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Friday, July 1, 2016

Gun Shooting Incidents in the United States


It is a horrible truth, but school shootings have become routine in the United States. In fact, a very alarming development has been picked up by the Everytown for Gun Safety advocacy group.

Believe it or not, a gun has been fired in a school grounds somewhere in America at a ridiculous rate of almost once every week. Starting from December 14, 2012 when 20 schoolchildren and six adults were shot dead in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a total of 186 campus shootings have been reported, close to filling out an incident for every week from then until this week.

Everytown for Gun Safety has compiled a record of these incidents in their website, wherein they classified all such events as school shooting if a firearm was discharged within a school building or on campus grounds, as related in news accounts that are the group’s sources. Their classification thus included shootings that did not target other people such as suicides or accidental discharges. They have collated these reports on an interactive graphic map on their site’s front page, which plots all shooting incidents on dots all over the Continental US, selectable according to year of occurrence. Each dot when clicked names the location, the school involved and its level (elementary, high school or college / university), a generalized description of the incident (accidental fire with no injury or with injury / death, deliberate attack on others) and a brief summary of the events. Also accessible elsewhere on the

Everytown site are a list of the group’s resources and articles on issues regarding school violence and gun safety. Everytown for Gun Safety has also shared their findings with the LA Times, with them creating their own graphic map. Their version has color-coded dots designating actual deaths (red), injuries (gold), and other events like misfires and suicides (blue). Details on each dot are sparser than in the

Everytown map, merely a date, name, school, and a generalized checklist of details ticked off (gun fired, deaths, suicide attempt, etc.). It was also made clear here that the list of incidents does not include events where guns were found in school but not fired, or guns fired elsewhere off campus after being brought in and out of school.

According to the trend in the maps, from 2013 to 2016 the lion’s share of school shooting incidents has been in the eastern half of the US. On the West Coast for instance, only California has the most shootings with Washington State a close second (and most incidents in close proximity). Other shooting hotspots are the states of Texas, North Carolina and Florida. Remarkably, no significant school shootings have been reported in Alaska or Hawaii, although in an increasingly cynical world view, the question doesn’t seem to be if these two states could keep their record clean, but when they too shall join list of the bloodied.

The Times map can be viewed at http://graphics.latimes.com/school-shootings- since-newtown/, while the original Everytown for Gun Control map is on their website at http://everytownresearch.org/school-shootings/.

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