Americans reeling from wave of shooting massacres

In 2022, the United States recorded its first shooting massacre of the year on January 23. By the same time this year, there have been six mass shootings that have claimed the lives of 39 people and left communities shocked by the surge in violence across the nation.

Eleven people killed while celebrating Lunar New Year in a dance hall popular with older Asian-Americans. Seven Chinese and Hispanic farmers killed amid the serene beauty of Half Moon Bay, California. A 17-year-old mother and her baby were killed at point-blank range in an attack that left six dead across five generations of her family.

“At the end of the day, there are too many guns in this country. And there has to be a change. This is not an acceptable way for a modern society to live and run its business,” San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dave Pine said Monday shortly after the shooting at a mushroom farm located 48 kilometers (30 miles) south of San Francisco. “We are heartbroken.”

The sad news from Half Moon Bay came as Californians were still trying to process the weekend massacre at the ballroom in Monterey Park, an Asian-American community on the eastern edge of Los Angeles.

In recent years, Americans have learned to live with mass shootings at churches, supermarkets, concerts, offices, and even inside the homes of their friends or neighbors. Violence can be caused by hatred towards other communities, grudges within a group, secrets between families or friction between co-workers. But it often ends when a resentful man takes up a gun.

Sometimes it’s not even clear that a grudge sparked the violence.

“There was no obvious conflict between the parties. The guy just walked in and started shooting,” Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray said after three people were shot dead at a Circle K convenience store in Washington state early Tuesday, adding to the nation’s grief.

A database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University shows that the year 2023 is off to a particularly bloody start. The bloodshed began on January 4, when a Utah man, investigated but never charged following a 2020 child abuse allegation, fatally shot her wife, her mother, and her five children. and then commit suicide.

A total of 2,793 people, according to the database, have lost their lives in massacres since 2006. A massacre is when four or more people are killed, not including the killer. And the recent wave of violence comes after a spike in violence in 2022, when the United States recorded 42 massacres, the second-highest number in that span.

Even shootings that claim fewer or no lives can cause shock, as happened in Virginia this month, when a 6-year-old boy shot and wounded his teacher in front of his classmates. Virginia Beach Mayor Phillip Jones said he could barely understand what had happened. And two teenage students were killed Monday in a school shooting in Iowa.

In the incident Saturday night in Monterey Park, 11 people were killed and nine others injured when a 72-year-old man opened fire at the Star Ballroom dance studio, just hours after tens of thousands of people filled the streets. nearby to welcome the Lunar New Year. The assailant committed suicide when the policemen approached his truck the next day.

The Half Moon Bay crime suspect, 66, was arrested in the parking lot of a police station. In both cases, detectives have not found the motive for the killing.

“We haven’t even had time to mourn those we lost in the terrible massacre in Monterey Park. Gun violence must stop,” Pine said. “We cannot continue to tolerate this status quo.”

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Maryclaire Dale is on Twitter as @Maryclairedale

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