Are mass shootings such as the one in Newtown on the rise? Is the nation becoming a more violent place? Well, not really, at least according to researcher and criminologist James Allan Fox, who charted all the mass killings of four or more people since 1980:
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Meanwhile, after this latest tragedy, Fox is suggesting that perhaps the biggest difference is just that we're better able to see the tragedy unfold and watch it live on TV or follow it on Twitter. As it comes more into our living rooms, it comes more into our lives and hits closer to home. A 3-paragraph blurb in the paper about a tragic mass shooting 5 states and 5 days away from back in 1980 is a lot different than the unending TV coverage we get today. Does that mean we shouldn't give so much coverage to such incidents? I'm not sure. But it's certainly at least something we should keep in mind as we continue to process this latest incident. Tragic and horrific as it is, what's even worse is that it's not so unusual as we might like to believe.