Good News Alert: U.S. is Safer Than We’re Led to Believe

For Americans in their 30s, this is the safest the country has ever been in their lifetimes.

You are about four times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be the victim of a mass shooting and the overall violent crime rate has been halved since 1991.
You are about four times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be the victim of a mass shooting and the overall violent crime rate has been halved since 1991.71 Republic

Despite the never-ending coverage of mass shootings and other violent attacks, the U.S. is safer than it has been in decades, says a report from 71 Republic.

Through nearly every media outlet, we are inundated with reports of mass shootings and an endless stream of other acts of violence committed against seemingly innocent people, building public hysteria to a near fever pitch.

Just turning on the television can make even the most even-keeled among us believe we are only minutes from the next tragedy, but the truth is that we are far safer than the evening news would have us believe.

The story from 71 Republic gives a more realistic picture of violence in America. Of course, one mass shooting is one too many, just like any murder, but the odds of being a victim of one are less than 1 in 4 million.

Not to minimize the suffering of those that have been a victim of such a tragedy, but statistically, its about four times more likely that you will literally be struck by lightning this year, which CBS 17 reports as a 1 in 960,000 chance.

"It is clear that we are not living in a culture of mass shootings, where deaths from them are normal and expected," the story says.

Perhaps you feel as though the terrible tragedies that are mass shootings are carbon copies of the last one? Well, there may be some truth to that. A report by NBC News found truth in the idea that police have expounded for years: mass shootings and school attacks inspire copycats.

NBC News states that researchers at Arizona State University and Northeastern Illinois University found that as many as 20 to 30 percent of attacks are set off by other attacks, with the effects lasting approximately 13 days.

Perhaps limiting the focus of the media coverage on the perpetrator and focusing more on the victims can alleviate some of the stimulus for these individuals to commit these heinous acts. In an age where “clout chasing,” acting out or starting conflict just to gain notoriety, has garnered a place in the Urban Dictionary, should we be rewarding these offenders with the fame they so desire?

"The copycat phenomenon is real," Andre Simons of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit told NBC. "As more and more notable and tragic events occur, we think we're seeing more compromised, marginalized individuals who are seeking inspiration from those past attacks."

Moving away from mass shootings, defined as four or more casualties inflicted by one or two shooters acting as a team, and focusing on violent crime in general paints an even brighter picture.

Stats compiled by 71 Republic show a steep decline since the early 1990s.

"Since 1991, the violent crime rate in America has dramatically fallen. Then at 758.2 incidents per 100,000 people, it has nearly halved, now sitting at 382.9 incidents per 100,000. The same pattern occurs when looking at violent crimes committed by youth. In fact, the decline is even more dramatic. In 1993, Americans aged 12-17 committed 1.1 million violent crimes. Since then, however, the figure has fallen to a mere 182,000. Murder and robbery follow a similar pattern, decreasing by about half since the early 1990s," the story says. "Despite what the media may have you believe, we are safer now than have been in recent history. For those of us in our 30s, this is the safest we’ve been in our lifetimes."