Either shot to death by family members or killed by a stranger. Massacred in tiny villages, large cities, their own houses, or in public throughout the day. The grimmest of milestones has been reached as a result of this year’s relentless violence throughout the United States: the worst six months for mass murders since at least 2006.
The country had 28 mass murders between January 1 and June 30; all but one used firearms. The number of fatalities increased almost weekly, creating a never-ending cycle of violence and misery.
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“What a ghastly milestone,” said Brent Leatherwood, whose three children were in the Nashville private Christian school on the day a former student massacred six people, including three children and three adults. You never imagine that your family will be included in such a statistic.
A well-known Republican in a state with lax gun restrictions, Leatherwood, thinks action has to be taken to keep weapons out of the hands of potential dangerous criminals. He has spoken up because he was shocked to witness the violence occur so close to home.
A mass killing occurs when four or more people—not counting the attacker—are killed within a 24-hour period. The Associated Press, USA Today, and Northeastern University collaborate to maintain a database that records this widespread violence going back to 2006.
The previous record of 27 mass murders, which was only established in the second part of 2022, was surpassed in 2023. When he started managing the database approximately five years ago, James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University, never dreamed of seeing records like these.
“We used to say there were two to three dozen a year,” Fox remarked. 28 in half a year is a startling figure, in my opinion.
However, the instability of the first half of 2023 does not always spell disaster for the latter half. Despite higher violence over the Fourth of July weekend, the rest of the year could be less violent.
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“Hopefully it was just a blip,” said Dr. Amy Barnhorst, a psychiatrist and assistant head of the University of California, Davis Violence Prevention Research Programme.
Later in 2023, there could be fewer murders, or perhaps this is just a pattern. But it won’t be for a while, she said.
Experts like Barnhorst and Fox blame the surge in carnage to the U.S.’s expanding population and rising gun ownership rates.