Magazine's List of Mass Shootings Prompts Recollection of Past Events

Aug 8, 2012

In the aftermath of Sunday's tragic and deadly shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, a question many of us have is, "How could this happen in our own backyard?" And as the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado occurred not even three weeks before those in Oak Creek, we also likely to be asking how such a violent act happened yet again.

A chart included among Mother Jones' "Guide to Mass Shootings in America" depicts the number of weapons used that were bought legally vs. illegally.
Credit Mother Jones

While covering the Aurora tragedy, the staff at Mother Jones magazine, a national independent news magazine and website based in San Francisco, began asking a slightly different question: How many times had this happened before? It seems an obvious question, but as senior editor Mark Follman and his staff found out - it was a hard one to answer.

So they compiled what they called "A Guide to Mass Shootings in America" - a map, charts and article detailing the last 30 years' worth of such events. Unbeknownst to the staff at the time, they would be reprinting the piece only a few weeks later to include the Oak Creek killings.

Follman joined Lake Effect's Stephanie Lecci on the line to talk about what he and his colleagues uncovered. Follman also wrote a follow-up piece "'I Was a Survivor": Recalling a Mass Shooting Four Years Ago Today." Both pieces were written after the Colorado movie theater shooting, but were updated to include information about Sunday's Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek.