So far this year, guns have killed 11,984 people
As rich, advanced and accomplished as the country might be, the U.S. has somehow not been up to the task of coping with the plague of gun violence.
But as the nation comes to grips with yet another mass murder carried out by an angry man with a deadly weapon, it is perhaps time to review how often Americans turn to guns to express discontent, hate and prejudice against their compatriots.
In 2018 alone, including the most recent carnage at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, there have been 47,220 gun-related incidents resulting in 11,984 deaths in the United States, according to data compiled by Gun Violence Archive, an independent data-collection and research group.
That breaks down to 157 incidents and 40 deaths a day and does not include 22,000 suicides. Of the total fatalities, 548 were children, while 2,321 were teenagers.
GVA defines gun incidents as all types of shootings, including officer involved, accidental, children shooting themselves, murders, armed robberies, mass shootings, home Invasions and drivebys.
“Only by being totally inclusionary in our definitions is our data accurate, allowing the researcher to decide which parts of the complete dataset they need for their work. Our goal is to provide a complete picture of impact,” said the group in a statement on its website.
There are, of course, arguments from staunch gun-rights supporters that an armed citizenry is a safer citizenry. Nothing stops a bad guy with a gun like a good guy with a gun, is a popular National Rifle Association talking point. And President Donald Trump pondered aloud on Saturday whether guns inside the synagogue might have led to a less tragic outcome.
But among the 2018 shooting incidents, only 1,478 cases, or 3.1% of the total, involved the defensive use of weapons.
In Pittsburgh, at least 11 people were killed at the Tree of Life synagogue by a suspect shouting, “All Jews must die,” according to KDKA.