RENO, Nev. (775 Times, NV Globe) – On Jan. 23, 2017, the United States saw its first deadly gun rampage of the year. By the same day this year, six mass killings had claimed 39 lives, leaving communities throughout the country suffering from the avalanche of violence.
Eleven individuals were slain as they celebrated the Lunar New Year at a famous dance club for senior Asian Americans. Seven Chinese and Latino farmworkers were slain in Half Moon Bay, California. A 17-year-old woman and her infant were slaughtered in an attack that killed six members from her family’s five generations.
“In the end, there are simply too many guns in this country. And there has to be a change. This is not an acceptable way for a modern society to live and conduct its affairs,” San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine said Monday, in the wake of the mushroom farm shootings about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of San Francisco. “Our hearts are broken.”
The sad news from Half Moon Bay arrived as Californians were still trying to digest the weekend tragedy at the ballroom dancing club in Monterey Park, a thriving Asian American town on Los Angeles’ eastern outskirts.
Americans have become accustomed to mass shootings in churches and grocery shops, at concerts and office parks, and at the homes of friends and neighbors. Hatred for other groups, disputes inside a group, secrets within families, and anger among coworkers can all lead to violence. However, it frequently ends when a man with a grudge gets a pistol.
It’s not always apparent what triggered the outburst.
“There was no apparent conflict between the parties. The male just walked in and started shooting,” Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray said after three people were shot dead at a Circle K convenience store in Washington state early Tuesday, adding to the nation’s grief.
The Associated Press, USA Today, and Northeastern University’s database of mass killings indicates that 2023 is off to an especially bloody start. On January 4, a Utah man, who had been investigated but never prosecuted in connection with a 2020 child abuse accusation, shot and murdered his wife, her mother, and their five children before killing himself.
According to the database, 2,793 persons have died in mass homicides involving four or more victims, excluding the killer, since 2006. And the current outbreak of violence follows a rise in 2022, when the United States saw 42 mass killings, the second highest total in that time period.
Even shooting that kills fewer people, or none at all, can shock the conscience, as happened earlier this month in Virginia when a 6-year-old kid shot and injured his teacher in front of his classmates. Mayor Phillip Jones of Virginia Beach said he couldn’t get his head around it. In addition, two adolescent pupils were slain in an Iowa school shooting on Monday.
A 72-year-old man opened fire at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park on Saturday night, killing 11 people and injuring nine others, just hours after tens of thousands of revelers flooded the streets around for Lunar New Year festivities. The next day, when police approached his van, the shooter committed suicide.
The 67-year-old suspect in the Half Moon Bay shooting was apprehended in a police station parking lot. Investigators are still attempting to figure out what sparked the shootings in both situations.
“We have not even had time to grieve for those lost in the terrible shooting in Monterey Park. Gun violence must stop,” Pine said. “The status quo cannot be tolerated.”
___ Follow Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Maryclairedale.
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