Slain at the hands of strangers or gunned down by loved ones. Massacred in small towns, in big cities, inside their own homes or outside in broad daylight. This year’s unrelenting bloodshed across the U.S. has led to the grimmest of milestones: The deadliest six months of mass killings recorded since at least 2006.
An AP report said on 14 July 2023:
From Jan. 1 to June 30, the U.S. endured 28 mass killings, all but one of which involved guns. The death toll rose just about every week, a constant cycle of violence and grief.
Six months. 181 days. 28 mass killings. 140 victims. One country.
“What a ghastly milestone,” said Brent Leatherwood, whose three children were in class at a private Christian school in Nashville on March 27 when a former student killed three children and three adults. “You never think your family would be a part of a statistic like that.”
Leatherwood, a prominent Republican in a state that has not strengthened gun laws, believes something must be done to get guns out of the hands of people who might become violent. The shock of seeing the bloodshed strike so close to home has prompted him to speak out.
“You may as well say Martians have landed, right? It’s hard to wrap your mind around it,” he said.
Definition Of Mass killing
The AP report said:
A mass killing is defined as an occurrence when four or more people are slain, not including the assailant, within a 24-hour period. A database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University tracks this large-scale violence dating back to 2006.
The 2023 milestone beat the previous record of 27 mass killings, which was only set in the second half of 2022. James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University, never imagined records like this when he began overseeing the database about five years ago.
“We used to say there were two to three dozen a year,” Fox said. “The fact that there is 28 in half a year is a staggering statistic.”
“Hopefully it was just a blip,” said Dr. Amy Barnhorst, a psychiatrist who is the associate director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis.
“There could be fewer killings later in 2023, or this could be part of a trend. But we would not know for sometime,” she added.
Experts like Barnhorst and Fox attribute the rising bloodshed to a growing population with an increased number of guns in the U.S. Yet for all the headlines, mass killings are statistically rare and represent a fraction of the country’s overall gun violence.
“We need to keep it in perspective,” Fox said.
But the mass violence most often spurs attempts to reform gun laws, even if the efforts are not always successful.
The report added:
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, had urged the General Assembly in the wake of the Nashville school shooting to pass legislation keeping firearms away from people who could harm themselves or others, so-called “red flag laws,” though Lee says the term is politically toxic.
Getting such a measure passed in Tennessee is an uphill climb. The Republican-led Legislature adjourned earlier this year without taking on gun control, prompting Lee to schedule a special session for August.
Leatherwood, a former executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party and now the head of the influential Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm, wrote a letter to lawmakers asking them to pass the governor’s proposal.
Leatherwood said he does not want any other family to go through what his children experienced at the time of the shooting when they were in kindergarten, second grade and fourth grade. One of his kids, preparing for a recent sleepaway camp, asked whether they would be safe there.
“Our child was asking, ‘Do you think that there will be a gunman that comes to this camp? Do I need to be worried about that?’” Leatherwood said.
The Nashville shooter, whose writings Leatherwood and other parents are asking a court to keep private, used three guns in the attack, including an AR-15-style rifle. It was one of at least four mass killings in the first half of 2023 involving such a weapon, according to the database.
Nearly all of the mass killings in the first half of this year, 27 of 28, involved guns. The other was a fire that killed four people in a home in Monroe, Louisiana. A 37-year-old man was arrested on arson and murder charges in connection with the March 31 deaths.
Opposition To Regulating Gun
The AP report said:
Despite the unprecedented carnage, the National Rifle Association maintains fierce opposition to regulating firearms, including AR-15-style rifles and similar weapons.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ constant efforts to gut the Second Amendment will not usher in safety for Americans; instead, it will only embolden criminals,” NRA spokesman Billy McLaughlin said in a statement. “That is why the NRA continues our fight for self-defense laws. Rest assured, we will never bow, we will never retreat, and we will never apologize for championing the self-defense rights of law-abiding Americans.”
Tito Anchondo’s brother, Andre Anchondo, was among 23 people killed in a 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The gunman was sentenced last week to 90 consecutive life sentences but could face more punishment, including the death penalty. The prosecution of the racist attack on Hispanic shoppers in the border city was one of the U.S. government’s largest hate crime cases.
Andre Anchondo and his wife, Jordan, died shielding their 2-month-old son from bullets. Paul, who escaped with just broken bones, is now 4 years old.
Tito Anchondo said he feels like the country has forgotten about the El Paso victims in the years since and that not nearly enough has been done to stem the bloodshed. He worries about Paul’s future.
“I hope that things can drastically change because this country is going down a very, very slippery slope; a downward spiral,” he said. “It is just a little unnerving to know that he is eventually going to go to school with kids that also may bring a gun to school.”
Students at a nearby school pay respects at a memorial for the people who were killed, at an entry to Covenant School, March 28, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn., John Amis/AP, FILE, abc News
At Least 351 Mass Shootings So Far In 2023
A report by abc News said on May 8, 2023:
The abc News report said:
Though mass shootings don’t make up the majority of gun violence incidents in America, their impact on communities and victims is evident.
