Frequent shootings put US mass killings on a record pace

Los Angeles: The U.S. is setting a record pace for mass killings in 2023, replaying the horror on a loop roughly once a week so far this year.

The carnage has taken 88 lives in 17 mass killings over 111 days. Each time, the killers wielded firearms. Only 2009 was marked by as many such tragedies in the same period of time.

Children at a Nashville grade school, gunned down on an ordinary Monday. Farmworkers in Northern California, sprayed with bullets over a workplace grudge. Dancers at a ballroom outside Los Angeles, massacred as they celebrated the Lunar New Year.

In just the last week, four partygoers were slain and 32 injured in Dadeville, Alabama, when bullets rained down on a Sweet 16 celebration. And a man just released from prison fatally shot four people, including his parents, in Bowdoin, Maine, before opening fire on motorists traveling a busy interstate highway.

“Nobody should be shocked,” said Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was one of 17 people killed at a Parkland, Florida, high school in 2018. “I visit my daughter in a cemetery. Outrage doesn’t begin to describe how I feel.”

The Parkland victims are among the 2,842 people who have died in mass killings in the U.S. since 2006, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today, in partnership with Northeastern University. It counts killings involving four or more fatalities, not including the perpetrator, the same standard as the FBI, and tracks a number of variables for each.

The bloodshed represents just a fraction of the fatal violence that occurs in the U.S. annually. Yet mass killings are happening with staggering frequency this year: an average of once every 6.53 days, according to an analysis of The AP/USA Today data.

The 2023 numbers stand out even more when they are compared to the tally for full-year totals since data was collected. The U.S. recorded 30 or fewer mass killings in more than half of the years in the database, so to be at 17 less than a third of the way through is remarkable.

From coast to coast, the violence is sparked by a range of motives. Murder-suicides and domestic violence; gang retaliation; school shootings and workplace vendettas. All have taken the lives of four or more people at once since Jan. 1.

Image courtesy of (Image: Times Leader)

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