Grim Milestone: Record-Breaking Six Months of Mass Killings in the US

Murdered by complete strangers or shot dead by close ones. Murdered in the middle of the night or in broad daylight, in remote villages or bustling metropolises. The relentless violence in the United States this year has resulted in a tragic milestone: the worst six months of mass killings since at least 2006.

There were 28 mass shootings in the United States between January 1 and June 30. The death toll seemed to rise every week, creating a never-ending loop of tragedy. Duration of 6 months. 181 days. Death toll rises to 28. 140 fatalities. A single nation.

“What a ghastly milestone,” said Brent Leatherwood, whose three children were among those killed on March 27 at a private Christian school in Nashville. To quote one respondent: “You never think your family would be a part of a statistic like that.”

Even though his state hasn’t strengthened gun regulations, Leatherwood, a renowned Republican, nevertheless thinks action must be taken to prevent dangerous extremists from obtaining firearms. He felt compelled to speak up after witnessing the violence so close to home.

The tweet below verifies the news:

You may as well say Martians have landed, right? It’s hard to wrap your mind around it,” he said. A mass murder occurs when four or more persons are killed (not counting the perpetrator) in one incident that lasts for less than 24 hours.

The Associated Press and USA Today, in collaboration with Northeastern University, have been keeping track of these instances of widespread violence since 2006. The 27 mass murders recorded in the second half of 2022 were surpassed by the 2023 milestone.

When Northeastern University criminology professor James Alan Fox took over database management five years ago, he could never have envisioned keeping records of this magnitude.“We used to say there were two to three dozen a year,” Fox said. “The fact that there’s 28 in half a year is a staggering statistic.”

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The second half of 2023 may not be doomed to the same level of upheaval as the first half. While the Fourth of July holiday weekend saw an increase in violence, the rest of the year may be less volatile. Associate director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis and psychiatrist Dr. Amy Barnhorst expressed hope that the recent spike in violence was an anomaly.

“There could be fewer killings later in 2023, or this could be part of a trend. But we won’t know for sometime,” she added. The growing population and the increased availability of firearms in the United States is to blame, say experts like Barnhorst and Fox.

Despite their prevalence in the news, mass shootings account for a small percentage of all gun deaths in the United States. “We need to keep it in perspective,” Fox said. However, initiatives to modify gun regulations are usually prompted by mass violence, even if they are not always successful.

Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Lee, thinks the term “red flag laws” is politically poisonous, but he has asked the General Assembly to approve such legislation in the wake of the Nashville school killing. It will be difficult to approve such a bill in Tennessee.

Earlier this year, the Republican-led Legislature left town without addressing gun control, so Lee called for a special session in August. In a letter to legislators, Leatherwood urged them to approve the governor’s proposal. Leatherwood is the former executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party and the current leader of the influential Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm.

Leatherwood said he did not want any other family to have to go through what he did with his children, who were in kindergarten, second grade, and fourth grade at the time of the incident. Recently, one of his children asked him whether they would be safe at a sleepaway camp.

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Do you suppose there will be a gunman who comes to this camp?’ our kid asked. Is it reasonable for me to be concerned? Leatherwood declared. The Nashville shooter used three firearms, one of which was an AR-15-style weapon, and his parents are seeking the court to seal his writings.

At least four more mass murders in the first half of 2023 involved such a weapon, the database shows. Guns were used in 27 out of the 28 mass shootings in the first half of this year. Four individuals perished in a house fire in Monroe, Louisiana. A 37-year-old male was taken into custody on suspicion of murder and arson on March 31.

The National Rifle Association is staunchly opposed to any regulations on firearms, especially AR-15s and comparable weapons, despite the unparalleled devastation that has resulted from their use. “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.” Andre Anchondo, the brother of Tito Anchondo, was one of 23 persons shot and killed in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in 2019.

The gunman was given 90 consecutive life sentences last Thursday, but he still faces the possibility of the death penalty and other punishments. One of the largest hate crime instances prosecuted by the United States government was the racist attack on Hispanic shoppers in the border city.

Andre Anchondo and his wife, Jordan, gave their lives protecting their infant baby from gunfire. Paul, who escaped with only fractures, is now four years old. Tito Anchondo has expressed his disappointment that not enough has been done to prevent further violence since El Paso. His concern about Paul’s future is palpable.

“I hope that things can drastically change because this country is going down a very, very slippery slope; a downward spiral,” he said. “It’s just a little unnerving to know that he’s eventually going to go to school with kids that also may bring a gun to school.”

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