This is a sad list indeed, and sadly still, purely American. In Remembrance, let us never forget the victims and their families of America’s Top Mass Shootings. All occurred since the attempted assassination of Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1981 by John Hinckley in Washington D.C. Perhaps unbelievable to non-Americans, U.S. gun regulations have relaxed, not increased, in the 40+ years since then. This is due in large part to the successful Congressional and White House lobbying efforts of the wealthy and powerful National Rifle Association (NRA). It represents primarily gun manufacturers. The NRA widely interprets Second Amendment rights of Americans to bear unlimited, unrestricted arms under the U.S. Constitution. Here then are the Top Ten:
#1 – October 1, 2017, Las Vegas, Nevada
59 KILLED (age 20 to 67) , 500 INJURED, massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, an outdoor, evening country music concert. The gunman shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino next door on the Las Vegas Strip.
Killer: Stephen Paddock, 64, retired real estate broker and high stakes gambler using multiple, semi-automatic assault rifles with high capacity magazines and “bump stocks” to allow automatic firing. The gunman committed suicide.
#2 – June 12, 2016, Orlando, Florida
49 KILLED (mostly Hispanic), 58 INJURED, mainly LGBTQ patrons and staff at the popular and crowded Orlando Pulse Nightclub, at around 2:00am during ‘Latin Night.’ The killer shot into the dance floor, bathrooms, patio, and exits.
Killer: Omar Mateen, 29, a married security guard from Port St. Lucie, using a semi-automatic assault rifle with high capacity magazines and a 9mm pistol. He was killed by police after a 3 hour siege/hostage situation at the club.
#3 – April 16, 2007, Blacksburg, Virginia
32 KILLED (27 students/5 faculty), 17 INJURED during spring semester classes at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA. The gunman fired in both the Johnston Hall dormitory first, and later that morning at the Norris Hall classroom building.
Killer: Seung Hui Cho, 23, a depressed South Korean Virginia Tech senior, freely roaming the campus using a semi-automatic handgun and 9mm pistol. The gunman had chained all exit doors of Norris Hall shut and later committed suicide.
#4 – December 14, 2012, Newtown, Connecticut
27 KILLED (including 20 Children & 7 teachers), 1 INJURED during morning classes at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman shot into two first grade classrooms. The teachers had herded children into the bathrooms to hide.
Killer: Adam Lanza, 20, suffering with depression, anxiety and OCD; using his mother’s semi-automatic assault rifle with 10 magazines and 9mm pistol. He first killed his own mother in the head at home. The gunman committed suicide.
#5 – November 5th, 2017, Sutherland Springs, Texas
26 KILLED (17 adults / 8 children), 22 INJURED, including an unborn child, during Sunday morning services at the First Baptist Church. The gunman walked down the center aisle of the church, shooting into the pews before escaping in his car.
Killer: Devin Kelley, a divorced outcast with a domestic assault record, using an AR-556 semi-automatic rifle with high capacity magazines and 9mm Pistol. The gunman committed suicide following a car chase with police.
#6 – August 3, 2019, El Paso, Texas
23 KILLED (ages 15 – 56), 23 INJURED, mainly Latino patrons and staff, shopping and working at an El Paso Walmart Supercenter near the Mexican border. The gunman had a history of posting internet anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic hate.
Killer: Patrick Crusius, 21, a Texas far right, white nationalist, with a semi-automatic version of an AR-47 military style assault rifle with extra magazines. The gunman surrendered to police and is still awaiting trial due to COVID delays.
#7 – October, 16, 1991, Killeen, Texas
22 KILLED (age 33 – 75) , 20 INJURED at the crowded Luby’s Cafeteria, during the lunch hour on Boss’s Day. There were over 150 customers, who hid under tables as the gunman walked through the large restaurant shooting primarily women.
Killer: George Jo Hennard, 35, unemployed, unmarried ex-Merchant Marine, drove his pick-up truck through the front window and used several semi-automatic pistols. The gunman refused to surrender and committed suicide.
#8 – July 18, 1984, San Ysidro, California
21 KILLED (10 children / 11 adults) , 19 INJURED at a popular and busy local McDonald’s restaurant, following an hour long siege that started at 4pm, followed by the gunman taking numerous hostages amongst the survivors.
Killer: James Oliver Huberty, 41-year-old married, unemployed security guard entered the restaurant at 4:00 PM with a Uzi submachine, shotgun, and pistol. The gunman was killed by a police sniper 70 minutes later.
#9 – May 24, 2022, Uvalde, Texas
21 KILLED (19 students / 2 teachers), 15 INJURED at Robb Elementary School. The gunman entered the school through an unlocked door around 11:30am, walked into four classrooms and opened fire on the teachers and students, including those hiding beneath desks.
Killers: Salvador Ramos, 18, a former student, using a legally purchased AR-15 style assault rifle with seven, 30 round magazines. After a 1 hour 15 minute stand off in a school classroom, he was fatally shot by the police.
#10 – February 14, 2018, Parkland, Florida
17 KILLED (14 students / 3 teachers), 17 INJURED during afternoon classes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The gunman entered the school and began firing indiscriminately in the halls and classrooms over three floors as the students fled.
Killer: Nicholas Cruz, 19, former high school student, armed with an AR-15 military style assault rifle and several high capacity magazines. The gunman fled with the students, was later arrested, and pleaded guilty to all charges.=
Here then, for your own interpretation, is the short text of the 1789 Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”U.S. Constitution Second Amendment, 1789
The 2012 Sandy Hook and 2018 Parkland, Florida shooting of so many young students galvanized the anti-gun violence movement and the victim’s families. Students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School declared ‘Never Again‘ and a month later the teens marched on Washington DC in a highly visible rally, demanding gun reforms from Congress. They asked for universal background checks and banning semi-automatic, military-style assault rifles with high capacity magazines.
The NRA redoubled their lobbying efforts after each tragedy. Neither ban has yet to materialize from either house of Congress, or the White House, in the years since. If anything, many individual state governments have relaxed their gun restrictions under relentless pressure from the NRA. We no longer ask ourselves, “How could this have happened again?” We know the answer as soon as the politicians say, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims families.“
For more by historical writer Paul Andrews, click BOOKS.
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