Numbers Don't Lie

Just because there have been several notable, high-profile acts of violence to go down in April over the years doesn't mean there is actually more violence come spring than during other months. Skeptics say conspiracy theorists are simply looking for patterns that aren't really there.

Terrorism by foreign and domestic perpetrators happens in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe at various times throughout the year. The 9/11 attacks occurred in the fall. Shoe bomber Richard Reid tried to blow up a plane in December 2001. The 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta happened in the middle of summer. In the U.S., more mass shootings have taken place in December (eight) than April (six) since 1980. In 2012, for example, the shootings in Newtown, Conn. (December) and Aurora, Colo. (July) happened at other times of the year [sources: Pappas, Follman].

So why all the fuss about April upheaval? Some experts say it's because people need a way to explain unthinkable, horrific events. Confirmation bias is the term scientists and statisticians use to describe the tendency to look for and interpret information that substantiates already held beliefs while turning a blind eye to anything that doesn't jibe [sources: Escobedo, Science Daily].

On the other hand, maybe it's something as simple as following the sun. Research shows that violent crime goes up with increased temperature, to a certain point (about 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 27 degrees Celsius). April is about the time when the frost starts to come off the pumpkin in many parts of the world, including Boston, but it's not yet hot [source: Keim].

Whether or not you believe there's a trend, the number of prominent acts of violence that have occurred in Aprils past is at least a bit curious and at most utterly horrifying. If you're not ready to make up your mind about the existence of and reasons for heightened April violence, try the links to other related articles on the next page.