Is it Your Imagination or Are Mass Shootings Happening More Often?

Written by Annie-Rose Strasser

After a man opened fire at Los Angeles’s airport a few months ago, friends and coworkers undoubtedly turned to each other shaking their heads: Could this really be happening again, so soon? Are these things getting more frequent, or am I imagining it?

You’re not imagining it, according to a new study obtained by Yahoo! News on Thursday. The report, which is set for release in a Federal Bureau of Investigations bulletin next week, finds that mass shootings have indeed become more common. They have spiked from five a year between 2000 and 2008 to 16 a year from 2009 to 2012.

The report also sheds some light on who is committing mass shootings, and how: 94 percent of gunmen are men, though they range significantly in age. Forty percent of mass shootings happen at businesses, while 29 percent take place at schools. Fifty-nine percent of the time, the gunmen use handguns, and 26 percent of the time rifles.

They claim, on average, two lives.

“Mass shootings” are defined by the authors of the report, who are from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at Texas State University, as incidents where a gunman opens fire in a public place with the motivation of killing many, at least one of whom is “unrelated” to the gunman. This means the data does not include gang violence or crimes where shooting is a byproduct.

This report is actually a follow-up to a study released in 2010, which found 84 active shooter events happened between 2000 and 2010 and predicted an increase. Adding in 2011, 2012 and as much of 2013 as possible, the number rose to 110. And one interesting statistic jumps out: The number of active shooters wearing body armor rose from 4 percent to 7 percent. Report author Terry Nichols warned, however, that while they are certain about the total number of shooting incidents, they are still working to figure out some of the details of each case as court documents become public.

As the FBI takes stock in its approach to dealing with mass shootings post-Newtown — something it has been instructed to do by Vice President Joe Biden — it is changing protocol for how to respond to the growing number of active shooter situations. Previously, police officers were instructed to wait for a SWAT team before apprehending active shooters. Now, the FBI is training police how to most effectively respond themselves.

The training they will be using comes from the institution that put out this report. ALERRT developed classes for law enforcement and first responders after the mass shooting at Columbine high school in 1999.

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven5 months ago

thanks for the article.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

It is not our imagination

Joseph Glackin
Joseph Glackin2 years ago

BTW Marc~~

It is NOT my responsibility to document your gibberish.

Joseph Glackin
Joseph Glackin2 years ago

Marc P.~~~~~~~
Cites 5000 incidents over an EIGHT YEAR period. Over that time, 240.000 people DIED from guns.
Claims causality without correlation. Gun registration went up as crime went down, I am allin favor of gun registration! I want EVERY gun owner examined and registered! You can find my Parker 12 and my .03 Springfield registered with my local PD, because I want them to know THEY ARE MINE!

As you are fluent in cant, I suggest you confer with your masters at the NRA as to your response.

Marc P.
Marc P.2 years ago

Joseph G.: As to your statement "Still can't document your bs. I see." My reply would be that given the fact that we are all posting comments on computers that are connected to the internet one has only to use Google to find substantiation of my facts:

These are a few examples.

MARY B: As to my comment regarding idiocy and Joseph G: I rest my case.

Marc P.
Marc P.2 years ago

Mary B.: There is a huge difference between Wanda being senselessly attacked after citing statistics and my responding t a person who posted a statement that was meaningless to anyone but himself. If you actually read Joseph G.'s comment you too would be bewildered as to the intent. I try to deal with facts. The fact of the matter is hat his post was nonsensical and incomprehensible. One of the definitions of "Idiocy" is " A foolish or stupid utterance." It can be easily concluded,since the statement was unfathomable, that the statement Joseph G made was in fact idiotic according to any definition. And I did not refer to Joseph G. as an idiot. My reference was to his idiotic by definition post.

Wisteria K.
Past Member 2 years ago

Hi Linda
Don't worry. I don't think you are mentally ill.Honestly.

And thankfully nobody I know of fights for the right to carry guns in my country. Not even the police carry guns here. As far as I know they have them locked up in a box in their car,and have to call their leader for the right to open that box and use them.

We have our problems here of course but not like you do in America.
I wish nobody on this earth felt a need to carry guns,or have them in their home for protection.

Linda McKellar
Past Member 2 years ago

I find it interesting that NOBODY commented on my remark about Mr Metcalf, the contributor to Guns & Ammo, who was fired for just SUGGESTING that rights as granted by the Constitution should be regulated. That does seem to indicated who is calling the to speak, the gun manufacturers. They don't give a shit about your right to bear arms except as it effects their sale of weapons. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. One would think, with his credentials as a gun advocate that he should have some educated opinion on the matter.

Linda McKellar
Past Member 2 years ago

Wisteria, my point was the actual NUMBERS of mass shootings. I said nothing about Breivik's psychological state. I just think military type weapons are needed by nobody BUT the military as they are made for multiple murders on the battlefield. I also think anyone committed to "jihad" behaviours due to ANY belief system do have a few screws lose. What NORMAL person would go on a rampage? In my 64 years, it never occurred to me to go on a rampage against anyone. Maybe I'm the one whose mentally ill. What do you think about that possibility? I'm peaceful so perhaps I'm nuts.

Joseph Glackin
Joseph Glackin2 years ago

Masc P.
"People who are truly informed are aware that many crimes are stopped in their tracks by legally armed gun owners. These stories are NOT reported in mainstream media for the sole intent of creating people with mindsets like yours."

Still can't document your bs. I see.

I understand windbags.