Wednesday, Aug. 26 — the day that a former colleague opened fire on and killed journalists during a live television report — was the 238th day of the year. The crime, though, was the 247th mass shooting of the year.
Yes, you read that right, the number of mass shootings so far in 2015 has been at a rate of more than one a day, according to numbers compiled from GunsAreCool, a subpage of Reddit that is aiming for irony in its name.
The numbers, it seems, aren’t exactly scientific. They define a mass shooting more broadly than the FBI, choosing to include any incident in which at least four people are shot (that can include the shooter). But according to the Washington Post, things like the recent Lafayette theater shooting doesn’t pass the FBI’s muster, so there could be some usefulness in the numbers.
Some say the shooter shouldn’t be counted, or that the criteria would mean counting some gang crimes and domestic events that wouldn’t normally be termed a mass shooting, the story says. Yet …
“A more expansive definition of “mass shooting” underscores the extent to which firearms make it relatively easy to hurt large numbers of people in a very short time. With a gun, you’re able to inflict bodily harm on a person once they’re in your line of sight. With something like a knife or your hands, you need to get right up close to a person,” the blog post says.
Of course, there are some days this year with no mass shootings at all, like Monday. On Wednesday, there were actually two, although with such attention on the Roanoke tragedy, I missed the news of the second one.
Whether you support stricter gun laws or rally for the Second Amendment, I found the number to be a surprise. Let’s hope the trend slows down, so we can say there were more days in 2015 than mass shootings.