Are Grocery Store Shootings Really A Concern?

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

With the shooting in Collierville, Tennessee last week, people are thinking about such shootings. Many are worried about whether they can make a trip to the grocery store without getting shot. After all, you’ve had a couple of high-profile shootings in such places this year. There’s a reason people will start to think this.

However, according to one site, shootings in grocery stores are on the rise.

These days, when Eddie Chavez supervises the self-checkout area at the Safeway supermarket where he works in Colorado, he swivels his head back and forth like a pendulum, keeping a constant watch on everyone who comes through the door.

Chavez has worked in grocery stores for four decades, and he never used to feel unsafe. But now “you just never know anymore when it’s going to be the next one,” he said.

This past week, a gunman opened fire inside a Kroger supermarket outside Memphis, turning the routine task of grocery shopping into a terrifying encounter with gun violence.

Such events are no longer exceptional: at least three other deadly shootings have taken place at supermarkets this year, continuing a recent trend.

According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shootings at grocery stores have risen in recent years. Between 2000 and 2020, 78 people were killed in 28 such incidents, FBI data shows.

While some of the shootings were at smaller markets or convenience stores in gas stations, major chains such as Walmart and Kroger have experienced multiple shootings at their locations since 2018. Earlier this year, a gunman killed 10 people at a King Soopers outlet, owned by Kroger, in Boulder, Colo.

A total of 78 people in 28 shootings over a span covering 21 years.

Well, I’m freaking convinced. It must be an epidemic.

Folks, that’s just over one such shooting per year in a nation of almost 330 million people. It’s just over 2.5 people killed in grocery stores over that same span.

While the rate of such things might be increasing, it’s still not something anyone should really worry about. Being cautious right now while there might be concerns of a copy-cat attack is one thing, but this is really a non-issue, all in all.

Yet we have to acknowledge that 2021 has seen an uptick.

However, the above-linked article touches on something that I think is worth discussing. After all, in addition to King Soopers and Collierville, there was a shooting at a Kroger distribution center in Wisconsin. King Soopers is owned by Kroger and Collierville was also a Kroger. Why the shootings at Kroger?

Two years ago, Walmart and Kroger responded to a spate of deadly shootings by asking their customers not to display weapons in stores located in states that permit the open carrying of firearms. In response, some gun rights advocates called for a boycott of the stores.

Oh, well, that’s why. Shocking, I know.

It seems that the three grocery-related shootings this year were all at a story that publicly stated firearms were no longer welcome at their stores. Absolutely brilliant.

Now, let’s be fair for a moment. This is coincidental, a correlation. Correlation doesn’t equal causation. However, causation does cause correlations.

That relationship, however, isn’t noted. It’s almost like they don’t want to admit that prohibiting guns from a given area just might be something less than a spectacular idea.