There Have Been 87 School Shootings Since Newtown. So Why Does No One Seem to Care?

Source: KOMO
Source: KOMO

Another day, another school shooting in America. 

Friday's shooting at a Washington state high school marks the 87th school shooting since the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, an average of one shooting each week since a gunman killed 20 children and five teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"These tragedies must end," President Obama declared after the Newton Massacre. "And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true.  No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society."

Almost two years later, the U.S. isn't close to stopping the disturbing trend of mass shootings in America. One tweet sums up the problem perfectly:

The change Obama called for won't happen anytime soon. Despite a rise on mass shootings, both Congress (and, to a certain extent, the American public) lack the will to take action to prevent tragedies like this from occurring. 

The shooting: At 1:45 p.m. Friday, an unidentified student opened fire in the cafeteria of Marysville-Pilchuck High School in suburban Seattle. The school was locked down as everyone inside was evacuated by police.

A federal law enforcement official told CNN that "up to five people" were shot, while a police source told a Seattle Times reporter that two people have died, including the shooter. Marysville Police Cmdr. Robert Lamoureux told reporters earlier that they "are confident there was only one shooter." He didn't disclose any information about the victims, but a source told CNN that three people are critically wounded and another is in serious condition at area hospitals. The shooter was identified as a popular freshman who was reportedly angry at a girl who would note date him. The girl was one of the victims.

Why it matters: Mass shootings are on the rise in America. According to the September FBI report, mass shootings are on the rise across America. The bureau examined 160 active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2013 and determined that mass shootings are becoming much more frequent in America. There were an average of 6.4 incidents per year during the first seven years of the study, while the last seven years showed a dramatic increase to 16.4 incidents annually. 

Source: FBI

The U.S. has done little to actually stop this disturbing rise in mass shootings. The defeat of last year's bipartisan measure for mandated background checks on gun sales was a failure for the post-Sandy Hook push to reign in gun control. And while Obama announced executive actions to strengthen federal background checks for gun purchases, he admitted that they were not enough to truly reform gun laws. 

"The only thing that is going to change is public opinion. If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change," Obama said in June after another school shooting in Oregon. But even now, public opinion is still a problem. According to an Associated Press-GfK poll last December, barely half of Americans thought that U.S. gun laws ought to be stricter and 15% said they should be less strict. 

"The country has to do some soul-searching about this," Obama said. "This is becoming the norm and we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me."

From the looks of it, that soul-searching hasn't happened. And doesn't look like it will anytime soon.

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Jordan Valinsky

Jordan is a writer at the Live News desk. He's previously written for The Week, Betabeat, The Daily Dot and CNN.com.

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