The Mass Shooting Epidemic in America Essay

The Mass Shooting Epidemic in America Essay

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Nine students were killed at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. A man opened fire in a church, in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people, including the pastor. Twenty-seven were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Twelve were killed in the Washington Navy Yard. This is only a few examples from a very long list. The grim truth is that mass shootings are becoming the new normal. Every few months, another mass shooting occurs and the public goes through the same routine of mourning, honoring, and ultimately debating. What causes these manic episodes of multiple, indiscriminate gun deaths? Some push for more gun control, others argue that the U.S. mental health system is a failure. Controversy aside, mass shootings are on the rise, and it is imperative that the factors leading to these outbursts are accurately identified and appropriately addressed.

As defined by Mother Jones Magazine, a mass shooting is when four or more people (not including the gunman himself) are killed in a single, typically public location (Follman et al.). Since 2006, 32 such incidents have occurred in the United States, with 10 occurring since the beginning of 2012 (Thomassie et al.). In addition to being more frequent, the incidents also seem to be getting more deadly. In fact, of the 12 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history (each of which killed 12 or more), seven have occurred since 2007 (“Deadliest U.S. Shootings”). Indeed, if their entire recorded history is taken into account, the recent numbers certainly show a sharp spike in number of incidents and deaths, as only 21 total shootings occurred between 1900 and 1966 (Duwe).

When further investigating these numerous shootings, one can discern several...


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.... "U.S. Has More Guns – And Gun Deaths – Than Any Other Country, Study Finds." ABC News. ABC News Network, 19 Sept. 2013. Web. 9 Oct. 2015.

Mesoudi, Alex, PhD. "Mass Shooting and Mass Media: Does Media Coverage of Mass Shootings Inspire Copycat Crimes?" International Human Press. N.p., 11 Feb. 2013. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

"Module 2: A Brief History of Mental Illness and the U.S. Mental Health Care System." Unite for Sight. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2015.

Perlstein, Rick. "Thinking Like a Conservative (Part One): Mass Shootings and Gun Control." The Nation. N.p., 25 Sept. 2013. Web. 7 Oct. 2015.

"Seung-Hui Cho." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 01 Feb. 2014. Web. 7 Oct. 2015.

Thomassie, Juan, Destin Frasier, Anthony DeBarros, Andrea Fuller, and Shayli Jimenez. "Explore the Data on U.S. Mass Killings since 2006." USA Today. Gannett, 2 Dec. 2013. Web. 9 Oct. 2015.

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