More Than 1/3 of Survey Participants Say Mass Shootings Are Fact of Life in US
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- They're scenes we've seen unfold at movie theaters, in churches, and on college campuses. Gun Violence Archive reports that as of Friday, 267 mass shootings took place in the U.S. this year.
"We have the danger of complacency. I mean, is this something that we're just going to accept? Or is this something that's going to stir us into action?" said Steven Padin, a consultant with the Watchman's Academy.
The Watchman's Academy is an organization that helps churches and other groups assess security. Padin was reacting to results of a new survey from the internet market research firm YouGov, which found 35 percent of Americans polled think mass shootings are "a fact of life in America today."
"It makes sense that people have seen nothing change, in fact it seems to be getting worse, and, therefore, are not as optimistic as we would hope," said Adam Lankford, a criminal justice professor at the University of Alabama.
Lankford says that while the U.S. makes up just 5 percent of the world's population, it's home to 31 percent of its public mass shooters. He says a number of factors can play a part: copycats, the high rate of gun ownership, and frustration caused by what seems to be a growing gap between people's dreams and their ability to reach them.
"The younger generation, according to survey data, has higher senses of being entitled to inevitable success at an extreme level - essentially being rich and famous," Lankford said.
This is one of the underlying causes Padin says he'd like to see addressed.
"If left unchecked, the results of that can be tragic, as we have seen in the past so, it boils down to maybe the family structure, maybe the society structure as a whole," said Padin.
There are no easy solutions, but 48 percent of respondents say they think mass shootings can be stopped.
"Frankly, I don't like either response," said Lankford. "It may be a fact of life, but it's not something I'm willing to just get accustomed to."
Lankford says it's more realistic, in the short term, to work on reducing the number of these incidents.