If mass shootings feel like they've become all too frequent in the United States, that's because they have. In 2015 alone, there have been already been 207 mass shootings and, as of Monday, we are 207 days into 2015.
In other words, there have been as many mass shootings this year as there have been days.
As the site's creators put it:
The mainstream news meaning of 'Mass Shooting' should more accurately be described as 'Mass Murder.' The old FBI definition of Mass Murder (not even the most recent one) is four or more people murdered in one event. It is only logical that a Mass Shooting is four or more people shot in one event. We refuse to ignore the victims of gun violence who survive mass shooting sprees, and we believe the media does a disservice to mass shooting victims by virtually ignoring them unless large numbers are killed.
Mass shootings occur so consistently in the US, we don't even hear about many of them unless we live in the general vicinity. This is because the mainstream media rarely reports on them unless they're connected to marketable issues.
The recent shooting in Charleston, for example, sparked a conversation about racism and connected topics (the Confederate flag). There's also been a separate discussion of the government's failure to identify the incident as an act of domestic terrorism.
These topics certainly merit attention, but it's also very sad tragedies like this don't inspire any substantive changes in terms of gun laws.
Public outcry led South Carolina's legislature to take down the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds. But, in the wake of essentially every mass shooting in recent memory, the public has either failed to demand change or the government has failed to deliver it.
Correspondingly, in the immediate aftermath of the shooting in Charleston, Jon Stewart aptly stated:
Once again, we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other. ...I'm confident, though, that by acknowledging it, by staring into that and seeing it for what it is, we still won't do jack sh*t. What blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us, and us killing ourselves. ...And that's the thing: Al-Qaeda, ISIS, they're not sh*t compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.
He's absolutely right. Americans pose the greatest threat to themselves, but we're essentially completely unaware of it. This is true both in terms of domestic terrorism, which claims far more lives in America than radical Islam or terror threats from outside the country, and gun violence.
A recent study found, as of June, radical Islamists had accounted for 26 American deaths since 9/11. Comparatively, so far in 2015, according to the data from Mass Shooting Tracker, mass shootings have led to the deaths of 267 people on US soil.
Even still, Americans continue to perceive ISIS and international terror organizations as the greatest threat to this country, which contradicts reality.
Here are the facts:
The US has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world.
It also has the highest rate of homicide-by-firearm in the developed world.
States with stricter gun laws see fewer gun-related deaths.
But shootings rarely inspire shifts in opinions on gun control.
Americans are killing each other, and we're not doing anything to change it. A powerful gun lobby would rather we remain infantilized and ignorant to this fact.
Instead of admitting this nation has a gun problem, the NRA blames mental illness, particularly if a shooting involves a white male.
But if we don't wake up to the truth in the near future, gun violence and mass shootings will continue to claim innocent lives.
Citations: There have been 204 mass shootings and 204 days in 2015 so far (Washington Post ), Mass Shootings 2015 (Mass Shooting Tracker ), Main Page (Mass Shooting Tracker ), US Gun Policy Global Comparisons (CFR), 11 essential facts about guns and mass shootings in America (Washington Post ), Gun homicides and gun ownership by country (Washington Post ), ISIS Terrorism Seen as Graver Threats Than Russia Ukraine (Gallup ), Its not about mental illness The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males (Salon )