Frequent shootings put US mass killings on a record pace

Now, the discovery of seven people shot to death in rural Oklahoma is keeping the U.S. On a torrid pace for mass killings in 2023, and could push the number of slain people for the past 100 years.

The number of deaths in Oklahoma has not yet been included in the database as of Tuesday afternoon. This is the highest number of deaths in the first four months of the year since the data was initially documented in 2006, as stated in a database managed by The Associated Press and USA Today, in collaboration with Northeastern University. The recent killings in Mojave mark the 19th instance of a mass killing this year.

By the end of April, a total of 93 people had been killed in 17 incidents, surpassing the previous record set in 2009. Additionally, this year witnessed 19 mass shootings resulting in the deaths of 97 individuals, including the tragic Mojave shooting.

Every variable is monitored and tallies homicides with four or more deaths, excluding the offender, following the identical criteria as the FBI. The overall figure of individuals who lost their lives due to murder throughout the year is a fraction of the total count of killings.

“I pay a visit to my daughter at a graveyard. Indignation falls short in expressing the depth of my emotions,” expressed Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was one of 17 individuals who lost their lives at a Parkland, Florida, high school in 2018. “No one should be taken aback.”

Based on the database, the individuals affected by the Parkland tragedy are part of the 2,851 individuals who have lost their lives in mass shootings in the United States since 2006.

Based on an examination of The AP/USA Today data, instances of mass killings are occurring at an alarming rate this year: approximately one per week on average.

It is truly astonishing to reach the age of 19 and realize that in over half of the years in the database, the United States has recorded 30 or fewer instances of mass killings. However, when compared to the total number of incidents for a full year since data collection began, the figures for 2023 are even more striking.

Since January 1st, numerous incidents have resulted in the simultaneous loss of life for four or more individuals: cases of murder-suicides and domestic violence, gang retaliations, school shootings, and workplace vendettas. This wave of violence has occurred across the entire country and has been triggered by a variety of motives.

Throughout the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court is challenging the firearms limitations, establishing fresh criteria for evaluating the country’s gun regulations in the previous year. The prospect of Congress reintroducing a prohibition on semi-automatic rifles seems distant, but obstacles to modification persist.

Based on an examination of data from 2006 onwards, the averages of 31.1 incidents of mass killings and 162 individuals killed per year only slightly surpass the numbers of 32 mass killings and 172 deaths that occurred in 2009 when the violence decreased. The rate of mass shootings thus far in the current year does not necessarily indicate a new record for the entire year.

In contemporary America, the slaughter still represents the highest number of deaths resulting from a mass shooting. 60 individuals perished when a shooter began firing during an open-air country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip during that specific year. According to the data, these types of calamities resulted in the deaths of 230 individuals in 2017, with a peak of 45 mass homicides in 2019. Within the past decade, horrifying milestones have been established.

Jaclyn Schildkraut, the executive director of the Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium at the Rockefeller Institute of Government, stated, “In actuality, if an individual is resolute in perpetrating mass violence, they will do so. As a society, it is our responsibility to endeavor in erecting impediments and hurdles to render such actions more arduous.”

Numerous significant policy shifts are on the horizon, but there is scant evidence at either the state or federal level — with a few notable cases.

Last week, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington signed a law banning certain types of semi-automatic rifles, while Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan signed a new law mandating criminal background checks for the purchase of shotguns and rifles, previously only required for buying pistols. Some states have been attempting to impose stricter gun control measures.

Following the shooting incident in March at the Nashville school, demonstrators gathered at the state Capitol in the traditionally conservative Tennessee to advocate for stricter firearm legislation. Several other states are also facing a renewed wave of public demand.

Last year, President Joe Biden signed a significant gun violence bill at the federal level, which enables courts and police to ask people showing signs of potentially taking a violent turn to use red flag laws. These laws help states and enable police to use red flags to ask courts to enable laws that allow tougher background checks for the youngest gun buyers, thus helping to prevent more domestic violence offenders from keeping firearms.

Despite the blaring headlines, statistically rare mass killings are perpetrated each year in a country with nearly 335 million people, and there is no way to predict whether this rate of events will continue in this year or not.

In the past few months, California has witnessed consecutive incidents of deadly violence, resembling the occurrence of back-to-back mass shootings in January.

Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, who manages the database, stated, “We should not necessarily anticipate that this — one instance of mass murder occurring less than every seven days — will persist. Hopefully, it will not.”

Advocates and experts continue to decry the proliferation of guns in the U.S. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw record sales.

John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, expressed, “We must acknowledge that this is not a sustainable way of life. We are not obliged to endure such circumstances. Furthermore, residing in a nation that promotes the widespread presence of firearms at all times and in all locations is unacceptable.”

Jaime Guttenberg would be 19 years old at present. Her father currently dedicates his time to advocating for gun control.

“But we must take immediate action to rectify this,” Guttenberg stated. “The data does not deceive. It’s all in the statistics. The current state of America should not come as a surprise.”