Last week's mass shooting at Umpqua Community College was sadly not unique, as survivors of massacres at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and other schools can testify. But as this map shows, America's problem of gun violence in schools goes beyond even the incidents we all know by name.
There have been 142 shootings in American schools since January 2013, according to Everytown, a pro–gun regulation group, which put together this map showing them all. These incidents killed 73 people in total (the statistics include a number of incidents in which a gun was fired but no one was hit) and injured 104:
Everytown defines a "school shooting" as "any incident where a firearm is discharged inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds" (the map exclude three acts of self-defense with a gun). Everytown's definition includes cases where a gun went off accidentally or where a would-be killer had bad aim and missed his targets.
Here's an illustrative example. In August 2013, a man walked into an elementary school in Georgia with an AK-47 and fired shots. He didn't hit anyone because, according to Everytown, "the school bookkeeper convinced the shooter to surrender and was successful in detaining him until law enforcement arrived."
For that reason, Everytown's map is best understood as a map illustrating the threat guns pose to schools in addition to their toll.
Moreover, many of the cases of fatal shootings or injuries on the map aren't like those of Columbine or Newtown. Often, they're a result of arguments between romantic partners or friends. This speaks to why, according to gun researchers, the mere presence of many guns makes society more dangerous. When people routinely carry deadly weapons, the chances of emotionally charged conversations spiraling out of control are substantially higher.
And really, that's what this map is about. America just has way too many guns floating around — and as a result, there's a rash of deadly or near-deadly incidents at our schools.