Wednesday, December 2 was the 334th day of 2015; the San Bernardino shooting that took place was the 351st mass shooting of 2015 — incredibly, the second mass shooting in our nation to take place that day. That means that there have been more mass shootings in the U.S. than there have been days…
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, in Savannah, George, one person was killed and several more were injured in a mass shooting — a mass shooting being defined as an event in which 4 or more people are killed or injured by gunfire.
14 people were killed in the shootings in San Bernardino, with at least 17 others injured. The violence took place at Inland Regional Center for people with disabilities. Three suspects fled the scene. Two of them, a man and a woman dressed in tactical gear with assault-style rifles and handguns, were killed in a shootout with police. A third suspect has been taken into custody, but it is unclear whether he took part in the attack. According to some reports there was a dispute at a holiday gathering at the center, where at least one person involved left. It is not confirmed whether or not those involved in the dispute were involved in the shootings or whether there is a connection at all.
According to the Washington post, there have now been 351 mass shootings so far this year. Some days have had none, where others have had up to 5 in a single day. See the chart below for a quick view of their data:
The shooting in San Bernardino is the largest mass shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012, where 26 children and teachers were killed.
Many believe gun violence has gotten out of hand. A special investigation by Mother Jones shows that gun violence costs more than $700 per American per year. Each gun death averages $6 million and each gun injury requiring hospitalization costs about $583,000. That is more than we spend on obesity, and almost as much as we spend on Medicaid:
You can see how Mother Jones found the statistics above by reading the rest of the investigation here.
In a report published by the FBI it was found that active shooter events have become more common in recent years. Active shooting incidents are defined as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.”
What’s more, according to a study by Mother Jones, there is a strong correlation between gun ownership and gun deaths. Mother Jones also found “gun death rates are generally lower in states with restrictions such as assault-weapons bans or safe-storage requirements.”
While it is not simple to pinpoint the cure to America’s dangerous, gun-crazy sickness, it is abundantly clear that something must be done. In my opinion, a good first step might be overturning the so-called Dickey amendment that has been barring federal research on gun violence for almost 20 years.
The amendment was passed with a 1996 appropriations bill with huge support from the NRA. As the amendment’s author, former Representative Jay Dickey, stated: “US scientists cannot answer the most basic question: What works to prevent firearm injuries? We don’t know whether having more citizens carry guns would decrease or increase firearm deaths; or whether firearm registration and licensing would make inner-city residents safer or expose them to greater harm.”
I guess Dickey is right. We cannot answer the most basic question, at least not without the most basic research. I might not have all the answers for the problem of gun violence, but when there are more mass shootings than days in the year, something’s got to change.