Media coverage following the school shooting at a Florida high school earlier this month appears to imply that these types of massacres are pervasive. As one New York Times headline put it, “A ‘Mass Shooting Generation’ Cries Out for Change.”
“This is life for the children of the mass shooting generation,” the Times wrote. “They were born into a world reshaped by the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado that killed 13 people, and grew up practicing active shooter drills and huddling through lockdowns. They talked about threats and safety steps with their parents and teachers. With friends, they wondered whether it could happen at their own school, and who might do it.”
But according to a recent report from News@Northeastern University, which spoke with James Alan Fox, a Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern, and doctoral student Emma Fridel, the perception that school shootings are simply a part of daily American life is misleading (take, for example, the widely-shared statistic that there had already been 18 school shootings in 2018, a figure that was then just as widely debunked).
Fox is a leading American criminologist who often works as a contributor for news outlets and offers pointed criticism of heavy-handed policies like immigration crackdown, cannabis prohibition, and private prisons.
Fox and Fridel’s research, which will be published later this year, found that “on average, mass murders occur between 20 and 30 times per year, and about one of those incidents on average takes place at a school,” Northeastern reported. (Mass murder is defined as four or more individuals killed in a 24-hour period, excluding the shooter.)
They compiled data…