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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Massacre has a number of meanings, but it most commonly refers to individual events of deliberate and direct mass killing, especially of noncombatant civilians or those without any reasonable means of defense; these would often qualify as war crimes or atrocities. Massacres in this sense do not typically apply to combatants except figuratively; the deliberate mass killing of prisoners of war, however, is often considered a massacre.

At the same time, the term "massacre" is used more widely to refer to individual, civil, or military mass killings on smaller scales, but having distinct political significance in shaping subsequent events, such as the Boston Massacre. Individual or small group acts of murder may also be described as massacres, as in the case of some school shootings.

In Guatemala, where massacres of Maya Indians have been common, the human rights commission agreed on a specific definition: "A massacre shall be considered the execution of five or more people, in the same place, as part of the same operation and whose victims were in an indefensible state." [1] In Colombia, the term is applied to the murder of half a dozen or more at one time.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Massacre" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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