The 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks saw seven mass shootings—the most of any single day in 2016.
Over the past seven days, America witnessed ten mass shootings that left 12 dead and 38 wounded. These attacks bring the US mass shooting body count so far in 2016 to 304 dead and 1,074 injured. This means that 12 more people have been killed in American mass shootings so far this year than were killed by guns in general in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom combined in 2012, the last year for which data was available for all three countries.
Meanwhile, Europe suffered zero mass shootings over the same period of time, leaving the continent's body toll in such attacks so far this year steady at 43 dead and 136 injured.
This week was particularly nasty for America because it saw the single greatest number of mass shootings in one day so far this year: On the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the nation suffered seven mass shootings. They accounted for seven of this week's US mass shooting deaths and 30 of its injuries. That's one more mass shooting—and a greater level of death and injury—than the nation suffered even on a high summer holiday like July 4, prime time for shooters to stalk crowded streets and open fire on targets out in the open.
To be sure, the clustering of shootings around such a grim date was entirely coincidental. All of these attacks adhered to routine patterns of mass gun violence in America—which is to say they appeared to stem from local disputes or sudden arguments. At about 1:50 AM that day, a shooting at a party in Saginaw, Michigan, injured five individuals. Less than half an hour later, a street shooting in Jersey City, New Jersey, killed one and injured three more people. A bit over an hour later, an argument between Atlanta rapper Rich Homie Quan's entourage and staff at a club in New Bern, North Carolina, escalated into a shooting that left five more injured. About an hour later, an apparent domestic dispute in Fort Wayne, Indiana, devolved into a shooting that left four dead and one injured. About half an hour after that, a man firing into a crowd in Kansas City, Missouri, injured six more people. Then later that night, at about 8:15 PM, a street shooting in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a shooting outside an apartment complex in Birmingham, Alabama, following a peace rally nearby almost simultaneously each left one dead and five injured.
Even though there was no connection between the date and this spate of violence, one might still have expected the overlap to trigger some special attention to the attacks and the wider phenomenon they represent. Yet for the most part, the day and each shooting that occurred on it received no more local or national attention than the other days that witnessed (similarly routine) mass shootings this week. On Saturday, at about 6 AM, a shooting outside a Miami, Florida, nightclub left one dead and three injured. On Tuesday, at about 2:30 AM, a second shooting in Fort Wayne, Indiana—this one at a bar—left three more dead and two more injured. And finally on Wednesday, at about 11:45 PM, a street shooting in Houston, Texas, left one dead and three injured. All of these incidents passed with moderate coverage at best.
One might argue it's a relief that media outlets declined to jump to conclusions about or make false connections between the dark day of remembrance and the mass shootings that came with it. But the fact that even this level of concentrated death and injury—no matter how seemingly typical the circumstances of each attack—barely stirred up more attention than the usual national nonchalance is devastating. If a rash of large-scale gun violence on a day like September 11 can't force America to confront this plague, it's hard to imagine what timing and concentration thereof ever realistically could.
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