The Gun Violence Archive tracked more than 647 mass shootings in 2022 and 690 in 2021.
At this time last year, the country had experienced 318 mass shootings.
The report gave brief note at some of the mass shootings in the U.S. seen so far this year:
Nine people were injured in a drive-by shooting in Washington, D.C., early July 5 as residents were still celebrating the Fourth of July holiday, police said.
The shooting occurred shortly before 1 a.m. ET on Meade Street in the northeastern quadrant of the U.S. capital, according to the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.
All nine victims have non-life-threatening injuries. Two are children, ages 9 and 17, according to officials.
A suspect clad in a bulletproof vest and carrying a rifle and multiple rounds of ammunition opened fire in Philadelphia on July 3, killing at least five people and wounding two children, authorities said. The youngest of the deceased victims was only 15 years old.
Fort Worth, Texas
At least three people were killed and eight others were injured in a shooting on July 3 following an annual July 4 event called ComoFest in Fort Worth, Texas, police said.
At least 30 people were injured, two fatally, when a mass shooting erupted on July 2 in Baltimore at a neighborhood party.
The victims ranged from ages 13 to 32. The deceased victims were later identified by police by the Baltimore Police Department as Aaliyah Gonzales, 18, and Kylis Fagbemi, 20.
Eight people were killed and seven others were injured when a gunman opened fire at an outdoor mall north of Dallas, Texas, on May 6, according to officials.
One person is dead and four are injured in a mass shooting at an Atlanta medical center on May 3, police said.
Five people are dead after being shot in a Texas home by a suspect armed with an AR-15 style rifle in a horrific series of “execution style” shootings on April 28, police said.
Four people were killed and 28 others injured when a mass shooting broke out at a crowded sweet 16 birthday party in rural Dadeville, Alabama, on the night of April 15, authorities said.
Tallapoosa County Coroner Mike Knox has identified the four people declared dead from the shooting: 23-year-old Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 19-year-old Marsiah Emmanuel Collins, 18-year-old Philstavious Dowdell and 17-year-old Shaunkivia Nicole Smith.
Four people are dead and eight others, including two police officers, have been injured following a mass shooting at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday morning, according to police.
Three children and three staff members were shot and killed at a private school in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 27, according to an official at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The shooting unfolded Monday morning at the Covenant School, a Christian school for students in preschool through sixth grade.
The suspect, who was identified as a 28-year-old by police, was shot and killed by law enforcement officers in a lobby area on the second floor of the school, police said at a news conference.
Michigan State University
Three people are dead and five others are injured after a shooting at multiple locations on Michigan State University’s East Lansing campus on the night of Feb. 13, according to local police. The suspect has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said.
Police initially received 911 calls of shots fired at 8:18 p.m. in Berkey Hall and located “several” victims there when responding, Chris Rozman, interim deputy chief of MSU Police and Public Safety, said. Police then received a report of another shooting and responded to the MSU Union building, where they found other victims, according to Rozman.
Police are still working to determine the suspect’s possible motive, the interim deputy chief said.
At least one person is dead and seven more people were injured in a shooting in Oakland, California, on the night of Jan. 23.
Authorities have not yet disclosed a possible motivation for this shooting.
The shooting in Oakland was the third mass shooting in California in just three days.
Half Moon Bay, California
At least 7 people were killed and several more were left seriously injured in a shooting at two locations in Half Moon Bay, California on Jan. 23.
The suspect has been identified as 67-year-old Chunli Zhao. The incident remains under investigation and a motive was unknown, the sheriff’s office said.
“At this time, we are aware of eight victims, one who is deceased and the remaining victims were listed in stable condition,” the OPD said.
Monterey Park, California
At least 11 people were killed, and 10 others injured after a gunman opened fire at a dance studio near a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California on Jan. 21.
Suspect Huu Can Tran, 72, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside a white cargo van in Torrance that law enforcement officers had surrounded and forced their way into about 30 miles from where the massacre occurred, authorities said.
A motive for the Monterey Park shooting is not clear, according to authorities. According to law enforcement sources, domestic violence is one of the scenarios they are looking into.
Still, the mass shooting has compounded ongoing fears from Asian Americans following a rise of anti-Asian racism and violence, community members say.
Enoch City, Utah
A family of eight people, including five children, were found dead with apparent gunshot wounds in a Utah home on Jan. 4 after police conducted a welfare check, according to the officials in Enoch City, Utah.
According to City Manager Rob Dotson, a welfare check was called into the police department that evening.
Dotson indicated that police are unaware of a motive. He also said law enforcement from Enoch City, Iron County, Cedar City are cooperating in the investigation.
“We all know this family; many of us have served with them in church, and community, and gone to school with these individuals,” Dotson said at a press conference. “And so this community at this time is hurting, they’re feeling loss, they are feeling pain, they have a lot of questions which is natural.”
Eleven people were shot in an altercation that left two dead and three in critical condition, according to Huntsville ABC affiliate WAAY.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office said investigators arrested three 16-year-olds and two adults in connection with the shooting.