This year, with the pandemic fading, the country has already had three such deadly incidents. The most recent occurred in Boulder, Colo., on Monday night, where a gunman killed 10 people, including a police officer. More people have been killed in mass shootings so far this year than were killed in any year from 1966 (when The Post data begin) through 1981. That’s another part of the recent trend: The mass shooting incidents the country has seen in recent years have been far deadlier, in part as a function of the weapons being used.
It’s important to maintain perspective. Mass shootings are the cause of only a small percentage of deaths in the United States and only a small percentage of gun deaths, most of which are suicides. No other country sees such incidents at the same rate as the United States, and the shootings play a disproportionate role in our culture both because of the fear they invoke and the complicated systems we’ve developed to prepare for them. In many states, toddlers go through some form of training to deal with the possibility of an active shooter.
Even as we recognize the pervasiveness of shootings in our culture, we’ve grown so accustomed to them by now that the incidents tend to get a bit blurry. The chart above shows the relative regularity with which such incidents occur, but it’s still hard to grasp the frequency at which they’ve occurred and the toll they’ve incurred.
So let’s conduct an experiment. If you had to guess, how many mass shootings would you estimate have occurred in your lifetime?
Have your guess? Now see how close you were to the actual number.
When were you born? ,
This information is not stored or transmitted anywhere.
The phenomenon is pervasive both geographically and across time. The numbing familiarity of these events contributes to the sense that they are inevitable — and that sense alone affects the political debate over mass shootings.