Twenty years ago on this day, two students opened fire at Columbine High School, killing 13 people and injuring 24 more. While the scourge of gun violence in U.S. schools didn’t begin with Columbine, the massacre near Littleton, Colorado, reshaped debates on gun laws, school bullying, mental health, and the media’s role in glorifying mass shooters.
We’re still having those debates two decades later, and tragically, too little has changed. According to data from the Washington Post, more than 226,000 students have experienced gun violence in schools since the Columbine shooting. For perspective, that’s more than the population of Salt Lake City or Rochester, New York.
The figures are not exact, but they’re probably one of the best sources we have. Because the federal government doesn’t track school shootings, the Post was forced to source its data from media reports, open-source databases, and law enforcement records.
Esri, a spatial analytics company, pulled the Post’s database to create an interactive map of school shootings. The map makes for a disturbing visual record of a uniquely American phenomenon.
In the embed below (or via this link), you can click on each of the dots to get more information about where and when the attacks took place, and the number of casualties. The map is also color-coded based on specific attributes, such as whether the shooting incident was targeted or accidental.
The saddest part about this is that the effects of gun violence don’t end when the shootings are over. They linger in the form of depression, PTSD, and physical injuries. As our Ruth Reader wrote yesterday, students who experience these traumas can spend a lifetime coming to terms with them.