Traditionally, high levels of crime have long been associated with densely populated urban areas, but when it comes to gun crimes, that’s actually the far from the truth. According to a new report from the Associated Press, all but one of the ten deadliest school shootings in the U.S. have occurred in towns with fewer than 75,000 residents, the majority of them taking place in cities with less than 50,000 people.
Psychologists suggest that the reason why small town, tight-knit neighborhoods are more susceptible to horrific gun shootings is due to the intensity of relationships within the communities. If you’re a teenager in an area where everyone knows your name, the opportunity to disappear isn’t always available to you. James Alan Fox, a professor at Northeastern University who has been studying mass shootings for decades, says it’s this constant watchful presence that might make some teenagers violent. “If things are going downhill for you, you did something wrong or someone did something wrong to you, and some girl dumps you, everybody knows. So, it’s much harder to get away from it.”
When compared to other countries where gun ownership is legalized, the severity of the gun crime problem in the U.S. can be clearly distilled. According to the Guardian, the U.S. the most homicides caused by firearms than anywhere else in the developed world. Coupled with the highest rate of gun ownership, with an average of 88 in every 100 people said to own a firearm, when you compare it to all countries across the globe, the next country with as densely populated firearms owners is Yemen.
The reasons are equally complicated as they are intertwined, but no wonder easy access and high pressured surroundings are something of a tinderbox for the country’s violent epidemic.