The mass slaugh­ters listed in the report caused the deaths of 547 people. Over the same three decades through 2012, that’s less than a tenth of 1 per­cent of the 559,347 people the Fed­eral Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion esti­mates were mur­dered in America.

It is a very, very small per­centage,” said James Alan Fox, who teaches crim­i­nology at Boston’s North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and co-​​authored a book about mass shoot­ings called “Extreme Killing,” pub­lished in 2011.

In the wake of shoot­ings such as the one in Wash­ington that claimed at least 13 lives, including the alleged shooter, “our ten­dancy is to go over­board and over­reach in terms of trying to increase levels of secu­rity,” Fox said. “The fear is greater than the risk.”

No ‘Epi­demic’

In his research, Fox uses a broader def­i­n­i­tion of mass killing than the research ser­vice report — he looks at any homi­cide resulting in four or more deaths, regard­less of motive, which includes killings in domestic dis­putes and rob­beries gone bad. He reports no increase in mass killings in recent years.

This is not an epi­demic,” he said.

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