Hate crimes is not an uncommon affair in different countries of the world but the United States as when it comes to hate crimes and gun massacres, the country is tragically exceptional. According to a study published recently, the country has more public mass shooting than in any other country in the world. Adam Lankford, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Alabama analyzed that, the United States has 5% of world’s population with 31% of all public mass shooting that is pretty high. In the time period of 1966 and 2012, there were 90 mass shooting happened that resulted in the death of more than 4 peoples including the shooters family members. The shootings happened in different places but the common spot for the mass shooting includes nightclubs, Schools, Crowded road, Churches etc.
Over years this mass shooting is happening and it has become a debatable issue indicating the unwillingness to address the causes and taking the preventive measures from government sides as no substantive remarks made to tackle this social problem that is becoming security problems of the citizens.
According to an analysis by the Harvard School of Public Health and Northeastern University the attackers or mass shooters normally claimed as the mentally ill person most of the time but the estimated numbers of cases of mental illness has not gone up significantly while the number of mass shootings in the US has skyrocketed.
The research showed that in the time period of 2011-2014, public attacks occurred every 64 days on average while during the previous 29 years the attacks happened every 200 days on average. Some researchers also believe that these mass killing is kind of contagious and increases the chances that after one shooting another attack will occur within about two weeks, as an infection that lasts about 13 days. And in recent two mass shooting massacres also proves this prediction.
The cause of this unique character of US mass shootings and hate crime according to researcher includes these facts:
The copycat phenomenon: Copycat phenomena become popular in the USA in the late 1990s and the idea first came with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Novel ’The sorrows of Young Werther’ where the romantic protagonist kills himself. And in the late 1990s, there were literary hundreds of violent episodes in schools involving threatened or actual use of guns.
According to Lankford, the copycat phenomenon is acuter in the US because of gun access is easier here than in other countries. There are an estimated 270 million to 310 million firearms in circulation in the United States with 319 million populations in the United States that breaks down to nearly one firearm for every American.
According to Pew Research Centre, more than one-third of Americans say in their home owns a gun. The country with the next highest number of guns in India through the country does not even crack the top five among countries with the most mass shooting. But in the fact of restrictive gun law, it can make a difference as Lankford points to Australia as an example. Australian had four mass shooting between 1987 and 1996 but after that parliament passed stricter gun laws that result in almost zero mass shooting in Australia.
The desire to be Famous: But in America, the political will is there but the Americans typically favor more gun ownership after such mass shooting incident according to Pew Polls. Research finds that being famous is one of this generation most important goals and it seems like Americans are growing in the desire for fame and with media coverage of the mass shooting these offenders becomes the scope to be famous according to Lankford. Lankford also mentioned, “What perhaps is most freighting is that if offenders can kill more people and get more fame, the next may try to find ‘innovating’ and I put quotes around that word, ‘innovating’ new ways to get attention.”
And not only fame seeker young people but also the hate criminals and terrorist also want to be famous.
Gun Control Acts in the USA:
November 22, 1963, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the gun control act started in the USA according to some experts. But in history, it goes back to 1791. The procedures towards gun control act
The Gun Control Act of 1968’s purpose was to keep firearms out of the hands of those not legally entitles to possess them because of age, criminal background, persons found to be mentally incompetent. Licensing system and specific limitations on the sale of a handgun made.
The Armed Career Criminal Act 1986 increases penalties for having a gun who is not qualifying to own the gun under 1968 Act. But the Law enforcement officer’s protection act bans possession of cop killer bullets capable of penetrating bulletproof clothing’s.
The Crime Control Act of 1990 imposes ban on manufacturing and importing semiautomatic assaults weapons in the US ‘ Gun-Free School Zones’ are established and carrying specific penalties for violations of this law.
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 implies prohibition on the sale, manufacture, importation, or possession of a number of specific types of assault type weapons for a ten-year period. However, on September 13, 2004, the law expired after Congress failed to reauthorize it.
In 2008 the National Instant Criminal Background Check improvement act signed by Bush administration again to imply the requirement to check gun buyers background to know if the person is mentally ill or not.
President Barak Obama signed a federal law in 2010 that takes effect allowing licensed gun owners to bring firearms into national parks and wildlife refuges as long as they are allowed by state law. Later in 2016 President Obama again called on Congress to enact or renew the law that prohibits the sale and possession of assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines after a man identified as Omar Mateen killed 49 people in an Orlando, Florida gay nightclub on June 12, using an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
2017 October The Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act indicates, “It shall be unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a trigger crank, a bump-fire device or any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machine gun”.
