LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A little over 6 months into 2022, the United States has surpassed 300 mass shootings nationwide, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as having a minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter who may have also been killed or injured.
Only five months into the year, the shooting at a Buffalo Supermarket on May 14 and another at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas just ten days later mark the 198th and 214th mass shootings in 2022. These specific events have caused heightened traffic from social media users voicing their frustrations about this ongoing crisis.
Mary Blankenship, a researcher with Brookings Mountain West at UNLV, sifted through over 1.3 million tweets in order to take a look at how Twitter users have reacted to gun violence for her study on social media and mass shootings. Blankenship specifically looked at reactions to the aforementioned shootings.
One major finding that Blankenship found was that, despite major differences of opinions on gun control, conservatives and liberals have started to agree that “enough is enough” when it comes to the issue of mass shootings.
“Our analysis suggests that the emotional reactions to these horrific incidences of violence are not that far apart from each other,” wrote Blankenship and Brookings Institution co-author Carol Graham.
For the study, Twitter users were separated into two groups based on self-reported data in their Twitter bios. One group was left-leaning and pro-gun control and the other was right-leaning and pro-gun rights. Users who had no indications of their political affiliations were excluded from the analysis for the study.
According to the study, conservative users were more likely to focus on the alleged hypocrisy of not mentioning deadly crimes committed by non-white men, as well as the locations that President Joe Biden did or didn’t visit. On the other hand, liberals focused more on the victims, guns, and white supremacism.
Additionally, in a change from earlier mass shootings that researchers have analyzed, there was almost no mention of religion or God in either of the studied shootings. This could show that people are shifting focus from the shock of such tragedies to concerns for public safety.
Both sides, according to the study, have shown anger at the situation. They’ve started to agree that enough is enough and some sort of change is needed.
“Without compromise from both sides, no consensus is possible,” Blankenship and Graham added. “We hope this analysis can provide an opening toward a solution where one did not seem to exist before.”
To read Blankenship and Graham’s full study, visit the Brookings Institution site.