There are hun­dreds of thou­sands of stu­dents who fit the pro­file of the school shooter and wouldn’t hurt any­body,” said Jack Levin, a North­eastern Uni­ver­sity soci­ol­o­gist and crim­i­nol­o­gist who studies mass murder.

One reason the descrip­tion is so broad is that school shoot­ings are rare. More Amer­i­cans are struck by light­ning each year than killed in ram­page shootings.

The number of mass mur­ders — defined by the FBI as having at least four vic­tims — has been stable over the last three decades at about 20 attacks and 100 to 150 vic­tims a year, Levin said. The wide­spread per­cep­tion of a rise comes from the media atten­tion the killings receive, he said.

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