The rise of mass gun violence in America

THE GUN VIOLENCE ARCHIVE reports the location of mass shootings in 2021 and much more information regarding each occurrence. via the GVA

Reaghan Mulligan | Opinion Editor

April 22, 2021

Only 110 days into the new year, and America is beginning to face another epidemic—the exponential increase of mass shootings in such a short period of time. In the past decade, the amount of shooting occurrences categorized under ‘mass shootings’ has significantly grown.

The FBI has categorized mass shootings when four or more fatalities occurred, however this number is not stagnant across the board. Stanford University, on the other hand, defines a mass shooting as an occurrence with three or more victims of the shooting regardless of fatal casualties or not. The Gun Violence Archive (GVA), a not for profit organization formed in 2013 designed to gather incidents of gun crimes in the United States, classifies mass shootings as any incident where four or more people—excluding the shooter—are shot.

Less than halfway through the year, and the number of mass shootings, according to the GVA, has surpassed 150. In April itself we have seen around 44 fatalities caused by these events.

Obviously there’s a problem.

“It makes me disappointed in our society,” sophomore Kayla McLaughlin said. “The United States is basically known for its numerous shootings per year.” 

Multiple shootings that produced significant numbers of casualties occurred in the past few months—notably the mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado and more recently, gun violence at a FedEx Facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

The Indianapolis shooting resulting in the death of nine people; eight being victims, and the ninth being the suspect himself. The shooter, 19-year-old Brandon Hole, was found with multiple self inflicted gunshots using rifles he legally purchased. 

According to Indianapolis Metro Deputy Chief Craig McCartt, most of the incident had already taken place before officers were able to arrive. Once they were on scene, Hole had already taken his own life—most likely moments before the officers entered the building.

According to Hole’s mother, Hole had bought a shotgun the year prior, and she worried that he would commit ‘suicide by cop’, even informing the Indianapolis FBI of her concerns. He was placed on ‘mental health temporary hold’ and subjected to interviews from the FBI, however according to their statement, no racially motivated violent extremism was identified. 

It is to be noted that four of the eight victims of the FedEx shootings were part of the Sikh community, a religion originating in South Asia, but reports withhold conclusions of racial motivation—many recounts of the situation recall Brandon’s actions as random, and McCartt declared his own uncertainty on the shooter’s motivation.

#ENDGUNVIOLENCE: a woman displays this message on her shirt at a vigil for the eight victims of the Indianapolis shooting. AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Many other fatal shootings have occurred just in the past 22 days of April. As America is finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic, the exponential rise of mass shootings—both before and after COVID-19—should be something that we as Americans turn our attention to. 

“It’s become a habit of mine now to watch whoever comes into the store, movie theater, or general area that I am in and constantly think of what to do if someone were to come in with a gun,” junior Samantha Shaw said. “This shouldn’t be something we have to constantly fear, and some sort of action must be taken.”

While the issue of gun control is an incredibly complex subject, with countless observations coming from polarized voices, it is undeniable that something must be done to curb the rise of gun violence in America.

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