It's likely the entire world has now heard about the nightclub shootings in Orlando that took place over the weekend. It is now being called the worst mass shooting in American history. When friends got together to dance and have fun at the packed LGBT nightclub known as Pulse on Saturday evening, no one could have predicted that a 29-year-old security guard named Omar Mateen would open fire in the club.
Mateen fired indiscriminately into the crowd with a AR-15 rifle and a Glock handgun. The latest news reports the death toll at 49, with 53 injured. After taking hostages, Mateen was killed in a gun battle with police officers. Before the shooting, Mateen called the authorities to pledge his allegiance to ISIS. He had been under investigation twice in the past by the FBI, but was never arrested for anything. Though no official statement has been released by the police, there is speculation that he attacked the nightclub because he was anti-LGBT.
Far Too Common
It seems like a monthly occurrence; a gunman opens fire at a theater, a school, a business, a daycare, an apartment building. Some are mentally disturbed, some have pent-up rage or hatred towards a particular group of people, and others think they are fighting for a cause. Some obtained permits and guns legally, others were taken from family or friends, some were stolen. Some were lone shooters, others had a partner. Some are killed by law enforcement, some kill themselves, some are arrested. But one thing they all have in common that is truly frightening to ponder... they are almost expected.
In 1999, when two teenage attackers killed 13 people at a public high school in Columbine, the nation was stunned. But now it seems almost common place, though none the less tragic, when we hear of another shooting. There have been at least 81 mass shootings that have taken place in public places since 1982, with over half of them being in the last decade. Here is a timeline of mass shootings starting from June 2016, going back to 2012, the year with the most shootings on record.
A History of Violence
June 12, 2016 - 49 victims and the shooter were killed in Orlando, Florida after Omar Mateen stormed a nightclub with a rifle and handgun.
December 2, 2015 - A married couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 and wounded 17 in a conference center in San Bernardino, California.
November 27, 2015 - Robert Dear, a 57-year-old man, opened fire on a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Co, killing three and wounding 9 more. He was arrested.
October 1, 2015 – Gunman Chris Harper Mercer, 26, fired into a public speaking class at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. He shot and killed 10 people before we was killed in a firefight with police.
July 16, 2015 - Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, killed four Marines and one Navy petty officer when he fired multiple shots at two separate military locations at the Armed Forces Career Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Abdulazeez was killed.
June 17, 2015 – Nine people who had gathered to worship in a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. were shot by 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof, white man who harbored anti-black views. State senator Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney was among the dead.
October 24, 2014 – At a high school cafeteria in Marysville, Washington, 15-year-old Jaylen Ray Fryberg killed four people before killing himself.
May 23, 2014 – Gunman Elliot O. Rodger, a 22-year-old college student, killed three people in his apartment and three others on the street. He committed suicide.
April 2, 2014 – Ivan Lopez, an Iraqi war veteran, killed three people when he opened fire at Fort Hood in Texas. He injured another 16 before he shot himself.
September 16, 2013 – 34-year-old shooter Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist, murdered twelve at the Washington navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
June 7, 2013 – John Zawahri went on a firing spree in Santa Monica, roaming the streets and firing into traffic and buildings. He killed five people before he was shot by police at the Santa Monica College Library.
December 14, 2012 – Gunman Adam Lanza killed his mother at home and then opened fire in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 young children and six school employees. He then killed himself in the second deadliest school shooting in U.S.
October 21, 2012 – Radcliffe F. Haughton, 45, entered a day spa in Brookfield, Wisconsin spraying bullets. After killing three, he turned the gun on himself.
September 27, 2012 - Andrew Engeldinger, 36, a employee who was fired from a sign company, went on a vengeance rampage in the business, killing five people including the owner and a UPS driver. The shooter was also killed.
August , 2012 – The leader of a white power group called End Apathy, Wade Michael Page, 40, killed six inside a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He was killed by police.
July 20, 2012 – Gunman James Holmes entered a movie theater showing “The Dark Knight Rises” and sprayed bullets into the crowd. He murdered twelve, including a 6-year-old girl, and wounded 70 more. He was arrested without incident and sentenced to life in prison.
April 2, 2012 – A 43-year-old man names One L. Goh, killed seven at a religious college in Oakland, California. The former student turned himself in and was deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Searching for Answers
Some people think stricter gun laws would solve the problem. Others want to limit who we allow into the U.S., based on race and/or religion. Perhaps people that are mentally unstable aren’t getting the help they need to keep from spiraling out of control. No matter what is to blame, mass shootings are senseless, tragic, and we need to ban together as Americans and find a solution to this widespread problem.
If you would like to read a more in-depth study of mass shootings, we recommend this site.