“Yet another mass shooting,” lamented President Obama on Monday before giving a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis. Meanwhile, the cable news channels featured wall-to-wall coverage of the D.C. Navy Yard massacre, complete with eyewitness interviews and telestrator-aided analysis of how the events had unfolded.
Commentator after commentator pondered the reasons why mass shootings were becoming an all-too-frequent horror of American society and asked what could have prevented the senseless loss of 13 lives, including the gunman. Angry and frustrated citizens are left questioning the backbone of lawmakers at the state and federal levels in failing to stand up to the NRA’s political muscle.
Whatever the political response, it is important to dispel the widely held notion that mass shootings are on the rise. 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. Of course, most were not of the large-scale public slaughter variety that grabs the attention of the news media and has millions of Americans glued to their television sets.