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Graphic Truth: The rise of US school shootings

Graphic Truth: The rise of US school shootings
Paige Fusco

Saturday marks 25 years since the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The attack in which two students used high-powered rifles to murder 12 of their classmates and a teacher before killing themselves was the largest school shooting in US history at the time.

It was also the first to be covered extensively in real-time by cable news, and it set off a national debate about gun violence, as well as the impact of bullying, video games, and prescription drugs on teen mental health.

A quarter of a century later, those debates continue — what’s different is that the frequency of school shootings has surged, increasing nearly sevenfold over the past decade alone.

Although deaths from these kinds of attacks account for only about 1% of total firearm fatalities, their rise tracks a broader increase in gun homicides and suicides that began during the pandemic in 2020.

Here is a look at the rise of school shootings in America beginning in the early 1990s.


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