Sunday, December 16, 2012

An unhappy list

The following list of US mass shootings comes from a post entitled The massacre of the children of America by Michael Hoffman.  I have to add that I don't agree with this editorial post, in which Hoffman condemns things such as usury, abortion and homosexual marriage and which one must presume are believed by Hoffman to be part of the cause of this massacre.  That said, it's a concise list of the "major" mass shootings in America since 1966; there is a stark power in seeing it laid out so dry:  date, place, number of casualties.  The tempo definitely seems to be increasing....

I'd like to see some data on mass-shootings prior to 1966.

Timeline of U.S. Massacres
Compiled by Michael Hoffman 

Compiler's note: All of the deaths listed are homicides, except in the case of a casualty statistic compiled by the media that groups a perpetrator who allegedly committed suicide, with the victims. Almost all of the deaths are by gunfire. I do not claim that this list is exhaustive. In almost all cases I have only listed as a "massacre" multiple deaths that occurred within a 24 hour period.

1966: Fifteen people are shot to death on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

1966: In Chicago, Illinois, nine nurses are massacred.

1982: Eight workers are shot by a co-worker at a Florida machine shop.

1984: Twenty-one patrons of a McDonald's restaurant are killed in California.

1986: Fourteen postal employees are killed by a co-worker in Oklahoma.

1990: Nine people are killed at a GMAC loan office in Florida by a co-worker.

1991: In Michigan five people are killed.

1991: 23 people are killed in Luby's Cafeteria in Texas.

1993: 8 people killed in the San Francisco, California financial district.

1993: Six people killed on a Long Island, New York commuter train.

1997: Three students killed by a fellow student at a high school in Kentucky

1998: Five people killed (four girls and a teacher) at an Arkansas Middle School (the killers were two children, age 13 and 10).

1999: Coumbine High School, Colorado: 13 people killed by two students.

1999: Nine people killed in the financial district in Atlanta, Georgia

1999: Seven people killed at a church in Texas.

2000: Seven people killed Dec. 26 at an Internet company in Massachusetts.

2001: 2 students killed and 13 wounded by fellow student in California

2003: Five killed at a Mississippi aircraft plant by a co-worker.

2005: Five students and two others killed by another student in Minnesota.

2006: Five Amish children killed at their Pennsylvania school by a truck driver.

2007: Five killed at a shopping mall in Utah. An off-duty policeman exchanges gunfire with the perpetrator, preventing more killings.

2007: 32 students killed at Virginia Tech by a fellow student.

2007: Dec. 5 - eight people killed at a Nebraska shopping mall.

2008: Five people killed at Northern Illinois University.

2009: Ten people killed in Alabama.

2009: Thirteen people killed in a Binghamton, New York immigration center.

2010: In Manchester, Connecticut a co-worker kills eight people.

2011: Six people killed in Tucson, Arizona; among the eleven who are wounded, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is shot in the head but survives.

2011: Eight people killed at a beauty salon in California.

2012: A former student kills seven students at Oikos University in California.

2012: 12 people killed at a "Batman" movie in Aurora, Colorado.

2012: Six people killed at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.

2012: Five people killed in Minnesota by a co-worker.

2012: Three people killed at a beauty salon in Wisconsin.

2012: Dec. 11 - two people killed at an Oregon shopping mall.

2012: Dec. 14 - 27 people killed at a Connecticut grammar school, including twenty children.


  1. Hoffman isn't alone:

    Victoria Jackson: My friend Jim Riley posted: "Wasn't the Connecticut killer just doing what abortionists do every day? It's a wonder we don't have more 20 year old "dads" doing what women and doctors have been an accomplice to for years in America. When you forget the TEN COMMANDMENTS, people, THIS is what you get."

    Mike Huckabee: “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we've systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools have become a place for carnage because we've made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, responsibility, accountability? That we're not just going to have to be accountable to the police, if they catch us. But one day, we will stand in judgment before God. If we don't believe that, we don't fear that.”

    Bryan Fischer: In 1962 we kicked prayer out of the schools. In 1963 we kicked God's word out of ours schools. In 1980 we kicked the Ten Commandments out of our schools. We've kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, 'Hey, I'll be glad to protect your children, but you've got to invite me back into your world first. I'm not going to go where I'm not wanted. I am a gentlemen.

    Somehow these beliefs don't mesh very well with the historical record of the barbarity and brutal violence of say, the Middle Ages. They do echo sentiments voiced by Pat Robertson in the wake of the Haitian earthquake and, more recently, by a commentator who equates leftism with evil and a rejection of God. Furthermore: "Roberts, like other recent shooters such as Jared Lee Loughner, the man who shot up a Tuscon, Arizona shopping mall on January 8, 2011 that killed six people, was motivated by hatred stoked by leftists."

    Although not explicit, the three quotes above imply the same thing: these events are caused by liberal's hatred of Christianity.

