Mass killings like the one last week in Roseburg, Or., commanded headlines and prompted an anguished President Obama to condemn gun violence. The Associated Press reports that there were 8,124 gun homicides last year, by the FBI’s count. That works out to an average of 156 a week, more than 22 people shot to death every day. Dr. Helen Farrell, a forensic psychiatrist who teaches at Harvard Medical School, said people do have more interest in mass killings because they are relatively uncommon.
“That’s unfortunate because those single homicides are far more prevalent and cause just as much pain and suffering to the people involved,” she said. In just the 24 hours surrounding Thursday’s Oregon killings, there were at least a dozen shooting deaths. The AP took a look at them. As an example of one that got no national media coverage, police say a confrontation led to the shooting death of a 23-year-old man found in his car in a shopping center parking lot in Kent, Wa., last Wednesday. Witnesses reported that the driver of another vehicle fired shots just before 7 p.m., sending shoppers scrambling to stay inside a Target store. Several shoppers saw shattered glass and bullet casings on the ground as medics tried to save the victim. The gunman immediately fled the scene with another person in the car.