Texas Mass Shooting Wasn't Worst in 2023 So Far

Nation has had 115 deaths so far this year, on track to set modern annual record
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2023 1:08 PM CDT
US on Track for Unwanted Record on Mass Shootings
A law enforcement officer is seen at a shopping center after a mass shooting Saturday in Allen, Texas.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The mall shooting in Texas over the weekend that claimed eight lives, not including the shooter, isn't the deadliest of 2023 so far. It's eclipsed by one in Monterey Park, California, in January that claimed 11 lives, notes the Washington Post. Not surprisingly, then, the US is on pace to set an unwanted modern record.

  • The nation has logged 22 mass killings in 2023, an average of one a week, that have claimed 115 lives, per the AP. The stats come from a database maintained by the AP, USA Today, and Northeastern University. A mass shooting is defined as one in which four or more people are killed, not including the shooter.
  • In all of last year, the US had 36 mass shootings and at least 186 deaths, per the Post. The nation has never had this many mass-killing deaths so early in the year since the database began in 2006. The highest recorded number of annual deaths from mass killings was 230 in 2017.

James Alan Fox, a Northeastern criminology professor who works on the database, emphasizes that mass shootings remain rare and that it's easy to be "fooled by clusters." It's possible 2023 may yet settle down. "But one thing that is certain is we, on average, we have six public mass killings a year," he tells the Post. "We've already had six this year. So we've already raised the average." He adds that in his view, 2023 is probably the worst year he's experienced in 40 years of study on the topic.

The AP, meanwhile, ticks off possible contributing factors: "a general increase in all types of gun violence in recent years; the proliferation of firearms amid lax gun laws; the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, including the stress of long months in quarantine; a political climate unable or unwilling to change the status quo in meaningful ways; and an increased emphasis on violence in US culture." Amid all this, the Onion continues to post the same sarcastic story after each mass shooting in America, notes NPR. The headline reads, "'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens." (More mass shootings stories.)

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