MIAMI - America's bloody tradition of gun violence has made headlines over the last few days.
Twenty people died in three mass shootings in California in as many days. Two people were killed, three injured, in a mass shooting in Chicago, Illinois.
Since the beginning of this week, starting January 22nd, there have been seven mass shootings in which a total of 13 people were killed and 33 people were injured.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been 40 mass shootings across the country, according to the Gun Violence Archive, putting 2023 on pace to have the most mass shootings at this point of any year on record. A total of 73 people were killed in them and 165 people injured. It found 3 mass shootings in South Florida, including 9 shot in Miami Gardens New Year's Day, 10 shot at the Licking Restaurant a few days later and 1 killed and 3 injured in Homestead on the 15th.
The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
"It makes me frustrated that as a society we haven't done enough to stop these things," said Tony Montalto. His Daughter Gina was murdered in the mass shooting in Parkland. He said society needs to do more to stop this. "The by standing public makes a huge difference in being able to prevent these attacks by noticing the behavioral changes of those around us, whether they be family, friends or coworkers," he said.
In fact today the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center released it's "Mass Attacks in Public Spaces: 2016-2020" report. https://www.secretservice.gov/sites/default/files/reports/2023-01/usss-ntac-maps-2016-2020.pdf
It includes findings:
• Most of the attackers had exhibited behavior that elicited concern in family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and others, and in many cases, those individuals feared for the safety of themselves or others.
• Many attackers had a history of physically aggressive or intimidating behaviors, evidenced by prior violent criminal arrests/charges, domestic violence, or other acts of violence toward others.
• Half of the attackers were motivated by grievances, and were retaliating for perceived wrongs related to personal, domestic, or workplace issues.
• Most of the attackers used firearms, and many of those firearms were possessed illegally at the time of the attack.
• One-quarter of the attackers subscribed to a belief system involving conspiracies or hateful ideologies, including anti-government, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic views.
• Many attackers experienced stressful events across various life domains, including family/romantic relationships, personal issues, employment, and legal issues. In some of these cases, attackers experienced a specific triggering event prior to perpetrating the attack.
• Over half of the attackers experienced mental health symptoms prior to or at the time of their attacks, including depression, psychotic symptoms, and suicidal thoughts.
University of South Florida Criminologist Edelyn Verona says we need common sense gun laws. "Honestly, we need federal level legislation that helps us restrict the use and access of guns to people that trigger this risk for violence," Verona said.
Tangela Sears is the founder of Florida Parents of Murdered Children. She'd like to see the feds work directly with local homicide detectives and strict enforcement. "We don't need a judge telling a family that this person who killed them, 'oh he's just a kid, he's 19 years old, he don't need to be in jail. I'm just going to put him on house arrest.' No. They need to be in jail," she stressed.
The bipartisan gun safety bill signed into law last summer brought modest changes to the country's gun legislation, but it didn't touch assault rifles, the weapon of choice for many mass shooters.
On Monday, after the mass shootings in California President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass a pair of bills seeking to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and raise the purchasing age to 21, imploring lawmakers to "act quickly."
"The majority of the American people agree with this common sense action. There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our children, our communities, and our nation," he said in a statement.
Firearm injuries are now the leading cause of death among people younger than 24 in the United States, according to a study published in the December 2022 edition of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
From 2015 through 2020, there were at least 2,070 unintentional shootings by children under 18 in the US, according to a report from Everytown. Those shootings resulted in 765 deaths and 1,366 injuries.
A study published late last year in JAMA Network Open analyzed firearm deaths over the past three decades -- a total of more than 1 million lives lost since 1990.
The researchers found that firearm mortality rates increased for most demographic groups in recent years, but vast disparities persisted. The homicide rate among young Black men- 142 homicide deaths for every 100,000 Black men ages 20 to 24 - was nearly 10 times higher than the overall firearm death rate in the US in 2021.
About 45% of US adults say they live in a household with a gun, according to an October 2022 Gallup survey.
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