Mass Shootings Plummet To Record Low In 2020 Possibly Due To Lockdowns And Focus On Other Tragedies


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The number of mass shootings in 2020 plummeted to a more than 10-year low and the lockdowns and other aspects of the pandemic may have contributed to the significant decrease, the Associated Press reported.

Experts point to the lack of gatherings throughout the year as one factor that led to fewer opportunities for mass shootings to take place, especially in schools. The focus on other tragedies also contributed to a lower likelihood of mass shootings.

“Mass shooting” was defined as four or more people dead, not including the shooter, according to the mass killings database compiled by the AP, USA Today, and Northeastern University. The database tracks killings back to 2006, and showed two public mass shootings in 2020 that occurred before shutdowns began to rollout in March.

One of the mass shootings was at the former Miller brewery in Milwaukee in February, when Anthony Ferrell, a Molson Coors electrician, fatally shot 5 co-workers and himself. The other was in March, when Joaquin Roman killed four people including a police officer at a convenience store in Springfield, Missouri. Roman also killed himself.

Six people dead, including gunman, in Molson Coors brewery shooting in Milwaukee https://t.co/pl9bFIh4RV pic.twitter.com/9Pzm01wHlY

— Reuters (@Reuters) February 27, 2020

But since these two shootings, there have not been any mass shootings that resulted in four or more fatalities, although there have been shootings in public areas that could have resulted in numerous deaths. Two teens were shot and killed in Sacramento when a gunman opened fire at a mall on Black Friday a week after another mall shooting in Milwaukee where eight were injured.

Police say a shooting at a Sacramento mall on Black Friday has killed one person and left another with life-threatening wounds. https://t.co/dLvRpKWzsF

— The Associated Press (@AP) November 28, 2020

The decrease in mass shootings will hopefully continue since it interrupts the “contagion effect,” which suggests that the more mass shootings are discussed and highlighted, the more potential gunmen fixate on attacks, the AP reported. 

Because the pandemic has foisted hardship and suffering on millions, those considering carrying out mass atrocities may not feel like they’re lone victims of injustice or persecution, a common feeling among perpetrators, James Alan Fox, a criminologist and professor at Northeastern University told the AP. 

“It’s hard to say right now that your own plight is unique or unfair. It may not feel good, but there’s certainly [a] reason for it. And it’s not because of something someone’s doing to you. It’s really the pandemic, which is a thing not a person,” Fox said.

In 2019 and 2018, there were nine and 10 mass shootings respectively. The drop to two in 2020 was somewhat surprising to experts given the isolation that lockdowns caused, and the likelihood that some may dwell on dark corners of the internet. There was also a surge in firearms sales. Together, these all combine into a series of risk factors. 

Other types of shootings have increased in 2020, however. Gang violence, drive-by shootings and other random firearm deaths all appear to have risen. Many large cities have reported their most violent year in decades due to the increase in homicides and shootings. (RELATED: Murder Surged In New York City During 2020, And Police Suggest Defund The Police Might Have Something To Do With It)

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