Mass shootings in the US keep increasing

December 7, 2021

Mass shootings in the US keep increasing

Mass shootings in the US increase as politicians put the gun issue on the back burner.

The shocking mass shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan on November 30 has reignited the debate about the issue of gun violence in America.

A 15-year-old student opened fire, killed four schoolmates, and injured seven others, including a teacher. The suspect Ethan Crumbley was arrested and charged as an adult.

The accused gunman is facing 24 counts of terrorism, murder, and felony possession of a firearm. His parents — Jennifer and James Crumbley — were charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The parents had reportedly purchased the gun for their child as an early Christmas present.

While the issue grabbed less attention in the media in the past years, it remains a huge problem. Experts have put forward comprehensive plans to tackle the issue, but none of them have been able to really make a lasting difference.

Gun violence is a complex issue to address comprehensively in a country where culture, politics, and money are all intertwined in a combustible mix.

In some other developed nations like New Zealand, there is a greater consensus on gun violence, which makes it easier to enact new measures to address the issue.

In the past decade, the gap between Democrats and Republicans has widened. The split has led many to believe that new broad legislation on guns is unlikely to cross the finish line in the next 10 to 15 years.

There is even a lively debate about how to define the term mass shooting.

Mass shooting in the US has different definitions

Depending on the source covering the issue, the definition of what is considered a mass shooting might change slightly. There are seven reputable sources with their own interpretation of the data.

The plethora of sources with data makes it hard to have a complete picture of this situation.

Some have used the confusion to debate the extent of the problem facing the country.

Gun Violence Archive is one of the most reputed sources on the subject. It defines a mass shooting as one where four people or more are killed or injured at one location and around the same time, and the perpetrators are not included.

The Violence Project, a nonpartisan nonprofit, uses the definition of the Congressional Research Service, which is more specific and narrow.

This definition says that a mass shooting involves four or more people being shot and killed during one incident in a public space. The perpetrators are not included, and gang-related killings and profit killings are excluded from the data.

The different definitions do not affect the overall landscape. Mass shootings have been plaguing America for a very long time and are almost part of its fabric.

The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Columbine, Colorado, have all changed the American psyche.

Unfortunately, the same tragic stories continue to unfold in 2021.

Mass shootings are on the rise in 2021

A look at the data shows there have been at least 638 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2021 compared to 615 in 2020. Here is a partial list of some of the shootings that got more coverage in the media.

On May 26, nine people were killed in San Jose, California, at a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) control center. The gunman was a transit worker who took his own life.

The 2021 Boulder shooting on March 22 claimed the lives of 10 people and injured two others who were at a grocery store.

The victims include a police officer. The suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa has been charged with ten counts of murder. On December 3, the suspect was found mentally incompetent to stand trial by a judge.

On April 15, the Indianapolis FedEx shooting saw nine people killed, including the shooter, and seven injured. The gunman Brandon Scott Hole used to work at the facility.

Mass shootings are part of the larger gun problem that America is facing. Firearms have become one of the leading causes of death for Americans in the past five years.

Many thought the coronavirus was going to slow down the increase. However, the numbers tell a different story.

During the COVID-19 pandemic

As the media was focused on covering the coronavirus pandemic, reporters gave less attention to gun violence. The change created the impression that there was a decline.

Contrary to popular belief, a new study revealed that the lockdowns did not slow down gun violence in America. For example, the number of mass shootings doubled in July 2020 compared to the previous year.

According to the JAMA Open Network, in the 15-month period from April 2020 to July of this year, there were 343 more mass shootings in the US. This increase translated into 217 more people killed and 1,498 more people injured compared to what was expected.

The numbers were up in 882 cities. Researchers put forward economic and social factors to explain what is happening in the country. Others have blamed politicians for failing to address the issue in a forceful way.

Politicians have given up on gun safety legislation

Some observers say to reduce mass shootings and gun-related violence in the US, the two sides of the political spectrum need to get serious.

Interestingly, the dramatic increase started in the past five years, and the conversation about guns has also shifted.

During former President Barack Obama‘s tenure in the White House, he often played the role of consoler-in-chief and advocated for more gun regulations.

Although he was not able to get anything meaningful done on the issue, it was a constant refrain that seemed to animate him. His successor, former President Donald Trump, had a different position on the issue.

Trump is a big backer of the Second Amendment, the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms.

President Joe Biden, who is a realist by all accounts, has more or less abandoned the issue and barely mentioned it during the 2020 campaign.

The two parties do not see guns the same way. This makes compromise almost impossible. A congressman illustrated the split this week.

As people on the left were asking for gun control measures after the shooting in Michigan, U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who was elected in a solidly Republican district, posted a Christmas family photo on Twitter where all seven members are holding firearms.

He wished his followers a “Merry Christmas!” Massie also asked them to bring “ammo.”

The politician faced a backlash, but that is not expected to move the needle on the issue of mass shootings in America.

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