    Of course. I'm still amazed, though at this age I shouldn't be, how people are still working from within a vindictive Old Testament mindset. The age of miracles isn't over, God apparently still intervenes--or not--in the day-to-day of human affairs....

  2. It's not an exhaustive list (though exhausting). I'm reasonably certain that it doesn't include any robberies that led to multiple shooting deaths, of which I would guess that there have been hundreds since 1966. Also, there have surely been drive-by shootings that killed more than one person since 1966.

    Also doesn't include all of these US gun massacres.

    Nor does it include all of the US gun massacres listed here.

    No doubt, though, that the tempo is increasing, although these horrors pre-date 1966, for example the Bath School Disaster, which was biblical in its terror.

    Why don't we see this happening in other "gun friendly" countries, like Israel or Switzerland?

  3. (I meant, "...doesn't include *some* of the US gun massacres" ... i.e., "some" not "all".)

  4. Yeah, the list is bound to have some holes in it, but I think drive-bys and robberies are excluded because despite the end result, they're totally different kinds of crimes. The robbery or revenge/gang war killings at least have some kind of sense to them.

    I'm really surprised that the Bath School Disaster isn't cited more often in relation to these current shootings. If anything, it undercuts the "the US has abandoned religion" narrative.

    And yeah, the Swiss are very secular, they haven't devolved into barbarity. And one could argue that in Israel, the violence is channeled somewhat into the all-pervasive conflict with Palestine?

    The US was born in violence, built on slavery and grew geographically thru a process of ethnic cleansing, de facto. All this by people on the move, brave or desperate enough to leave their homelands, severed somewhat from their cultural norms, fed by dreams of gold and inflamed by religious fanaticism....this all feeds into it I think.

  5. Indeed, your point about Israeli anger channeled towards their neighbors is a good one.

    Regarding the Swiss, which I know little about, how pervasive is their treatment of juvenile mental illness with psychotropic drugs? Are there numbers on the amount of hours Swiss juveniles play video games and watch television? How violent is their media? In other words, how much of their day is spent in virtual reality?

    This case appears to involve a mentally ill and medicated 20 year old. Did he watch what is considered the average amount of television throughout his life? How much time did he spend playing violent video games? Two recent polls showed an average range of 9 - 13 hours spent playing video games for children and teens, and a total of 50 hours per week combined of television and gaming.

    If he was on psychotropics, did his physician know or address these factors with his family? Multiple peer-reviewed medical studies name television and gaming violence as a major contributor to aggressive behavior as children develop. Along with this aggression comes a lack of empathy.

    Guns are the window dressing here. Our entertainment oriented culture is saturated with virtual violence that affects our minds, whether we want it to or not, especially affecting the devloping minds of children. If this is not addressed, and I don't expect it to be at all outside of academia, then we're back to where we started.

  6. I try to limit my kids and video games, because I've definitely noticed they're more agitated and excitable after playing them. TV seems to go straight to their "gimme that" "buy me that" part of the brain. Very powerful media indeed.

    Perhaps an unstable kid on or off pharmaceutials is more sentitive to these stimuli. They can certainly have wild hysterical reactions to stuff most kids would shrug off, although who can tell what most kids are internalizing.

    I myself am definitely more edgy after being connected to the media for a while. When I'm away from TV and the net I have a much more positive take on life.

    A kid branched into all that and on psychotropic drugs will certainly develop a different relationship to reality. I don't blame the games exactly, but there would appear to be a link in some cases with mass shooters and video gams. Breivik, the Oslo shotter, apparently "trained" on video games and spent hours playing.

    Not that this is a cause and efect relationship necessarily, but someone with a violent and aggressive fantasy life would certainly be drawn to video games. But millions play these games; it's statistically negligible that one of these will become a shooter, with or without them. Not to dismiss the results, certainly not negligible to the victim's families.

    Also, the gun control debate will kick into high gear again and I have mixed feelings. Any effective, "serious" attempt to disarm Ameica would lead to civil war, and even if it didn't America is so awash in firearms you'd have a majority criminal population left holding all the heat. By definition, only law-abiding citizens would comply and I'm sure many regular folks would not give up their guns.

    And why should they? The 2nd amendment is number 2 for a reason and I personally don't think law-abiding gun owners should be punished. Living in France, I miss having a firearm. I can get one, but the process is such a pain in the neck I've put it off.

    I think it's important to ask the question you ask, namely, why other gun-owning countries don't have the same violence. Part of this is historical, as I mentioned in a previous comment, at least I think that's part of it...but what contemporary aspects are part of it?

    America's a weird place with so many qualities completely foreign to Europe, identifying a sole cause or enacting an effective solution appears difficult if not impossible to achieve.

    Hard to think we just have to accept it and remain vigilant....

