Over the past seven days, America witnessed nine mass shootings that left eight dead and 35 wounded. These attacks bring the US mass shooting body count so far in 2016 to 362 dead and 1,364 injured.
Meanwhile, Europe suffered zero mass shootings over the same period, leaving the continent's mass gun violence tally so far this year steady at 46 dead and 158 injured.
The latest round of American mass shootings were much deadlier than those that took place last week, despite the fact that there was actually one fewer attack and fewer overall victims. Still, these shootings followed standard patterns of large-scale gun violence to which the US has grown alarmingly jaded.
At about 7 PM local time Saturday, a drive-by on a group of people at a barbecue in Sacramento, California, left one dead and five injured. About 30 minutes later, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, uninvited guests are said to have started a fight at a Sweet 16 party that quickly devolved into a shooting, leaving five injured. Some 30 minutes after that, a street shooting on a group of people sitting in a car in Kansas City, Missouri, left one dead and three injured.
Later that night, around 2 AM Sunday, a shooting in a crowd of people in Orange County, Florida, left four injured. Just under an hour later, at about 3:50 local time, at least one shooter opened fire into the front door of a nightclub in Kingshill in the Virgin Islands, injuring four more. And just over an hour after that, uninvited guests reportedly fired into an apartment where a party was being held in San Antonio, Texas, injuring four more people.
On Sunday evening at about 6 PM, a shooting on a car in Jacksonville, Florida, left three dead and two injured. Then, at about 9 PM local time, a man in San Diego, California, opened fire on his ex-wife and her family after a dispute with her new boyfriend, killing her parents and injuring her and her grandfather. After a days-long lull, the past week's mass shootings capped off at about 6:20 Thursday evening when a shooting at a two-year-old's birthday party in Dyersburg, Tennessee, left one dead and six injured.
A few of these attacks managed to gain a wider degree of media and popular attention than the rest because they involved especially young victims, who are often presented by the press as uniquely innocent and therefore tragic casualties. The Bridgeport Sweet 16 shooting's victims were mostly teens, the Jacksonville car attack left an 11-month-old dead, and the Dyersburg incident left a six-year-old injured and a mother dead. But even these attacks were often only able to gain temporary traction in regional outlets.
The fact is that none of these stories, whether they involve children or not, ought to slip under the national radar. As yet another quiet week in Europe attests, the scale and frequency of gun violence America has normalized is not, in fact, normal. So long as we treat attacks like the nine the US endured this week as largely inconsequential, we quietly endorse and enable a grinding mass shooting epidemic—a national shame sorely in need of a national reckoning.
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