males in their teenage years and in middle age commit mass murder, the killing of at least three victims during a single episode at one or more closely related locations, in numbers disproportionately high relative to their share of the population. Utilizing an intersectional theoretical app...
Article
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Although animal cruelty is often described as a warning sign of future human violence, particularly in the prediction of multiple homicides, prior studies reveal mixed support for this notion and lack conceptual clarity in the measurement of such cruelty. This study investigates the quantity and quality of cruelty present in a sample of 23 perpetra...
Article
Full-text available
Chapter
Through in-depth interviews with school and police officials (administrators, counselors, security and police officers, and teachers) as well as content analysis of news reporting and legal documentation covering 11 averted incidents of school rampage in the Northeastern United States, this study has explored perceptions of and reactions to threats...
Chapter
This study utilized multiple strategies in the research design. The first stage of research entailed searching the LexisNexis newspaper database as well as the internet and various academic and governmental publications in order to gather the population of publically reported school rampage plots that occurred in American public schools from 2000 t...
Chapter
The study of averted rampage has vital practical significance. By learning from the numerous instances where school rampage threats came to the attention of authorities and thus were thwarted, there exists potential for future policies and interventions to be modeled on prior successes. In addition, empirical knowledge about how school rampage inci...
Chapter
In the study of averted incidents of school rampage, one of the most pertinent questions that must be addressed is whether or not the accused students actually intended to carry out their homicidal plans. No one but the perpetrators themselves can possess complete certainly about this vital question, though various forms of risk and threat assessme...
Chapter
In the wake of numerous highly publicized multiple-victim shooting sprees which occurred at the close of the 20th century in mostly rural and suburban American public schools, academics, politicians, and media figures weighed in on what should be done to prevent similar events from occurring in the future. One such commentator, Kay Hymowitz, a fell...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous scholars have argued that we are currently in a post “tattoo renaissance” era wherein the practice has increasingly become a legitimate art form accepted by the American middle class. In order to facilitate this cultural transition, tattooed people legitimize their own tattoos through various narratives that ascribe deep semantic meaning t...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter is an international extension of previous work, in which the authors developed a sequential explanatory model of the factors implicated in American school rampages (cases in which three or more people are killed or injured by current or former students of the targeted school or college) and identified the following cumulative stages: c...
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Full-text available
In the search for the etiology of transgression, one theoretical venture is prized above all others: a general theory of crime. However, the term itself is inconsistently defined and its feasibility rarely questioned. This paper forms an explicit definition of general theory as that which purports to explain one or more of the following: (1) all ty...
Article
Full-text available
To explain the genesis of mass murder committed by students at their schools, the authors propose a five-stage sequential model in which several criminological theories (strain theory, control theory, and routine activities theory) are brought to bear collectively to demonstrate their cumulative effect. These stages are as follows: chronic strain,...

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