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In the wake of Monday’s Navy Yard shooting, there has been much lamentation that mass shootings are on the rise in America. “If you have been thinking that we live in an era that is more marked by this type of mass bloodshed than any era before,” remarked Rachel Maddow, “I am sad to tell you you are right. It did not used to be this way, but more and more, this is part of how we live.” 

(MORE: The Troubled Mind of the Navy Yard Shooter)

The problem with this claim is that it isn’t true – or to be more charitable, it’s “true” in such a limited way as to be meaningless.

Maddow  is defining “this type of mass bloodshed” as mass shootings in which 12 or more victims were killed. There have been 12 such shootings in the United States since 1949, and half of them…

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