According to the FBI, mass murder is described as “a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders. These events typically involved a single location, where the killer murdered a number of victims in an ongoing incident.”
The week started with the shooting rampage in a suburban Portland, Oregon mall with Jacob Tyler Roberts using a stolen AR-15 semi-automatic to kill two people and wound a third seriously.
Roberts would not qualify as a mass murderer. His is a shooting spree. The families of his victims could hardly care less.
Mass murder in America seemed to culminate with the Columbine killings in 1999 which left 12 dead. Then came the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre where Seung-Ho Choi gunned down 32 and wounded 15 others and reset the body count meter until today’s gruesome events. The timeline of death since Columbine to Newtown is a long and bloody one.
The United States averages 20 mass murder events a year but surprisingly though this is a violent country, it is not as violent as it once was. This is a fact worth noting.
But oh, when we do kill, we kill with purpose, we kill with passion and we kill in big numbers.
We will search for the meaning in the midst of madness. We will say we must delay a debate on guns until the dead have been counted and buried and a respectful interval has passed, but in truth, there is no debate and the issue has largely been settled in this country. Guns are popular. Restrictions on guns are not.
We’ve had a debate about guns in America. Guns won. Everyone else lost.
The defenders of guns will trot out their time-tested lines about how guns aren’t the problem; people misusing guns are. They will point to another act of school violence that occurred the same day in China where a madman with a knife wounded 22 children and one adult. The difference is none of those children died as opposed to the 20 children, six adults, plus the gunman who perished in Newton, Connecticut.
The NRA would sooner see a shooting spree every day before they would support legislation limiting the right to own any damn guy you want.
Something must be done. This is insane. We’re gunning down little boys and girls and their teachers as they try to defend them. If our youngest and most innocent are not safe from mindless violence none of us are. What that something is, nobody seems to know. Or if they do, nobody has the courage or the will to take on the gun lobby.
The spark of the holiday spirit was not burning brightly in me before the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Now it has been extinguished entirely.
The world is a beautiful place. The people on it? Not so much.
- Fuck You, Guns (jezebel.com)
- Expect More Shootings and More Horror (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- They Shoot Children, Don’t They? (zengardner.com)
- A Timeline Of Mass Shootings In The US Since Columbine (thinkprogress.org)