What Is A Mass Shooting?
Mass shootings have become an overwhelming issue since the turn of the century. The definition of a “mass shooting” is one of constant debate, but the most agreed upon definition thus far comes from Congress’s definition of a mass killing, which is three or more people killed in a single incident, not including the perpetrator. All mass shootings are criminal acts, but because of the ambiguity of its definition, you will find multiple lists about mass shootings with differing statistics. The Gun Violence Archive, for example, does not exclude any shooting incident as long as it meets the total number shot or killed, making their numbers usually higher than other lists. Other organizations exclude drug and gang violence since the motives for those crimes usually are not meant to be cases of indiscriminate mass murder.
Facts About Mass Shootings
Although the definition of a mass shooting may sometimes be considered vague, we have compiled a list of facts concerning mass shootings:
- Mass shootings account for less than 1% of all firearm deaths.
This can be a rather sobering revelation, and the percentage would be higher if mass shootings related to domestic violence were included in the study.
- According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 418 shootings with 4+ victims in 2019.
- Gun control does help reduce mass shootings.
Harvard professor and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, David Hemingway, has spent an exorbitant amount of his career studying gun violence and concluded that the difference between the U.S. and other high-income countries in terms of gun violence is our guns and lack of gun laws. He theorizes that stricter licensing, stronger background checks, and an administration solely dedicated to the monitoring of sales and use of guns would be a great step in the right direction.
- Responses to a mass shooting usually involve government, philanthropic, and individual support.
Typically, after a mass shooting, there is an influx of support towards the victims of this horrific crime. The response after the shooting at Pulse Orlando, for example, involved countless GoFundMe’s started by individuals, multiple philanthropic organizations funding donations, and the US Department of Justice coming to the aid of victims, all capitulating to millions of dollars being funded for the victims of that tragic event.
Help Offered for Mass Shooting Victims
In the U.S. there are multiple programs created to support victims of mass shootings. The federal government typically contributes financial support through the Depart of Justice’s Office of Victims of Crimes, or OVC. The OVC was created not just to support victims of mass shootings, but for victims of several other kinds of violent crimes and has grown a budget from 500 million to a massive 10 billion dollars to support those victims. As previously mentioned, there are also several community programs and philanthropic organizations that specifically cater to supporting those who suffer from the devastating effects of mass shootings. The support provided to mass shooting victims can also include the families of those deceased, people who are shot and people in or at the location but not shot. Compensation programs offered to victims range from medical care, funerals, lost wages, and mental health treatment. Benefits given by the government on average, however, normally cap at $25,000. With the help of individual funders, philanthropic groups, and victim advocates, the amount available to victims can be significantly more.
Mass shootings are a terrible problem plaguing this country. There is plenty of controversy surrounding how to deal with this growing issue, but for the victims of these horrendous tragedies, they are not alone. There are options available to those affected by mass shootings to help them heal from the trauma they endured both physically and mentally. There are also several government programs and funders dedicated to financially supporting these victims. What victims endure following their horrific experience is nothing short of harrowing, but they deserve to know that they have a support system in place to help them recover as best as they can.