On nearly every statistical measure, human society has improved dramatically over the last few decades. War, famine, disease, poverty, infant mortality are all down globally. Violent crime, cancer, teen pregnancy, abortion, drug use are all down nationally. Some of these truths come as a shock to people for one reason: media.
We have 24-hour news networks and social media that act like megaphones for tragedy. Every time someone gets shot, especially when multiple people do, it’s a breaking news event. And every time it’s tragic. But it’s not more common.
Gun deaths have been declining since the early 1990s. Mass shootings, depending on how they’re defined, are even more rare, though by definition prone to spikes.
Unfortunately this year might prove to break the trend on one unfortunate statistic: police gun deaths. Due mostly to the recent massacres in Dallas and Baton Rouge, on-duty police deaths are up nearly to their full-year level last year. Overall, cop assassinations have been on the decline for some time, so hopefully this horrific year will prove to be just an outlier and not the start of a reversing trend.