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Where Do Mass Shootings Take Place?

In every kind of American community, data shows.
Police show their support at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Police show their support at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.Mary Beth Koeth/Reuters

The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, seems to fit what we know about the tragic pattern of mass shootings. Once again, the shooter was white, male, and socially isolated. And in keeping with a number of deadly mass shootings in the past, this one took place in an affluent suburban community not unlike Newtown, Connecticut (where the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting happened), or Columbine, Colorado.

We have data on the kind of person who typically commits a mass shooting. A database compiled by Mother Jones tracked 98 mass shootings between 1982 and 2018, and shows that 96 percent of mass shooters since 1982 were male and nearly 60 percent were white. (Note: the database defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more victims are killed by an attacker.)