The 137 people who died in this year’s 30 mass killings in the U.S. are in line with the average since 2006, reports USA Today. “Everyone is always asking ‘Why are these mass killings increasing?’ ” says criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University. “They are not.” Beyond the numbers, the horror and pain of the sudden and senseless loss of 137 souls resonates among family, friends, communities and, in some cases, the nation.
A USA Today analysis shows the killings fall into three main categories: Public massacres, family violence and deaths that are linked to other crimes — robbery, burglary, drug deals. Mass killings account for just 1 percent of all murders nationally. Public massacres, such as the ones in Newtown, Ct., or the rampage at an Aurora, Col., movie theater in 2012, account for one in six deaths by mass killing, The deadliest day in 2013 was Sept. 16, when 12 people were gunned down in the Washington Navy Yard. Aaron Alexis, 34, a Navy subcontractor, also injured eight people before police killed him. Much more common than public shootings, says Fox, are “family annihilations, where a guy kills his wife, children and himself.”