Here are some of the shooting incidents that happened in the United States of America to date:
|Date and Year||Incident||Injured and Killed|
|November 5, 2017||A gunman dressed in all black and wearing tactical gear opened fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, during Sunday service. Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, was found dead after a brief car chase. He suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Kelley was discharged from the Air Force for bad conduct.||At least 26 people were killed. The youngest was 17 months old; the oldest was 77 years old.|
|October 1, 2017||, A gunman opened fire at a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said. Police said the suspect, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a resident of Mesquite, Nev.||59 killed, more than 500 injured|
|September 24, 2017||, 25 years old Emanuel Samson masked and wearing a tactical vest, fatally shot a women who was walking to her vehicle, and then entered the rear of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ and shot six other people, walking silently down the aisles with a .40-caliber handgun. Samson has been charged with murder in the incident.
|One person was killed and six others were injured|
|June 12, 2016||, Omar Siddiqui Mateen, 29, opens fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando. Police shoot and kill Mateen during an operation to free hostages officials say he was holding at the club.||49 people are killed and more than 50 are injured|
June 15, 2015
|At the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, white supremacist Dylann Roof, 23, shoot. He has been on federal death row since earlier this year, after a jury convicted him of dozens of charges including federal hate crimes and obstruction of the practice of religion in the shooting deaths of nine Bible study attendees.
|Nine people were killed|
|December 2, 2015||Married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik open fire on an employee gathering taking place at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. They are killed in a shootout with police later in the day.||14 killed|
|December 14, 2012||Adam Lanza, 20, shoots in Newtown, Connecticut before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, dead from a gunshot wound.||27 killed|
|April 3, 2009||In Binghamton, New York, Jiverly Wong shoots at an immigrant community center. He then kills himself.||13 killed|
|November 5, 2009||Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan Shoots at Ford Hood Texas. He is convicted and sentenced to death.||19 killed|
July 27, 2008
|Gunman Jim D. Adkisson opened fire at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church. That he had called a “den of un-American vipers” in a suicide letter.
|2 killed and 6 injured|
|April 16, 2007||Student Seung-Hui Cho, 23, goes on a shooting spree in two locations and wounding an undetermined number of others on the campus of Virginia Tech. The shooter dies by suicide.||32 killed|
March 12, 2005
|Gunman Terry Ratzmann, 44, fatally shot at a church service in a hotel before killing himself. Ratzmann was dealing with – depression, employment issues, financial issues.
|7 killed, 4 injured|
|April 20, 1999||Eighteen-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold in Cloumbine High school, Littleton, Colarado shoots in the school did suicide in the school library.||13 killed|
Sept. 15, 1999
|Larry Gene Ashbrook killed seven people and hurt seven others at the Wedgwood Baptist Church, and later took his own life.||7 killed 7 injured|
|October 16, 1991||In Killeen, Texas, 35-year-old George Hennard crashes his pickup truck through the wall of a Luby’s Cafeteria. After exiting the truck, Hennard shoots and kills 23 people. He then takes his own life.||23 killed|
|August 20, 1986||In Edmond, Oklahoma, part-time mail carrier Patrick Henry Sherrill, armed with three handguns shoots on postal workers for 10 minutes and then takes his own life with a bullet to the head.||14 killed|
|July 18, 1984||In San Ysidro, California, 41-year-old James Huberty, armed with a long-barreled Uzi, a pump-action shotgun and a handgun, shoots at a McDonald’s. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty one hour after the rampage begins.||21 killed|
|February 18, 1983||Three men enter the Wah Mee gambling and social club in Seattle, rob the 14 occupants and then shoot each in the head of the crowd. Two of the men, Kwan Fai Mak and Benjamin Ng, are convicted of murder in August 1983. Both are serving life in prison. The third, Wai-Chiu “Tony” Ng, after years on the run in Canada, is eventually convicted of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. He is deported to Hong Kong in 2014.||13 killed|
|September 25, 1982||In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 40-year-old prison guard George Banks mass shooting kills 13 including his family. In September 2011, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns his death sentence, stating that Banks is mentally incompetent.||13 killed|
|August 1, 1966||In Austin, Charles Joseph Whitman, a former US Marine, shoots from a University of Texas tower. Police officers Ramiro Martinez and Houston McCoy shoot and kill Whitman in the tower. Whitman had killed his mother and wife earlier in the day.||18 killed|
|September 5, 1949||In Camden, New Jersey, 28-year-old Howard Unruh, a veteran of World War 2nd shoots in walking to the Camden’s 32nd Street. His weapon of choice is a German-crafted Luger pistol. He is found insane and is committed to a state mental institution. He dies at the age of 88.||13 killed|
Alma Siddqua Rothi
MSS student, Center for South Asian Studies, Pondicherry University, India.