It’s only nat­ural, faced with atroc­i­ties like those that took place in Aurora or Sandy Hook or Isla Vista, to sink into a “What the hell is wrong with the world?” atti­tude. And based on the con­ver­sa­tions that often follow these tragedies, it would be easy to think that life in the United States is as dan­gerous as ever, that the country is an increas­ingly vio­lent, brutal place. Luckily, the sta­tis­tics tell a dif­ferent story.

James Alan Fox, a crim­i­nol­o­gist at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and fre­quent com­men­tator on crim­inal jus­tice issues, has kept a close eye on the num­bers, tracking mass-​​shooting inci­dents with four or more fatal­i­ties between 1976 and 2012 — the most recent year for which FBI data are available.

Read the article at New York Magazine →