Over the past seven days, America has witnessed just one mass shooting that injured five but killed no one. Shortly after 2 AM Thursday, 33 people (including a driver) disembarking a party bus in Chicago came under fire; five sustained gunshot wounds. The event brings America's mass shooting toll thus far in 2016 to 61 incidents with 72 dead and 229 injured—a grand total of 301 casualties.
Europe, meanwhile, suffered one mass shooting this week: On Saturday night at about 10:30 PM local time, a gunfight broke out in Marseilles, France, leaving three dead and three more hurt in what police suspect was a bout of gang-related violence. The 13th mass shooting event in Europe this year, the attack brought the toll of such incidents on the continent up to 11 dead and 52 injured, a total of 63 casualties.
Although each of these events was a discrete horror, in many ways they continued patterns in mass violence over the past few weeks. This seven-day stretch was the least bloody week in America since the first days of February, which saw only one mass shooting that injured four people in Washington, DC. It was also the first weekend with no mass shootings since the start of the year. What's more, it was the second week in a row in which America suffered no mass shooting deaths—and the continuation of a weeks-long downturn in such violence in the US after a particularly bloody end to February and beginning of March. Still, even in this relative lull, we also just finished the third week in a row in which Chicago residents endured one or more mass shootings, highlighting the particularly violent year that city's been having.
Conversely, this week continued a grim streak in Europe, which witnessed three mass shootings last week (their bloodiest of the year), a monumental terror attack the week before, and two particularly noteworthy mass shootings the week before that. The Marseilles mass shooting produced fewer casualties than last week's attacks, but as the deadliest since a dispute in Miass, Russia, on January 2 left four dead and one wounded, it's particularly noteworthy. The fact that it occurred in Marseilles was eye-catching as well, as that city seems to have its own particular gun violence problem, even if it's nowhere near as severe and deadly as Chicago's.
Taking a closer look at mass shootings in Chicago and Marseilles, it's easy to conclude that they're uniquely potent loci for such violence. Chicago has suffered six such events this year alone: An incident on April 7 left five injured. Mass shootings on March 31, March 25, March 21, and February 7 all left four people injured. And yet another tragedy on January 8 left one dead and four injured.
Marseilles, with two such incidents—one on April 2 that left three dead and three wounded and another on January 14 that left six injured—has seen fewer less than Chicago. But it's still the only European city to suffer two such attacks this calendar year.
Looking at the share of mass shootings in these cities, it's tempting to write off some of the violence as endemic to troubled locales. One might argue that if a fair chunk of the risk of death, injury, or incidence comes from a few rough spots, then the vast majority of us have less to fear. But while something does seem to be amiss in both of these places, that's not an excuse to step away from the broader, systemic problem of mass gun violence. Even if many occur in hot spots—whether dangerous cities or, at the micro level, night spots—the vast majority of mass shootings occur almost randomly, without any geographic pattern, especially in the United States.
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This post has been updated to account for a Cocoa, Florida, shooting being re-classified as a non-mass shooting.