Yesterday’s fatal high school shooting in Oregon was the 31st firearms attack at a U.S. school since the start of the year, marking a sharp acceleration in the rash of violence that has occurred on the nation’s campuses, the Chicago Tribune reports. The incidents range from the 20 people shot near University of California Santa Barbara less than three weeks ago to gunfire that resulted in no injuries. The frequency of attacks has picked up since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Ct., where 20 first-graders and six adults were gunned down.
In the 18 months since then, 41 deaths have occurred in 62 documented incidents at U.S. schools. In the 18 months before that attack, there were 17 deaths in 17 incidents. Everytown.org, a group that promotes gun safety, lists 72 incidents since Sandy Hook. The increase comes at a time when all types of violent gun deaths have been essentially flat since about 2000 after a sharp drop since the 1980s. But underlying the high-profile shootings are thousands of incidents that never make national headlines, or even get noticed locally. Each year, about 2,000 teens and young children commit suicide with guns at home, says Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “School shootings are part of a much bigger problem,” he said. “There are 86 people who die from bullets on an average day.”