What Next

The Mass Shooter Database

Perpetrators of these horrific crimes have a lot in common—including deep despair.


Episode Notes

Why does someone become a mass shooter? Researchers are interviewing perpetrators and their victims—and those who narrowly averted committing a mass shooting—and discovering a common thread of psychological despair. Can their work be applied to the prevention of future violence?

Guest: Jillian Peterson, forensic psychologist, violence researcher, and author of The Violence Project

If you enjoy this show, please consider signing up for Slate Plus. Slate Plus members get benefits like zero ads on any Slate podcast, bonus episodes of shows like Slow Burn and Amicus—and you’ll be supporting the work we do here on What Next. Sign up now at slate.com/whatnextplus to help support our work.

Podcast production by Elena Schwartz and Madeline Ducharme, with help from Anna Phillips, Jared Downing, and Laura Spencer.


About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

All episodes


  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.