US death toll from mass shootings has doubled since Columbine
Looking in vain for signs the gun conversation will change.
Number of deaths in the deadliest mass shootings (12 or more lives lost) in America, 1900–1999: 106
Number of deaths in the deadliest mass shootings, 2000–2013: 112
Signs that mass shootings impact meaningful legislative changes: 0
Dr. A. Charles Catania, a behavior analyst and experimental psychologist at the University of Maryland, shared a difficult statistic with producers of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC after the Sandy Hook tragedy last year. Catania had reviewed a Washington Post report on the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history and plotted the data on a graph.
Catania realized how drastically the death toll from mass shootings had increased in the recent past: Half the deadliest shootings in U.S. history had occured in just the six years prior. “The acceleration in deaths shown by graphing the data this way is breath-taking,” he said, “and probably the scariest data I've ever plotted in this format."
Taken cumulatively, the total number of people killed in U.S. mass shootings — defined at this point as 12 or more lives lost — has doubled since Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris murdered 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in 1999. A total of 106 people, including shooters, were killed in such shootings before the turn of the last century, and 112 in the years since.
The number of people killed in mass shootings pales, by far, compared to the monstrous though unquantified number of people shot to death every week in events that don’t even make the news.
Despite data indicating the U.S. has far more gun-related killings than any other developed country — perhaps as high as 20 times the average for all other countries researched — the pace for reforming gun laws and related statutes has been glacial and numerous pieces of legislation frozen in place. With no meaningful changes in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, to the great shame of Congress, Americans are left to their own devices, for better and for worse. News today that Starbucks has politely asked its customers to leave firearms at home before coming in for coffee, reversing an earlier policy of defaulting to local gun laws, provides some indication of how people are seeking to establish some guidelines as confidence in a political solution fades to black.
The worst mass shootings in U.S. history, including number of dead, per The Washington Post:
River Road in Camden, N.J. (Sept. 6, 1949): 13
Bell tower shooting, U of Texas at Austin (Aug. 1, 1966): 16 + shooter
McDonald’s in San Ysidro, Calf. (July 18, 1984): 21 + shooter
Post Office in Edmond, Okla. (Aug. 21, 1986): 14 + shooter
Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas (Oct. 16, 1991): 23 + shooter
Columbine High School, Colo. (April 20, 1999): 13 + 2 shooters
Virginia Tech (April 16, 2007): 32 + shooter
Binghamton, N.Y., immigration center (April 3, 2009): 13 +shooter
Fort Hood, Texas (Nov. 5, 2009): 13
Aurora movie theater, Colo. (July 20, 2012): 12
Sandy Hook Elementary School, Conn. (Dec. 14, 2012): 26 + shooter
Navy Yard complex (Sept. 16, 2013): 12 + shooter
As firearms proliferate and incidents are reported,
peoples' fears of them increase/spread too.
Rational fear cannot be sloughed-off.
The industry, including retail shops, is thus
apparently having their best profits ever.
Then there is the phenomena we call "mental illness."
Public policy has gone from the Snake Pit
era to today's mainstreaming mode, So long as people
take their prescribed medications, these awful things should not
But this guy allegedly went to the V.A. for a refill,
at least once or twice recently. He seemingly KNEW himself that he
was psychologically sick, and the Rhode Island police did apparently report
the "psychotic" revelation interview to the Navy.
Thus besides the sensitive, legal "privacy" paradox/dilemma,
the cliche/ problem is that people being people do not necessarily
like state of the art mind medicine which could make them feel sluggish plus
other potential side effects, the TV drug commercials frankly warn of harsh side
effects. Who wants to risk such happening.
Each person's psyche & physiology require
experienced prescribers. For some, the prescribed
medicine is great but for others the opposite.
With so many guns so easily obtained, killings/shootings
for crimes and the inevitable accidents happen.
If the gun associations can reject all reform efforts,
would anybody not predict more hellaciousness.
The political argument was won, and it's
impossible not to be pessimistic.
The cow's been out of the barn for sometime. Record gun sales, municipalities refusing to destroy legally confiscated weapons and re- selling instead.
The gun lobby won, why not relax....
How many more firearms can we put in the public's hands?
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