Over the past seven days, America witnessed 14 mass shootings that left 16 people dead and 44 wounded. The attacks bring the US mass shooting body count so far in 2016 to 269 dead and 912 injured. That means so far this year, more Americans have died in mass shootings than were killed in gun homicides in general in all of Canada, Germany, and Spain combined in 2014, the last year for which data for all of those nations was available.
Meanwhile, Europe suffered zero mass shootings over the past week, leaving the continent's body toll in such attacks so far this year steady at 37 dead and 125 injured.
This was one of the most brutal weeks for mass shootings in America this year, with the greatest number of such attacks since the end of June and the greatest number of lives lost to large-scale gun violence since the week of the Orlando, Florida, Pulse Nightclub shooting. Barring that week in June, which included the worst mass shooting in modern American history, this was the deadliest week for these attacks since the week of the cold and methodical Piketon, Ohio, massacre in late April.
But this week likely will not register in the public consciousness because it lacked a high-profile shooting. All of the death and injury seemed to unfold within the context of banal (by perverse American standards) crimes, which superficially mapped well onto established national narratives of large-scale gun violence and normal victims.
The week's violence kicked off just after midnight last Friday when a shooting at a suspected drug house in Mead Valley, California, left two dead and two injured. The following night at about 11 PM in Pontiac, Michigan, one girl was killed and three more young adults were injured in a drive-by shooting. About half a day later, an apparent murder-suicide in a home in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, left five family members dead, one of whom likely slaughtered the others. Then at some point that night, a fight outside a nightclub in St. Louis, Missouri, spiraled into a shooting that left five injured. Shortly after midnight on Sunday, a shooting in a mobile home park in Arvada, Colorado, left two more dead and another two injured. About an hour later, a shooting in the parking lot of a convenience store in Vicksburg, Mississippi, following a beef earlier that night at a club ultimately killed one and injured three. Perhaps one hour after that, a street shooting in Chicago, Illinois, injured four more. And sometime in the afternoon on Sunday, a drive-by targeting a group arguing on the street in Los Angeles, California, left one more dead and three injured, capping off a weekend of savagery.
Just after midnight on Monday, the bloodshed trickled onward when three men opened fire on a group of people sitting on the stairs outside an apartment complex unit in Jacksonville, Florida, injuring seven and miraculously killing no one. Around 10:30 PM, a street shooting in Austin, Texas, killed one and injured three more. About 90 minutes later, a shooting under hazy circumstances inside a home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, left two dead and two injured. A little less than 24 hours later, a street shooting in Evanston, Illinois, left four injured. Some 26 hours after that, a drive-by on a parked car in Sacramento, California, killed one and injured three more. And finally, at about 1:30 AM Friday morning, two men are said to have kicked in the door at a motel in Dallas, Texas, and, in what witnesses believe may have been a robbery gone wrong, shot a man dead and and injured three more occupants.
So long as they adhere to a familiar victim-perpetrator script, shootings like these barely draw national attention—if they draw it at all. But comparing the death toll of even just this one week's attacks versus all of the gun homicides in Canada, Spain, and Germany in a calendar year—16 vs. 166—serves as a grim reflection on just how much senseless large-scale violence Americans have convinced themselves is OK, and how absurd that attitude is. Perhaps one of the only ways US citizens can shock each other out of complacency—and feel the revulsion and shame necessary to force change—is by attempting, however difficult it might be, to see this bloodshed through the eyes of everyone else on Earth.
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