USA Today: Mass Stabbings are Rare Events.


Since 1901, there have only been 7 instances where 4 or more people were killed in a public mass stabbing incident.

USA Today provided some background on mass knife attacks in the United States.  Apparently there have been only 7 instances since 1901 where 4 or more people have been killed in a public stabbing spree.

“Mass stabbings are exceptionally rare,” Duwe (Criminologist-MN Dept of Corrections) said. “Guns, or explosives, are generally more effective at killing large numbers of victims.”

“Mass stabbings usually occur in the home, where the suspect uses a knife on unsuspecting family members, Duwe said. Public knife attacks, where victims can possibly outrun an assailant, are much less likely, he said.”

The last high-profile mass stabbing in the USA was the 1989 case of Ramon Salcido, a vineyard worker in California who killed seven people, including his wife and two small daughters, before fleeing to Mexico, Duwe said. He was later convicted of the murders.

“Only a handful of stabbings have been reported in other countries. On Dec. 14 – the same day as the Newtown, Conn., school shooting – a knife-wielding man attacked students at an elementary school in central China, wounding 22 children and one adult.”

Obviously the author is not including the mass slaughter of thousands worldwide with machetes.  But I digress…

It will be interesting to learn what weapon was used.  I have read an unconfirmed report that it was an Exacto-type knife.  Hardly a tactical tool, and it would explain the lack of fatalities.

“Unlike recent high-profile attacks where guns were used, Tuesday’s incident likely won’t lead to national debates on knife safety or tighter regulations on their sales, said James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston.

“Knives just don’t create that same sense of fear,” he said.”

The fact is, knives should not create any sense of fear.  Mentally disturbed individuals are a different story.


  1. Aharon says:

    I suspect that there have been more cases of mass attacks with knives in America. I’m not suggesting 14 people getting attacked in one-related incident yet only 7 cases since 1901? About 30 years ago, a man went nuts in the Philippines and slashed at least a dozen people. That is just the tip of the attacks around the world with edged weapons. The vast majority of attacks never get reported or known by the western media. As referred to above, machetes have slaughtered hundreds of thousands in Africa in one incident alone. Who knows what goes on in the remote parts of South America?

  2. travis m. says:

    A friend told me about an axe murderer in China, and mentioned that there are apparently there are a lot of killings there that go unreported to outside media. Of course, I suppose it’s technically not a stabbing, more of a hacking… I think knife attacks are mostly slashings.

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USA Today: Mass Stabbings are Rare Events.

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