By Rebecca Shapiro* – The Huffington Post
Three of the worst mass shootings in modern U.S. history happened in the past year and a half.
As Denver journalist Kyle Clark grimly observed on Monday, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre that once shocked the world when two gunmen killed 12 students and 1 teacher, has been pushed off the list of the top 10 deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
Now, three shootings in the past 17 months are on the list, and, as CNN pointed out, two of the five deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history occurred in the last 35 days.
In June 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 58 when he opened fire in Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub during Pride month. At the time, the attack was considered the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
One year and four months later, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on 22,000 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 and injuring hundreds more. The massacre remains as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Following the Las Vegas shooting, the New York Times published an interactive feature showing that in the 477 days that had passed since the Pulse nightclub shooting, there had been 521 mass shootings, and no action from Congress on tougher gun laws.
On Sunday, just one month later, a lone gunman killed at least 26 churchgoers and injured 20 others at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history. The victims range in age from 5 to 72.
According to Mass Shooting Tracker, there have been 377 mass shootings in 2017.
*Rebecca Shapiro is a Senior Editor at HuffPost
Another Mass Shooting And More Prayers. America Has Officially Given Up.
We have become so inured to gun violence, we barely register it anymore.
I’ve written this before. But you’ve announced that you’re praying before. We’re all on repeat here.
You can give yourself over to God, but I’m not that desperate yet. I want to live in a civil society with laws written by men and women that make sense, laws that protect people. There is a logical way to do this – it was done in Australia, and other sophisticated nations after mass shootings. And it worked.
But we are no longer a sophisticated nation. We have officially given up.
We have decided it’s ok for the lunatics to run the asylum, for guns to be the dominating force in our lives, for God to be our leader in absentia. Somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, gun loving Americans believe He will protect them.
I heard someone in Sutherland tell a reporter that this kind of thing doesn’t happen here – it happens in places like New York City. No, in New York we have our share of crime, and yes, we have had our share of terrorism. But this is not ground zero for crazy white man shooting rampages. That typically happens in other places, not here.
It happens in small towns like Sutherland, Texas, where the population doesn’t even come close to one thousand, where seven percent of the population was killed in this week’s shooting. It happens in smaller cities like Aurora, Colorado, on college campuses like Virginia Tech’s, in leafy suburbs like Sandy Hook and bigger cities with loose gun laws like Las Vegas.
I am sick and tired of being told by conservative Americans in other places that we coastal liberal elites – those of us who don’t believe that citizens should be able to buy AR-15’s – that we must live by their rules, according to their terrifying idea of what’s normal. That it’s the price we have to pay for freedom.
That’s not freedom – that’s a prison of fear. I’ve got a growing list of public places I don’t want to visit – how about you? Mine includes movie theaters, concert halls, outdoor concert venues and schools. I would say churches, but I don’t go to church.
You pray for the dead. But it’s too late for them. Tell me, what are you willing to give up for the sake of the living?
I am sick and tired of politicians tweeting their thoughts and prayers. What could be more cavalier, more meaningless, more thoughtless? Do you think your tweeted prayers hold more weight than legislation? We didn’t elect you to pray – we elected you to keep us safe, to write laws that underscore a common, logical belief that the freedom to live without fear of being shot is more important than the freedom to shoot rapid fire assault weapons.
I am sick and tired of people who rely on God to save us from this manmade destruction. If you think God sanctions the proliferation of AR-15 assault rifles, I pity you: you’ve been sold a bill of goods.
We have become so inured to gun violence – we barely register it anymore. Three people, ten people, 26 or 500. No matter the number, it doesn’t move the needle, it doesn’t move people to act. It’s a repetitive loop. The only thing that changes is the location – another group of people who thought they were immune to it stunned into understanding the danger of guns because an automatic assault rifle has killed their neighbor, their friend, their daughter, left their town drowning in a river of blood. But the rest of us shrug. Until it hits us squarely where we live, we shrug.
Our elected leaders shrug. They pretend that there’s nothing they can do. They feign shock. They promise more prayers than our priests.
Some of you pray too. You pray for the dead. But it’s too late for them. Tell me, what are you willing to give up for the sake of the living? Or have you too given up?
*Jennifer Sabin, Contributor Huffington Post. Writer, political pundit, and former ABC News journalist