  7. While I do think that violent media, be it games, television or music, contribute significantly to this multifaceted problem, the main driver is society itself, and our reluctance to look to the root of problems for resolutions. I've heard various social commentators suggest that America is a schizophrenic society. We abhor the reality of death but we relish it on screen, especially if it's framed in an acceptable way; i.e., the "good guys " win. I tend to agree. In addition we are the first generation in the history of the world that has developed a full-blown relationship with virtual reality and it's only going deeper with things like 3D technology. Our brains aren't ready for it, but we're arrogant enough to believe that doesn't matter. Yes, America is a weird place.

  8. Any studies regarding the influence of readily available guns/ammo (and types of guns/ammo) vs. readily available images of violence (video games, TV, movies, whatever) out there?

    My gut tells me we're hardwired for violence.

  9. Jason, I think there's something to what you say....the technology has developed so fast and biochemically, maybe our brains aren't ready.

    There are studies to suggest that the acquisition of language isn't a result of a more developed brain as a child ages; rather, the brain develops the ability to use language as stimuli provoke the brain into developing the capacity to deal with it.

    No, imagine that for years babies grew up in relative quiet, whereas now from a very young age they're subjected to a non-stop barrage of stimuli---song, image, etc. And the style of the stimuli is more and more rapid, fragmented, aggressive.

    If it's true that early stimuli influences brain development, what kind of brains are being developed in a media-saturated culture such as our own, especially with all the violent imagery?

    They say that autism has increased dramatically over the last it because it's the first to be so bombarded. Our grandparents and parents were exposed, but with far less and far less frenetic imagery. If there is an increase in autism, is it the brain's response to being drowned in media? A shut-off overreaction?

    Humans are hard-wired for a certain amount of violence, I think, as an evolutionary imperative. History shows no end of war, massacres, public executions, etc. Maybe school shootings are expressions of this "need" to channel violence. ?

  10. Also, I had to re-activate "word verification" because of spam. Hope it doesn't discourage you from further comments!

  11. Yes, while our parents and grandparents had access to movies and television, the screen shots were not so rapid or fragmented, nor was the soundtrack so loud and explosive. Just watching an old movie, even pre-code Hollywood, proves that. I wouldn't doubt the connection to Autism, and I don't doubt there is a certain type of hardwiring regarding violence and the need to channel it; although I wonder if, instead of actual violence, would a form of physical exertion also provide the outlet? Not talking sports, although that would be a factor, but rather some sort of laborious activity where in the end the person would be rewarded with the gratification of having accomplished something. Certainly, for those that spend above average hours in front of a screen, that physical release is largely absent.

  12. I agree with both points...about the rapid, jarring and aggressive nature of current media. Very fragmented. For a long time the written word was our primary form of social discourse, which by nature was thorough and more drawn out. Reading a book takes time, allows us to develop an idea and for the reader to put a book down and think. Now that we're so audio/visual, things are reduced, the nature of the media doesn't allow us to pause and think, it just keeps going; great thought may be placed on the overall presentation, but a lot of the details register unconsciously. So now we're becoming more of a pictorial society in terms of social discourse. Like people say about Facebook, it's reduced to a "like" button and fragments of ideas. The human brain is becoming accelerated?

    Also regarding physical exertion. I personally always feel better after a day of physical exertion. Not sports, which I don't do, but things like gardening, chopping wood, building shelves, putting in concrete (I've been renovating my house for years!) I may be exhausted, but it's a clean exhaustion, my mind is calm, I feel more benevolent. So maybe that's it, we're not so much hardwired for violence as physical exertion: building our nest, getting our food, making candles, soap etc. For so long we've touted technology as a means of freeing us from drudgery, to have more leisure time, that maybe we've overlooked the positive aspects of daily "work". I'm not advocating a total Luddite return to a pre-electric society....who wants to spend all day washing clothes on a washboard, for example? But it does seem that, in the words of Roger Waters, we're being amused to death. Leisure time for so many is TV, video gaming and shopping....

  13. These comments don't seem so very far off from what Hoffman was saying ... but more polite with the etiology.

    1. Well, these comments do in fact jibe with a lot of Hoffman. He values books over TV, values reflection, certainly the value of a good day's work. He has some definite Luddite tendencies, despite using the internet extensively. But he doesn't go that route in the article I point to. His point there is that we as a nation are not right with God, so these things are the result. Remember his post where he blames America's woes on...strippers, among other things.

      But perhaps my comments over-emphasize the role of media, I'm not sure.

      Just re-reading Hoffman, he does talk about "the filth on commercial television which is broadcast to millions of children." So I guess there is some overlap. I'm not so sure it's the cotent as much as the quantity, it's presentation and it's aggressive and frenetic character, however. I don't know. I have a weird relationship with Hoffman's writing. Sometimes he hits the nail on the head, at others, he seems like a crank.

      Plus, I don't want to join in the "AC/DC caused my kid to kill himself" chorus, nor "video games cause children to kill". Maybe I'm just like any old guy afraid of the future, but don't kids build forts and run around in fields anymore?

      Thanks TAW for the input though, glad to see you're reading. Also, I got some Murmur feedback headed your way soon....


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