Here’s How Long It Will Take America To Forget About The Orlando Massacre

Law enforcement officials work at the Pulse Orlando nightclub following a fatal shooting Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/CHRIS O’MEARA
Law enforcement officials work at the Pulse Orlando nightclub following a fatal shooting Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/CHRIS O’MEARA

The mass shooting at an Orlando LGBT club left 50 people dead, making it the deadliest in American history.

The motivations of the suspected killer, Omar Mateen, are still being fleshed out. He is said to have been angered months ago when he saw two men kissing. He also reportedly called 911 before the attack and pledged allegiance to ISIS.

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The Orlando massacre will likely prompt a discussion about gun safety legislation in America. But, if history is any guide, such a discussion will be brief.

Four out of the five deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. have taken place since 2007. The shootings at Virigina Tech (2007, 32 killed), Sandy Hook (2012, 27 killed) and San Bernardino (2015, 14 killed) all prompted intense interest — and a small spike in the discussion about gun control.

But by two months later, interest in these events — and gun control — had largely waned.

It’s not that anyone had taken action. The country simply moved on.

This chart from Google Trends shows big spikes in interest at the time of the shooting, which wanes within two months. Smaller spikes in interest in gun control, in green, come with each shooting but disappear just as quickly.

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The most significant interest in gun control came after the Newtown shooting when small children were the victims. Still, nothing significant was passed on a national level. A modest bill to expand background checks failed in the Senate.

Could this time be different? Possibly.

But if it’s not, we can expect this weekend’s horrific events to be in America’s rear-view mirror by early August, at the latest.

Indiscriminate mass shootings are distressingly common in the United States. A group of researchers looked at the the United States and 13 other major countries, including China, England, Russia, the UK and Mexico, and found there were 166 mass shootings between 2000 and 2014. 133 of the mass shootings took place in the U.S.

Countries with strict gun laws, like Australia, Canada and the UK, have largely eliminated mass shootings.

Gun laws in the United States are unusually lax and terrorist groups have urged sympathizers to take advantage of them.