41 mass killings in US in 2019, highest on record
BOISE, IDAHO: There have been more mass killings in the US this year than any other year on record.
A database compiled by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University that dates back to the 70s showed this.
In all, there were 41 mass killings, defined as when four or more people are killed excluding the perpetrator. Of those, 33 were mass shootings. More than 210 people were killed. The second-most killings in a year prior to 2019 was 38 in 2006.
Most of the mass killings barely became national news, failing to resonate among the general public because they did not spill into public places such as massacres in El Paso and Odessa in Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Jersey City, New Jersey.
The majority of the killings involved people who knew each other, such as family disputes or drug or gang violence.
In many cases, what set off the culprit remains a mystery.
That is the case with the very first mass killing of this year, when a 42-year-old man took an axe and stabbed to death his mother, stepfather, girlfriend and nine-month-old daughter in Clackamas County, Oregon.
Two others, a roommate and an eight-year-old girl, escaped.
The rampage ended when police fatally shot the killer.
The perpetrator previously had run-ins with police, but what drove him to attack his family remains unknown. He had just received a job training mechanics at an car dealership, and despite occasional arguments with relatives, most said there was nothing out of the ordinary that raised red flags.
Dr James Densley, a criminologist and professor at Metropolitan State University in Minnesota, said the database confirms and mirrors what his own research into exclusively mass shootings has shown.
"What makes this even more exceptional is that mass killings are going up at a time when general homicides, overall homicides, are going down," Dr Densley said. "As a percentage of homicides, these mass killings are also accounting for more deaths."
He believes it is partially a byproduct of an "angry and frustrated time" we are living in. - AP