On Wednesday a mass shooting occurred in San Bernardino California and left 14 people dead and 17 wounded. The attackers who had long guns instead of handguns appeared to have prepared all the equipments such as special clothing and guns involved in the shooting. A holiday party for county employees of the Inland Regional Center, an agency that helps people who are developmentally disabled, was the target of the attack.
Discussions started later when people wondered how many mass shootings have occurred this year across the nation. The New York Times dedicated today’s front-page to the subject, the newspaper reported everyday a shooting in which more than four people die is done everyday in the country.
The FBI condemns someone as a mass murderer if they killed four or more people during one single event or more events. They do not specify what kind of weapons could be involved in murders. On the other hand, since 2013 federal statutes have defined “mass killing” as three or more people killed. People seem to suggest that those definitions are problematic as they include non-gun killings and exclude attacks in which several people are shot but not necessarily die.
It is known that in July a man wounded nine people and killed two others during a shooting at a theater in Lafayette Los Angeles. The attack did not enter into the federal definition of “mass killing” as just two people died.
Since that moment redditors founded a subreddit, The Mass Shooting Tracker, to track information about armed people attacking citizens in the U.S, they defined the controversial phenomenon as a shooting where four or more people are killed or injured. The tracker, which has even done a calendar with 2015’s shootings, has become the main source of information about the uncontrolled attacks.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Simon, a visiting professor in political science at U.C.L.A, who studies mass shootings, killers do not share a consistent ideological motivation:
“They really cut across the spectrum of political and religious ideologies and other grievances. You have personal motivations, political motivations, religious motivations, criminal motivations, or just no motivations at all, as the shooter acts out their fantasies. And the line between them sometimes is very blurred.”
Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization which seeks to gain more gun control, stated that in 57 percent of the cases of shootings, victims included a family member, a relative or a partner of the attacker. However, just about 11 percent of the cases were related to gunmen who previously had mental illness noted by medical and school authorities.
Since the shooting took place in San Bernardino, many politicians have made declarations. Several Republican presidential candidates made a religious approach, as they offered thoughts and prayers to the victims of violence. That said, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders declared that a gun policy should be done. Clinton wrote she refused to accept that as normal and stated that we must take action to stop gun violence now.
Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat who represents the state of Connecticut, where 28 people were killed earlier this year in a shooting, tweeted:
“Your thoughts should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your “prayers” should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again,”
Source: The New York Times