It's Week 19 of the Year and America Has Already Seen 198 Mass Shootings

Saeed Ahmed / NPR
It's Week 19 of the Year and America Has Already Seen 198 Mass Shootings A person places flowers outside the scene of the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sunday. (photo: Matt Rourke/AP)

The 10 people killed, and an additional three injured, make this weekend's racially motivated attack at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket the deadliest mass shooting of the year in the United States.

It is also the 198th mass shooting in 2022. With just over 19 weeks into the year, this averages out to about 10 such attacks a week.

The tally comes from the Gun Violence Archive, an independent data collection organization. The group defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are shot or killed, excluding the shooter. The full list of mass shootings in 2022 can be found here.

Prior to the Buffalo attack, the largest-scale mass shooting this year was at a car show in Dumas, Ark., on March 19. That attack killed one person and injured 27.

Such shootings are an American phenomenon

Mass shootings, as is well known by now, are a common recurrence in the United States. Around this time last year, the U.S. had experienced a similar number of mass shootings: also about 10 a week.

We ended 2021 with 693 mass shootings, per the Gun Violence Archive. The year before saw 611. And 2019 had 417.

The massacres don't come out of nowhere, says Mark Follman, who has been researching mass shootings since 2012, when a gunman killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

"This is planned violence. There is, in every one of these cases, always a trail of ... behavioral warning signs," he told NPR earlier this month.

Follman, the author of a new book, Trigger Points, says the role of mental health is also widely misunderstood.

"The general public views mass shooters as people who are totally crazy, insane. It fits with the idea of snapping, as if these people are totally detached from reality."

That's not the case, he said. There's "a very rational thought process" that goes into planning and carrying out mass shootings.

The suspect in the Buffalo attack left behind a racist screed, donned body armor, and livestreamed the attack.

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