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Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP)
Mass Shooting Prevention and Research Depository



There are numerous widespread varying definitions for acts of violence For instance, mass shootings are also known as mass killings and mass murder. Therefore, with some exceptions, most acts of violence referenced by Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP), including, but not necessarily limited to the following, should be referred to as simply incidents: —Bombings. —Biological or chemical agent attacks. —Knife wielding attackers. —Mass shootings. —Terrorism. However, there's no arguing that mass shooting is a buzzword, so we more often than not use it instead of incident.

Mass Shooting Media

The total number of people injured during incidents can vary widely depending on what media or other sources you use. For instance, some sources cite the total injured only from gunfire while others cite all injures like those caused by people fleeing the perpetrator(s) or otherwise injured during the ensuing chaos, like a stampede. Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP) consistently uses the total number of people injured, either directly or indirectly by the perpetrator(s). The rational for doing that is because people injured fleeing a perpetrator(s) or otherwise hurt during an incident wouldn’t have suffered those injuries absent the perpetrator(s). In other words, the perpetrator indirectly caused those injuries. It should be noted that the number of people killed during incidents is very consistently reported as being the same.

Mass shooting records/reports, which are all in PDF format, are predominantly produced and released by governmental entities. Some are the product of contracted consulting firms. Very rarely, some are otherwise. In alphabetical order, they include, but aren't necessarily limited to, the following:

—After-Action Reports/Reviews
—Autopsy Reports
—Court Records
—Criminal Investigative/Police Records/Reports
—Executive/Summary Reports
—Initial/Interim/Final Reports
—Internal/Organizational Reviews
Prosecutorial Records/Reports

Mass shooting records/reports are the bonafide multidisciplinary documentation of incidents, most of which you're probably already very familiar with, like "Sandy Hook" or whatever.

In some cases we've used the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which is the right to access public information held by public bodies, to obtain data that is rightly ours (and yours!) to have. We wield that right ever so judiciously, but nonetheless, necessarily in some cases.

Some mass shooting records/reports available on this Website weren’t released specifically for public consumption. Their inherent access complexity and unfriendly characteristics set them apart from other records/reports. For records/reports that weren’t released specifically for public consumption please be advised of the following:

—Some cases have substantial records/reports available, in one instance there are 840 reports available in downloadable zipped folders.
—Records/reports often have file names which are generally meaningless to laypeople (like strings of letters and/or numbers) and are available for download, sometimes in zipped folders.
—In some categories we’ve included only one record/report. Illustrative of this is the case of meetings attended, property receipts, and victim death notifications, where only one report is included because all the others that we have don’t differ in any meaningful way.
—These records/reports are heavily redacted despite the fact that all the blanks (blackened areas) can be easily filled in with data from media outlets and other online sources.

If you think that the degree of police mass shooting transparency would be somewhat in the same ball park, you’d be wrong—very wrong.

We’ve researched every mass shooting in the United States for the past several decades leaving absolutely no stones unturned, and one startling fact has emerged—law enforcement agencies differ in significant ways concerning how much data that has been released to the public and made continuously available. It ranges from nearly zero to far more than is necessary.

We have statistical data documenting this, and we could display a neat list for you, but we’d rather just state it in plain English.

The three most police transparent mass shooting are as follows:

Columbine High School, Columbine, Colorado, Mass Shooting - April 20, 1999


Pulse, a Gay Bar, Dance Club, and Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Mass Shooting – June 12, 2016

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, Mass Shooting – December 14, 2012

Why? They both have dedicated Webpages loaded with links to data that is continuously available to you and me and whoever.

On the opposite end of the transparency spectrum is the Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, Texas, Mass Shooting – May 18, 2018 and the American Civic Association Immigration Center, Binghamton, New York, Mass Shooting – April 3, 2009. Nary a piece of meaningful data can be accessed concerning these incidents, which is surprising, considering the former is the third-deadliest high school mass shooting in the United States and the latter resulted in 14 people being killed.

Of course in between these incidents are very varying degrees of transparency. Despite due diligence, we haven’t been able to put our collective finger on why this is so. It should be noted that we’ve excused (even thought Columbine was on the fringes) those incidents that preceded the Internet because understandably the ability for the kind of transparency we’re now used to was impossible then.

In an apparent attempt for government transparency documentation pertaining to specific mass shootings can be accessed online when searches are utilized, in some cases targeted drill down searches are necessary. However, the degree of documentation per case is day and night. In other words, some mass shooting cases have just one measly accessible PDF report while others have literally hundreds of assessible PDF reports. One case has 840 PDF reports available. In addition, some online case documentation, usually for those with the most PDF reports, also includes correspondence; audio and video files; and/or photos. Several mass shooting cases include all of the preceding.

In some instances the commonplace person would find the vast depositaries of data overwhelming, and for some it would be beyond their technical ability to access the content. In addition, much of the data is very rudimentary and/or redundant. Therefore, in the spirit of transparency, we’ve reviewed most of it for you and culled from those sources the most descriptive and interesting data and complied it on this Website in easily accessible point and click formats. However, if you’re up to the task of delving into all of it like we did we’ve included a link to all of it.

Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP) has established a minimum ease of use, also known as being user friendly, threshold for all content on it’s website which requires that all listed data has point and click accessibility. However, that does not mean that only data with that capability is available. Much of the data we have amassed on this website is not in point and click format and accessing it is well beyond the technical ability of most computer laypeople. When we deem data worthy of being available to the general pubic that does not have point and click accessibility we convert it to a point and click format for our users. These conversions are sometimes a difficult process and are always a slow one, but we nonetheless remain committed to providing you that level of accessibility which is paramount to transparency.

Soft Targets and Crowded Places (ST-CP) is very selective where we obtain news from. Immediately following a mass shooting we only obtain news from national media sources that we individually confirm are authentic. Occasionally, we will obtain news from national media affiliates, which likewise have been individually confirmed as authentic. When additional news details are needed, Wikipedia is used as soon as it becomes available. Their accuracy and particularly their "References" ensure consistently fair and well-balanced news.