The Washington Post, December 2020
If there’s one silver lining in a year marred by a deadly pandemic, civil unrest, and economic and political turmoil, it’s this: The number of mass shootings that happened in public was the lowest in more than a decade.
Experts who research mass killings say there are two key reasons for the sharp drop-off. For one, most people avoided going out in public during coronavirus lockdowns, which meant fewer opportunities for slayings in workplaces or schools. For another, Americans were so focused on other tragedies that would-be gunmen were less likely to consider carrying out attacks.
A database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University that tracks mass killings — defined as four or more dead, not including the shooter — back to 2006 showed just two public mass shootings this year. Both happened before the lockdowns took hold.
The first mass shooting of the year was on Feb. 26, when an employee at a brewery in Milwaukee killed five co-workers before killing himself. The other occurred on March 15, when a man killed four people in Springfield, Missouri, before killing himself.
Since then? Not one.