FOX19 Perspective: Mass shootings in U.S. still pretty rare

The 911 operator is cool and calm.

"15 and 314, for a shooting at Century Theaters."

Listening now, hours after we learned just how many people died, you want to warn her that it will be unlike anything she's handled before.

"15 and 314," she continues, "there is at least one person that's been shot. But they're saying there's just hundreds of people running around."

At this point, you're mind takes you to the scene.

"Somebody is still shooting in the theater number 9," she tells officers.

Throughout the weekend we will be inundated on our televisions and smartphones with the images and sounds of the cold violence of this mass murder. At times like these, it's natural to yearn for the "good ol' days."

But despite what your senses are telling you, the facts about mass shootings are that they're still pretty rare.

After the Virginia Tech shootings, where 32 people lost their lives before the gunman committed suicide, Time Magazine found that for the past 30 years fewer than 1% of all homicides involve the killing of five or more people.

The gunman in that case was from South Korea, which is rare because in this country mass murders are usually committed by black or white men, as was the case in Columbine, Norway, and Tucson.

Like in those cases, people may wonder if the suspect in the Colorado movie theater shootings just "snapped."

But experts say these guys don't "snap." They plan carefully.

"If you think about his plan," said Fred Burton, a former counterterrorism agent, "he booby-trapped his apartment. He went (to the theater) with a good tactical plan, which was very effective in killing people."

It is that cold violence and the randomness of it that scares us most.

The CEO of the company that owns the movie theater said Friday it's the kind of thing that just can't be prevented.

"(He) had an assault weapon that would probably overpower any security that we would have," said Timothy Warner.

He also points out this happened at a theater that was just three blocks from a police station.

Still, many theatergoers will be happy to see extra police officers this weekend.

Rave Cinemas in Florence, Kentucky, is among those that will be adding extra off-duty officers, which the theater company will pay for.

In addition, police officers in Florence plan to conduct more patrols in the area.

A spokesman for Rave Cinemas, based in Dallas, wouldn't talk specifics about the number of officers or any more security measures this weekend.

But he did send FOX19 a statement saying:

"We take security very seriously and will continue to make every effort to ensure that our moviegoers are safe when they visit our theaters."

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