Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States

Ezra Klein in The Washington Post:

Mass-shooting-legallyIf roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing. If terrorists were detonating bombs in port after port, you can be sure Congress would be working to upgrade the nation’s security measures. If a plague was ripping through communities, public-health officials would be working feverishly to contain it. Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. “Too soon,” howl supporters of loose gun laws. But as others have observed, talking about how to stop mass shootings in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings isn’t “too soon.” It’s much too late. What follows here isn’t a policy agenda. It’s simply a set of facts — many of which complicate a search for easy answers — that should inform the discussion that we desperately need to have.

1. Shooting sprees are not rare in the United States.

Mother Jones has tracked and mapped every shooting spree in the last three decades. “Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii,” they found. And in most cases, the killers had obtained their weapons legally:

2. Eleven of the 20 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States.

Time has the full list here. In second place is Finland, with two entries.

More here.

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