The two attacks are not outliers. Mass shootings happen in the U.S. with depressing regularity.
Today is Day 145 of the year, and the country has already experienced 213 mass shootings so far. Two hundred and thirteen such attacks in 21 weeks. This averages out to about 10 a week.
The tally comes from the Gun Violence Archive, an independent data collection organization. The group defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are shot or killed, excluding the shooter. The full list of mass shootings in 2022 can be found here.
Such shootings are an American phenomenon
We ended 2021 with 693 mass shootings, per the Gun Violence Archive. The year before saw 611. And 2019 had 417.
The massacres don’t come out of nowhere, says Mark Follman, who has been researching mass shootings since 2012, when a gunman killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
“This is planned violence. There is, in every one of these cases, always a trail of … behavioral warning signs,” he told NPR earlier this month.
Follman, the author of a new book, Trigger Points, says the role of mental health is also widely misunderstood.
“The general public views mass shooters as people who are totally crazy, insane. It fits with the idea of snapping, as if these people are totally detached from reality.”
That’s not the case, he said. There’s “a very rational thought process” that goes into planning and carrying out mass shootings.
The suspect in the Uvalde attack is a high school student who bought at least two assault rifles shortly after his 18th birthday and shot his grandmother before going to the elementary school, officials said.
The suspect in the Buffalo attack left behind a racist screed, donned body armor, and livestreamed the attack.
Follow NPR’s live blog here for the latest updates on Uvalde.