Go Figure: U.S. Mass Shootings in 2019
In the United States, gun violence is a public health epidemic. 100 people die from gun related incidents per day. News of shootings are as routine as weather updates. Within the past five days alone, 7 mass shootings have occurred across four different states. Whether these shootings happen back to back, on school property, at a mall or in a parking lot, nothing in legislation changes. Outcries and advocacy, yes. Policy change? No. Having to grow up in an era where a standard classroom has a “gunshot-wound kit” should never be accepted as the new normal. And yet, that’s exactly what a teacher in California used last week in order to help a student injured at the Saugus High School shooting. Today, CNN reported that the suspect used a lethal gun kit of his own; the parts were bought separately and then later assembled to form a fully functioning firearm with no serial number or background check required, a ‘ghost gun.’
The data visual above highlights the total number of mass shootings that have happened in 2019. Using a combination of data from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), Amnesty International, and Education Week Journal, the graphic reveals how a total of 374 mass shootings have occurred between January 1, 2019 and November 21, 2019. This works out to 420 deaths and 1508 injuries happening over the course of 46 weeks. To be clear, this data visualization strictly focuses on mass shootings. The GVA (which keeps track of U.S. mass shootings in near real time) defines a “mass shooting” as an incident where 4 or more people are shot or killed (not including the shooter). This is important to note because the actual number of total injuries and deaths presented in this graphic would be much higher if non-mass shootings were counted. Across the country, 45 school shootings have occurred (as of Nov. 18). Out of these incidents, 6 were mass shootings. All types of schools from K-12, community colleges, universities, and school properties like parking lots or stadiums were included in the assessment. The states with the highest number of mass shootings are listed in the table below.
I have family in all five states. And I don’t care how melodramatic it comes across, but whenever news of a mass shooting hits my Twitter feed and I don’t know the location details, I always hold my breath. My relatives go to school, shop at Walmart, drive through neighborhoods, and basically do everything else many victims of mass shootings end up doing when caught in the crossfire. At first, I found the data hard to digest, not because of the actual numbers involved or the consistent rate of people dying, but because even with these stats, politicians are choosing to do absolutely nothing. Numbers don’t lie. Nobody is safe.