Is “American Bloodshed” the real definition of “American Exceptionalism?”
I opened my computer this morning, Sunday, April 16, to begin my scan of the many newspapers and news sites I receive. These were at the top of the news:
4 dead, multiple injured in Alabama shooting, state authorities say
By Javaid Maham
April 16, 2023 at 10:09 a.m. EDT
Four people are confirmed dead and several others injured in a mass shooting late Saturday in Dadeville, Tallapoosa County, Alabama, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said in a statement Sunday morning.
The shooting happened just after 10:30 p.m. Saturday near Broadnax Street, the ALEA said.
The ALEA and the State Bureau of Investigations have launched an investigation at the request of the Dadeville Police Chief.
“This morning, I grieve with the people of Dadeville and my fellow Alabamians. Violent crime has NO place in our state, and we are staying closely updated by law enforcement as details emerge,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said on Twitter.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
2 Dead and 4 Injured in Shooting at a Kentucky Park, Police Say
The gunfire in a Louisville park came as hundreds of people were outside enjoying a warm spring night. It comes just days after a mass shooting in the same city.
By Eduardo Medina
April 16, 2023
Two people were dead and four others injured after a shooting at a park in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday night, the police said, the latest instance of gun violence just days after five people were fatally shot at a downtown bank in the city.
The shooting at Chickasaw Park occurred around 9 p.m. as hundreds of people gathered to enjoy a warm spring night outside, Deputy Chief Paul Humphrey of the Louisville Police Department said at a news conference on Saturday night.
Police were still looking for a gunman as of Saturday night, and said that they were unsure if there was more than one.
One person was in critical condition, Chief Humphrey said.
Officers were still trying to determine a motive.
The shooting came as the city continued to reel from the attack on Monday at Old National Bank, where a 25-year-old man who worked at the bank fatally shot five colleagues and injured eight others, just one recent episode in a country where gun violence has become numbingly common.
“This has been an unspeakable week of tragedy for our city,” Mayor Craig Greenberg of Louisville said at the news conference. He asked for the public’s help in identifying those who had disturbed a calm night at the park with gunfire.
“Let’s band together, let’s help each other,” Mr. Greenberg pleaded. “Let’s make this the city we want it to be.”
The Post’s article about the Dadeville shooting quoted a Twitter post from Governor Kay Ivey. It did not include one of the first comments to Ivey’s post:
As of this writing, authorities in Dadeville have shed no light on the shooter, the victims or the circumstances except that it was a sweet 16 party. One of the only indications of who might have been at the party came in a separate news report which quoted Annette Allen saying that the attack occurred at her granddaughter’s 16th birthday party. Allen’s grandson, a high school athlete, was killed by the gunfire, while her daughter was wounded and sent to an area hospital. Annette Allen, her daughter and her grandchildren are African American. Those facts might have been the only insights USMC Lady Vet had when she posted her tweet, speculating “gang violence.” (Perhaps a slight detour from gun violence and directly to Alabamian racism is called for. USMC Lady Vet Twitter profile indicates that she’s neither a Republican nor a Democrat but a “FJB.”* At least she was “sad.”)
*”Fuck Joe Biden” – I had to look it up!
But before I leave you with the impression that all Alabamians are like USMC Lady Vet, let me reprint two other replies to Ivey’s post:
The FBI has not set a minimum number of casualties to qualify an event as a mass shooting, but U.S. statute (the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act of 2012) defines a “mass killing” as “3 or more killings in a single incident.”
Gun violence is real. Mass shooting are real. Defining them by the number of deaths is not only insensitive, it is unrealistic. Should we not care about a shooting in which “only” one or two people were murdered? Or one in which no one was killed but many were injured? Why don’t we care about every one of these horrors, statistics be damned.
So, I began researching mass shootings. The definitions are all over the place. And then I found this in Wikipedia. Is Wikipedia the authoritative source? Maybe not. But the article puts this uniquely American tragedy into perspective.
