US on the brink of hitting a new high for mass killings as 2023 numbers spike - Hindustan Times
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US on the brink of hitting a new high for mass killings as 2023 numbers spike

Dec 08, 2023 08:44 PM IST

Mass killings, defined as incidents involving the death of four or more people, excluding the perpetrator, remain infrequent but have seen a concerning uptick.

The United States has experienced a surge in mass killings, with 42 incidents recorded in 2023, nearing the grim record set in 2019. The recent attacks in Nevada and Texas mark the latest tragedies in a year marred by a spike in the number of such violent events.

LISBON, MAINE - OCTOBER 28: In an aerial view, law enforcement officials are seen investigating the area where Robert Card, the suspect in two mass killings, was found dead on October 28, 2023 in Lisbon, Maine. Mr. Card, who allegedly killed 18 people in a mass shooting at a bowling alley and restaurant in Lewiston was found dead in nearby Lisbon. (Getty Images via AFP)
LISBON, MAINE - OCTOBER 28: In an aerial view, law enforcement officials are seen investigating the area where Robert Card, the suspect in two mass killings, was found dead on October 28, 2023 in Lisbon, Maine. Mr. Card, who allegedly killed 18 people in a mass shooting at a bowling alley and restaurant in Lewiston was found dead in nearby Lisbon. (Getty Images via AFP)

Renowned Northeastern University professor James Alan Fox, a seasoned researcher in mass killings, reflects on the disturbing trend, stating, "Whether it's a record or not, it's obviously quite disturbing that we are creeping towards that high mark."

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Mass killings, defined as incidents involving the death of four or more people, excluding the perpetrator, remain infrequent but have seen a concerning uptick. The year 2019 holds the record with 46 mass killings, notably the El Paso Walmart shooting.

Fox sheds light on the 2023 scenario, revealing that over 40 mass killings have occurred, with only three deviating from gun-related violence. The prevalence of such incidents seems to be accelerating, surpassing previous years by July.

The year 2023 has witnessed an unprecedented 10 mass shootings in public places, according to Fox, a startling record for the nation. Disturbingly, the toll stands at 632 mass shootings, leaving 1,336 dead and 2,625 injured, as reported by the Gun Violence Archive.

Also Read | Frequent shootings put US mass killings on record pace

President Joe Biden, acknowledging the gravity of the situation, urged Congress to address the "epidemic of gun violence," emphasizing the need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Fox attributes the rise in mass shootings to factors like lax gun laws, high-capacity magazines, and the prevalence of weapons. He also acknowledges the influence of non-gun-related factors such as the pandemic, economic hardship, and the political environment.

While the fear of mass shootings is on the rise, Fox emphasizes the rarity of such incidents. Predicting future trends remains challenging, given the multifaceted nature of social and economic factors influencing these tragic events.

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