News headlines across the country labeled the massacre in Boulder, CO as the nth ‘mass shooting’ to happen this year. While these headlines are commonplace, there is surprisingly little agreement on what a mass shooting is, or how many there have been. The Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Justice, media outlets, and academics all have their own definitions of a mass shooting. It’s usually not a mass shooting if it’s gang-related, drug-related, part of another crime (like 5 people shot during a bank robbery), a serial killer, domestic violence, or inside a private residence. The government doesn’t count…

David Riedman

Homeland Security Researcher at the Naval Postgraduate School and Ph.D. student at University of Hawai’i

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