A Notable Year of the Wrong Kind

The year that’s about to end has distinguished itself in at least one way we’d prefer never to see again. By my reckoning, 2013 saw more new mass killings than any year since the early 1990s.

When I say “mass killing,” I mean any episode in which the deliberate actions of state agents or other organizations kill at least 1,000 noncombatant civilians from a discrete group. Mass killings are often but certainly not always perpetrated by states, and the groups they target may be identified in various ways, from their politics to their ethnicity, language, or religion. Thanks to my colleague Ben Valentino, we have a fairly reliable tally of episodes of state-led mass killing around the world since the mid-1940s. Unfortunately, there is no comparable reckoning of mass killings carried out by non-state actors—nearly always rebel groups of some kind—so we can’t make statements about counts and trends as confidently as I would like. Still, we do the best we can with the information we have.

With those definitions and caveats in mind, I would say that in 2013 mass killings began:

Of course, even as these new cases have developed, episodes of mass killings have continued in a number of other places:

In a follow-up post I hope to write soon, I’ll offer some ideas on why 2013 was such a bad year for deliberate mass violence against civilians. In the meantime, if you think I’ve misrepresented any of these cases here or overlooked any others, please use the Comments to set me straight.

Leave a comment

8 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Pathfinder.

    Reply
  1. Saturday Morning Reading #3 | A Pett Project
  2. Weekly Links | Political Violence @ a Glance
  3. Relative Risks of State-Led Mass Killing Onset in 2014: Results from a Wiki Survey | Dart-Throwing Chimp
  4. I’m Not That Great a Forecaster: Looking back on my past predictions and learning how to improve | The Widening Lens
  5. Why More Mass Killings in 2013, and What It Portends for This Year | Dart-Throwing Chimp
  6. Open Post And Link Farm: The Greatest Of All Imaginable Home Alone Posters Edition | Alas, a Blog
  7. What the U.S. Intelligence Community Says About Mass Atrocities in 2014 | Dart-Throwing Chimp

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,743 other followers

%d bloggers like this: