The United States is grappling with a disturbing escalation in mass killings, as 42 incidents have already been documented in 2023, approaching the grim milestone set in 2019. Recent tragedies in Nevada and Texas underscore a concerning trend, prompting reflection from renowned Northeastern University professor James Alan Fox, an expert researcher in mass killings. Fox expresses deep concern, stating, “Whether it’s a record or not, it’s obviously quite disturbing that we are creeping towards that high mark.”
Mass killings, defined as incidents resulting in the death of four or more people, excluding the perpetrator, remain infrequent but have witnessed an unsettling increase. The record for such incidents was set in 2019, with 46 occurrences, including the notorious El Paso Walmart shooting.
Insights into the 2023
Providing insights into the 2023 landscape, Fox reveals that more than 40 mass killings have transpired, with only three diverging from gun-related violence. The frequency of these incidents appears to be accelerating, surpassing previous years by the midway point of the year.
A particularly alarming facet of 2023 is the unprecedented occurrence of 10 mass shootings in public spaces, as highlighted by Fox. The toll is staggering, with 632 mass shootings resulting in 1,336 fatalities and 2,625 injuries, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, President Joe Biden has called on Congress to address the “epidemic of gun violence,” advocating for measures such as the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Fox attributes the surge in mass shootings to factors like lenient gun laws, the prevalence of high-capacity magazines, and the abundance of firearms. He also acknowledges non-gun-related factors such as the impact of the pandemic, economic hardships, and the political climate.
While the fear of mass shootings continues to rise, Fox underscores the rarity of such incidents. Predicting future trends remains challenging due to the complex interplay of social and economic factors influencing these tragic events.