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Are school shootings becoming an epidemic in the US? Comparing to suicide deaths.

School shootings are horrifying. Worse, the media seems to suggest they're occurring with increasing frequency. Are we in the middle of a school shooting epidemic and what can we do about it?

Number of victims of school shootings in the United States between 1982 and November 2021

The above chart (Statistica 2021) shows that on average less than 20 people die each year in school shootings. Moreover our ability to reduce that number with over 300 million guns in circulation is pretty limited. Predicting when a child or adult will snap and go on a shooting spree is a pretty inexact science. How far can we move the dial to reduce the annual death toll?

While you're considering that, chew on the fact that in 2019 over 47,000 people committed suicide in the United States. In 2020 during the pandemic, one in four young adults surveyed said they had seriously considered suicide during the past year.

Moving the dial significantly for school shoot deaths is hard. On the other hand, if federal and state government invests in mental health and suicide prevention programs there's huge opportunity to reduce the death toll (& improve thousands of people's lives).

Why don't you read about this more frequently in the media? Because a school shooting generates "engagement" and suicide does not?

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