Google Trends show US interest in guns and gun violence at post-Newtown lows

Responding to the massacre at Sandy Hook, a commentary in the New Yorker noted in January that there was “for the moment, a perceptible change in the weather,” but added that “Even a change in the climate, though, may not be enough.”

Remembering Newtown, President Obama said that the rest of his State of the Union address “matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource – our children,” adding “This time is different.”

But by last week, when Obama discussed “Washington’s highest priority,” he was talking about the economy instead, and was greeted with applause when he proclaimed that “It’s certainly my highest priority.”

While more than 6,600 people have been killed by other people with guns in the US since Newtown, Google Trends now reflect that public interest has shifted away from gun violence as well. An examination of Google search terms over the last 12 months shows interest in guns and related issues at the lowest rates since the massacre.According to Google, the numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. They don’t represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100. Each point on the graph is divided by the highest point, or 100.

The first spike represents the incident at Sandy Hook, the second reflects White House leadership on gun safety in January, and the third, smaller spike marks the Senate’s failure to pass new gun safety legislation. Interest has faded since then, and Google News search terms reflect a simialr pattern.

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