Another mass shooting. Another mass shooting at Fort Hood in Killeen, Tex. An unstable Iraq veteran killed three people and wounded 16 before killing himself. Does the madness never cease? Why does it seem to be occurring more frequently? Four blunt points:
1. It’s not occurring more frequently. “Over the past 30 years, there has been an average of nearly 20 mass shootings a year in the U.S., each involving at least four victims killed, but with no upward or downward trajectory.” That’s according to James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law, and public policy at Northeastern University and author of Extreme Killing. The statistics are no consolation to grieving relatives or traumatized neighbors, nor are they reason to ignore the carnage at Fort Hood, the same Army base where a deranged officer ranting about jihad killed 13 people in 2009. Context, however, is important for thinking clearly about our mass shooting problem.