Statistics on campus shootings are scarce and often conflicting, partly due to varying definitions of what constitutes a campus shooting. Some reports do not count shootings if there were no fatalities while others do not include incidents that occurred off-campus. However, most data suggest there are between one and three fatal campus shootings per year across the US.
An analysis by Slate and Jessie Klein, author of “The Bully Society,” found 39 college shootings between 1980 and 2012, in which at least one person other than the shooter died.
Campuses are relatively safe places, says Peter Langman, an expert on the psychology of school shooters and author of “Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters.” Grisly mass shootings, like those at Virginia Tech and the recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., make campus shootings appear more prevalent than they actually are.