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The phenomenon of massacre appears as a blight on the history of mankind, and history is replete with numerous examples. Despite their apparent barbaric nature, however, massacres have probably been more common in the contemporary world. A concept of massacres is often evaluative based principally on public perception. Newspaper headlines detailing the gore of My Lai and Sabra-Shatilla captivated and titillated readers throughout the world. Reported, but not documented, examples of "mass murder" in Cambodia, Uganda and Afghanistan also attested to its prevalence. What combination of factors - sociological, psychological, political, or economic - produce this extreme form of group behavior? What are the underlying causes of massacres? Do they follow a common pattern or is each unique? Providing answers to these questions will be the purpose of this paper.



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