The Corner


School Shootings Aren’t Becoming More Common

Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. February 19, 2018. (Mike Stocker/Pool/Reuters)

So say James Alan Fox and Emma Fridel of Northeastern University, through a news article about their research with lots of good data. Since 1996 there have been only eight shootings at schools “involving 4 or more deaths, excluding the assailant.” Only one out of every 20 to 30 mass murders takes place at a school.

It’s often said that mass shootings are just a small part of gun violence in this country. That’s true — and school shootings are just a small share of mass shootings as well. More broadly, like most types of crime, fatal violence in schools is down significantly from its peak in the early 1990s.

Of course, the tricky thing about analyzing mass shootings is how to cut the data. There is evidence that public mass shootings in general are becoming more frequent and more deadly. But in confronting this phenomenon, we should not limit our focus to schools.

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