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Crime & Justice

22 weeks into the year, America has already seen at least 246 mass shootings

A person places flowers outside the scene of the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sunday.
Matt Rourke
/
AP
A person places flowers outside the scene of the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sunday.

Updated June 5, 2022 at 8:50 PM ET

On May 14, a racist attack at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket snatched the lives of 10 people and left three more injured. It was the deadliest mass shooting of the year in the United States for just over a week.

Ten days later, a gunman targeted a 4th grade class at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 21 and injuring 17. It was the deadliest school shooting in America since Sandy Hook.

Mass shootings happen in the U.S. with depressing regularity.

Among the at least 11 mass shootings over the first weekend in June, 14 people were shot near a nightclub in Chattanooga, Tenn., 14 people were shot in a busy entertainment district in Philadelphia, and eight were shot at a graduation party in Summerton, S.C.

It follows a shooting at a hospital in Tulsa, Okla., and a weekend of violence the previous week.

Sunday is day 156 of the year, and the country has already experienced at least 246 mass shootings so far. At least 246 in just over 22 weeks. This averages out to just over 11 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

Mass shootings, as is well known by now, are a common recurrence in the United States. We ended 2021 with 692 mass shootings, per the Gun Violence Archive. The year before saw 610. 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 in May.

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 AR-15-style 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.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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