In compiling the statistics, Wikipedia uses the following sources:
- Stanford University MSA Data Project: three or more persons shot in one incident, excluding the perpetrator(s), at one location, at roughly the same time. Excluded are shootings associated with organized crime, gangs or drug wars.
- Mass Shooting Tracker: four or more persons shot in one incident, at one location, at roughly the same time.
- Gun Violence Archive/Vox: four or more shot in one incident, excluding the perpetrators, at one location, at roughly the same time.
- Mother Jones: three or more shot and killed in one incident at a public place, excluding the perpetrators. This list excludes all shootings the organization considers to be “conventionally motivated” such as all gang violence and armed robberies.
- The Washington Post: four or more shot and killed in one incident at a public place, excluding the perpetrators.
- ABC News: four or more shot and killed in one incident, excluding the perpetrators, at one location, at roughly the same time.
- Congressional Research Service: four or more shot and killed in one incident, excluding the perpetrators, at a public place, excluding gang-related killings and those done with a profit-motive.
The chart accompanying the Wikipedia article includes only incidents considered mass shootings by at least two of the above sources. Many incidents involving organized crime and gang violence are included.
Based on that criteria, 2023 has seen 165 shootings with 238 deaths and 642 injuries. Let’s put that into perspective: 165 shootings; 238 deaths; 880 total casualties – in the 106 days since January 1!
- 1.6 shootings/day
- 2.3 deaths/day
- 8.8 casualties/day
(Here’s a link to the Wikipedia article, “List of Mass Shooting in the UnitedStates in 2023” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mass_shootings_in_the_United_States_in_2023
This is the fifth story I’ve written about U.S. gun violence since March 28, right after the Nashville school shooting. I’ve wondered if stronger laws can ever be enacted. I’ve lamented Ron DeSantis’ signing of Florida’s permit-less carry bill. I’ve derided Ted Cruz and his “lamebrain” fixes. And, now this – two more shootings on the same night! And, the second in Louisville in a week!! Is there anyone who can do anything listening?
Probably not. Because many of the politicians who, in the words of Tennessee Congressman Burchett, after the Nashville murders said, “We’re not gonna fix it. I don’t see any role that we could do other than mess things up, honestly,” are kowtowing to their masters at the NRA Convention this weekend in Indianapolis. Among the attendees: Donald Trump, Mike Pence, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former United Nations ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (who touted her state’s expanded “stand your ground laws”), New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and, of course, none other than everyone’s favorite, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (via a video message) bragging about taking on “woke financial institutions” and allowing Floridians to concealed carry without government-issued permits.
As I wrote in one of those recent posts, “with all due respect to Congressman Burchett (although I’m not sure I owe him any respect) I think we’ve gotten to the point where we need to ‘mess things up!’ The question is how?”
If we keep electing politicians like the ones mentioned above (and many, many others) there will never be, I fear, a “how.” Yes, voting these pols out is the obvious answer, but an uphill battle given GOP gerrymandering and voter suppression. Having said that, don’t let my “how” stop you from coming up with your own “how.”
Thoughts and comments are encouraged.
One thought on “Another day, two more mass shootings”
I’ve probably said it here before, I know I have aaid it elsewhere: delegalize the manufacture and sale of any projectile weapon that fires more than one bullet without reloading.
Yeah, it’s a longshot (pardon the pun, please), but anything that can fire more than one bullet without reluading is not covered under the 2nd Amendment. Besides that, any such weapon is made to kill something, most probably human beings. Take away automatic weapons, and force a shooter to have to reload. This will give him or her a few precious seconds before they can fire again. Those seconds might be enough to give the shooter time to reflect on what they are doing…
Your two stories took up about 15 seconds on Canadian evening news shows. Of the 165 mass shooting in the USA this year, maybe 10 have hit Canadian broadcast news outlets. Is it that people are becoming inured to the violence? Or is it that the NRA are paying media to remain silent about mass shootings, as if they aren’t worthy of reporting. Either way, it makes it seem like nothing is happening, even though we know it is.