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US sets record pace for mass killings so far this year

In six months, the U.S. has had 28 mass killings and 140 victims.
US sets record pace for mass killings so far this year
Posted at 10:32 AM, Jul 14, 2023

A somber record has been reached in the United States as the nation witnessed 28 instances of mass killings during the first six months of this year.

According to information compiled from a comprehensive database created by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University, this is the deadliest six months of mass killings recorded since at least 2006.

In just 181 days, there have been 28 mass killings and 140 victims in the U.S. alone.

The data was taken from incidents that took place between Jan. 1 and June 30. With the exception of a single occurrence that included arson, firearms were used in all of the attacks.

"We used to say there were two to three dozen a year," James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University, told the Associated Press. "The fact that there's 28 in half a year is a staggering statistic."

Fox also links the rise in bloodshed to the growth of gun ownership, but it is important to note that mass killings are infrequent and constitute only a fraction of the overall gun-related violence in the country.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 377 mass shootings so far this year — a drastic comparison to the 28 mass killings. 

A mass killing is defined as the loss of four or more lives, not including the assailant, within a span of 24 hours, the Associated Press says.

This year's record pace surpasses the previous record set last year, when 27 mass killings were committed in the second half of 2022. There were a total of 42 mass killings in 2022, with a total of 210 deaths.

However, experts say that there’s still hope that the rest of the year is calmer and that we don’t exceed or match 2022’s numbers.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story stated that Northwestern University was involved in the database. This story has been updated to reflect the correct university. 

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