MASS SHOOTINGS IN AMERICA HAVE BECOME SO COMMONPLACE THAT IT’S ALMOST NEWS WHEN WE GO A WEEK WITHOUT ONE. THE SHOCK VALUE DECLINES WITH EACH NEW EPISODE IN THIS BLOODY MINISERIES—UNTIL THE RECORD FOR NUMBER OF DEAD IS BROKEN YET AGAIN.
In 2012 the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut (27 killed), and a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado (12 killed, 50 wounded), set the pace for a grisly trend. A year later a former Navy enlisted man, Aaron Alexis, shot down 12 in the Washington Navy Yard. In 2014 a gunman at Fort Hood, Texas, tallied three dead and 16 wounded; and 22-year-old Elliot Rodger slaughtered six and injured 13 in Isla Vista, California. 2015 saw teenage racist Dylan Roof killing nine at a black church in Charleston; Christopher Harper-Mercer, a white supremacist with mental health issues and an arsenal of 14 guns, also massacred nine at a college in Roseburg, Oregon; in Colorado Springs, a gunman murdered three at a Planned Parenthood clinic; Mohammad Abdulazeez killed four and injured three at military bases in Chattanooga, Tennessee; and the list goes on and on and on. According to the database Mass Shooting Tracker, there were 67 mass shootings in 2015, one every five and a half days.
The record for most deaths was broken in June 2016, when Omar Mateen shot up a gay nightclub in Orlando, executing 49 and wounding 53 before being killed by a SWAT team. The horrendous event brought many of the changes and conflicts roiling America to a volcanic focus: radical Islam and terrorism, FBI counterterrorism strategies, gun control, persistent racism, openly gay sexuality and our bloody military stalemate in the Middle East.
A STUDY OF MASS SHOOTINGS BETWEEN 2006 AND 2013 SHOWED THAT NEARLY ONE-THIRD OF VICTIMS WERE UNDER THE AGE OF 18, WITH AN AVERAGE AGE OF EIGHT.