In the United States Mass killings by strangers or shot by loved ones. In small towns, in big cities, massacres were carried out in broad daylight inside or outside one’s own house. The relentless bloodshed across the United States this year resulted in one of the deadliest events: the deadliest six months of mass killings recorded since at least 2006. From January 1 to June 30, there were 28 mass murders in the country, all but one involving guns. The death toll increased almost every week due to a continuous cycle of violence and grief.
Six months. 181 days. 28 mass murders. 140 victims. A Country. “What a terrible milestone,” said Brent Leatherwood, whose three children were in class at a private Christian school in Nashville on March 27 when a former student killed three children and three adults. “You never think your family would be part of that kind of statistic. Leatherwood, a leading Republican in a state that has not strengthened gun laws, believes something needs to be done to take guns out of the hands of those who can turn violent. The shock of seeing bloodshed so close to home has prompted him to speak out. “You might as well say that people have landed on Mars, right? It’s hard to wrap your mind around it,” he said.
A mass murder is defined as an incident when four or more people, except the assailant, are killed within 24 hours. A database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University tracks this large-scale violence that occurred in 2006. The 2023 milestone broke the previous record of 27 mass murders, which was set in the second half of 2022 alone. James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University, never imagined such a record when he began overseeing the database nearly five years ago. “We used to say there were two to three dozen a year,” Fox said. The fact that there are 28 in half a year is a staggering statistic.
But the chaos of the first six months of 2023 doesn’t automatically ruin the last six months. Despite more violence over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the remainder of the year may remain calm. “Hopefully it was just a fluke,” said psychiatrist Dr. Amy Barnhorst, associate director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis. “There may be fewer murders later in 2023, or it may be part of a trend. But we won’t know for some time,” he added. Experts like Barnhorst and Fox attribute the increasing bloodshed to the increasing number of guns in the US coupled with a growing population. Yet despite all the headlines, mass killings are statistically rare and represent a fraction of the nation’s overall gun violence.
“We need to keep this in perspective,” Fox said. But mass violence often spurs efforts to reform gun laws, even if the efforts are not always successful. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, urged the General Assembly in the wake of the Nashville school shooting to pass legislation to keep firearms away from people who could harm themselves or others, so-called “red flags”. the law”, although Lee says the term is politically toxic. Getting such a measure passed in Tennessee is an uphill task. The Republican-led legislature adjourned earlier this year without gun control, prompting Lee to schedule a special session for August. Leatherwood, the former executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party and now head of the public policy arm of the influential Southern Baptist Convention, wrote a letter to lawmakers asking them to pass the governor’s proposal.
Leatherwood said he doesn’t want any other family to go through what his children experienced at the time of the shooting when they were in kindergarten, second grade and fourth grade. Recently one of his kids, preparing for sleepaway camp, asked if they would be safe there. “Our kid was asking, ‘Do you think there’s going to be a gunman at this camp? Do I need to be worried about that?’” Leatherwood said. Asking to keep it private, he used three guns in the attack, including an AR-15-style rifle. According to the database, it was the first of at least four mass killings with such a weapon in the first half of 2023. was one of
Guns were involved in almost all mass killings in the first half of this year, 27 out of 28. The second was a fire that killed four people at a home in Monroe, Louisiana. A 37-year-old man was arrested on charges of arson and murder in connection with the deaths on March 31. Despite the unprecedented carnage, the National Rifle Association strongly opposes regulating firearms, including AR-15-style rifles and similar weapons. “The continued efforts of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to dismantle the Second Amendment will not protect Americans; Instead, it will only encourage them.