They happen with disturbing regularity, two over the weekend. More on them below.
Gun Violence Archive maintains a database of reported shootings in the US, information gotten from law enforcement, media, and government sources.
In 2019, it reported 33,028 gun violence incidents through August 3, causing 8,732 deaths and 17,296 injuries, around 3,000 children and teens affected.
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40,000 Americans were killed by gun violence in 2017.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reported the following:
- 100 Americans are killed by gun violence daily, around 36,000 annually
- 100,000 Americans are shot and injured each year
- In 2017, gun deaths reached their highest level in at least 40 years, 39,773 deaths reported
- Gun deaths increased by 16% from 2014 to 2017.
The above data is from US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The US is a gun society, more firearms owned by civilians than in any other nations worldwide — including deadly, high-capacity, military-style semi-automatic weapons readily available to anyone able to afford them.
Guns in America can almost be be bought as easily as toothpaste. Ownership lowers the threshold between anger and homicide. Proliferation leaves everyone vulnerable.
The right to own, carry, conceal and use guns is a disturbing American tradition, unjustifiably justified by the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
It’s the most misinterpreted and abused constitutional and statute law, the influential gun lobby bearing much of the blame, politicians bought to go along.
The nation’s framers had no intention of creating a gun-toting society. In 2010, the Supreme Court, in a 5 – 4 ruling, struck down state and local laws banning concealed weapons as unconstitutional.
While people, not guns, kill, regulatory laxity makes it easier. According to a 2018 global Small Arms Survey conducted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, there are more guns in the US than people — an estimated 120.5 guns for every 100 residents, double the rate of the next highest ownership-level nation, Yemen.
Proliferation of guns in America and ease of obtaining them correlates directly with the national homicide rate.
It’s the highest by far among developed countries and most others — public passion for gun ownership, promoted by the gun lobby, a significant part of the problem.
US culture breeds violence at home and abroad. Children are exposed to it multiple times daily in movie theaters, films shown on television, violent video games, even music with violent lyrics.
Endless gun related incidents are symptomatic of the US culture of violence ingrained into the public mind to seem natural.
Earlier studies showed the average US child watches around 200,000 acts of violence on television before age-18, including thousands of murders.
Years after television arrived in the late 1940s, US homicide rates doubled. Violent behavior multiplied. Inner city school performance declined. Illicit drug and tobacco use along with promiscuous sexual activity increased.
Studies show a consistent correlation between witnessed violence and aggressive behavior.
Committing murder with impunity in the US is as simple as becoming a cop, wearing a badge, and carrying a firearm.
US inner city minority communities are virtual war zones. Police alone kill over 1,000 victims annually, mostly Black and Latino male youths — called “justifiable homicides,” a euphemism most often for cold-blooded murder.
Two mass shooting incidents occurred in the US over the weekend.
In El Paso, Texas, at least 20 people were lethally shot, over two dozen others injured by a gunman at a Walmart store, the deadliest 2019 US gun violence incident — so far.
A reported lone gunman was apprehended by police, identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, an alt-right Trump supporter, based on his social media content — an easily obtained semi-automatic assault rifle his weapon of choice.
CCTV footage showed him entering the store, likely capturing the entire incident on tape.
The shooter reportedly posted a manifesto online, declaring his racist views toward the area’s large Hispanic population, showing hatred toward non-whites.
Attributing the material to him has yet to be confirmed. It appeared online shortly before the incident. The shooter is from Allen, TX, over 650 miles east of El Paso, north of Dallas.
It’s unexplained why he was in El Paso. The published manifesto says:
“…I support the Christchurch (New Zealand) shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
Overnight Sunday at around 1:00AM, a second mass shooting weekend incident occurred in Dayton, Ohio’s downtown Oregon Historic District.
Reportedly a lone unnamed gunman killed 10, wounding at least 16 others at the entrance of Ned Peppers bar before being lethally shot by police.
Police Lt. Col. Matt Carper said the weapon used was a “long gun,” adding:
“We’re trying to identify the motivation behind this.”
According to Montgomery County Emergency Services public information officer Deb Decker, the alleged shooter wore body armor.
Both incidents are developing stories. Many questions about them remain unanswered, including how the alleged Dayton gunman was lethally shot, protected by a bulletproof vest, likely requiring a head shot to kill.
Based on reports from both cities, at least 29 mass-shooting gun-related deaths occurred over the weekend, over 40 others wounded.
Virtually any US urban or rural community can go from normal activities to free-fire zones in moments.
US streets, shopping malls, and other locations can be hazardous to the lives and safety of nonviolent Americans.
A personal note. Weeks earlier during an early morning walk for exercise along my normal route, I entered a crime scene adjacent to a city park on one side of the street and Northwestern University Law School on the other.
Shootings occurred an hour or so before I passed the scene of the crime. Police were roping if off, Chicago CBS television there covering it.
Asked if I’d comment on what happened by a reporter on the scene, I was eager to express my views.
The taped interview lasted 3 or 4 minutes. I stressed my concern about the US culture of violence at home and abroad.
When aired later the same day, my most important remarks were edited out — unsurprisingly.
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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Featured image is from Twitter