The Onion, a satirical newspaper, re-uses a headline each time a mass shooting occurs in the US:
“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens
Most recently for the shooting in Uvalde, TX.
This tradition has its own Wikipedia article, and has been covered by numerous other media outlets.
Similar claims have been made widely; for a prominent example, Sky News reporter Mark Stone questioned Sen. Ted Cruz about it in a widely-reported incident. The Sky News report includes a statement that
Between 2009 and 2018 there were 288 school shootings in the US, the next highest number was in Mexico where there were eight.
But no sources are cited, and in any event “school shootings” are a subset of the “mass shootings” that the Onion headline refers to, and that Mark Stone seemed to be asking after.
The Washington Post report on the interview notes that
Cruz spokesman Steve Guest told The Washington Post that Stone’s line of questioning surrounding mass shootings in the United States was incorrect. Guest pointed to research from the Crime Research Prevention Center, a pro-firearms nonprofit founded by former Trump appointee John R. Lott Jr., that claims “the U.S. is well below the world average in terms of the number of mass public shootings.”
Infuriatingly, the Post doesn’t analyze either claim: they only report that Sky News says one thing, Ted Cruz’s office says another, and that’s it. The response is fairly buried, and the labeling of that response as coming from “a pro-firearms nonprofit founded by [a] former Trump appointee” certainly suggests that the Post sides with Sky News on this, but it’s not backed up. And while the conflict of interest gives a strong reason to be skeptical of the claim, it isn’t in itself a reason to assume that it is false—it’s a reason to dig deeper.
So I’m asking this site to help do that: Is America exceptional in how frequently it experiences mass shootings? Or is it “well below the world average in terms of mass public shootings”? If the difference comes down to definitions—as I suspect it does—I’d like to see analysis of those definitions: does one include incidents that don’t match what the public thinks of when they hear “mass shooting”? Or does the other exclude things that the public would include?