With the lasted news coming out of Vegas, I realized that my girls (20 and 17) have lived through 7 of the 10 Deadliest Mass Shootings in modern US history.
My daughter Gabi is 19. She’s a college student at her dream school. She has a full-time job, a dog, a boyfriend, friends, and she’s happy. She has strong points of views and always has an interesting perspective to bring to the table with the happenings in the world.
After the Las Vegas shootings, she called me. We talked about the horrifying news of this now being the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. She then said, “But mom, do you realize I have been alive for last 3?” This fact makes me very sad, to think my daughter doesn’t know any different.
Then I started thinking; she was born in 1998. My other daughter Madi, in 2000. They will never remember a world without September 11th. They were born into a desensitized society. So different than the one I grew up in, so to see and understand the generation gap from our point of view, it’s interesting.
When I started to do a little research, I was even more brokenhearted as I realized that she was mistaken. She has been alive for seven of the ten deadliest mass shootings in modern US history. SEVEN! She’s not even 20. How very sad.
Deadliest Mass Shootings
I grabbed the following study from CNN.com so you can see that list.
*The Harvest Music Festival
At least 59 killed
October 1, 2017 – A gunman, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, fires from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on a crowd of 30,000 gathered on the Las Vegas Strip for the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. At least 58 people were killed and more than 515 injured. Police believe the gunman killed himself.
*Pulse Night Club
One year, two months ago tragedy struck. Not a day goes by that we do not think about the 49 angels that were taken too soon, the injured and all affected survivors, as well as the first responders and healthcare professionals who showcased true bravery. #WeWillNotLetHateWin _____________ #pulse #pulseorlando #orlandostrong #orlandounited #lgbtq #lovewins #loveislove #onepulse
June 12, 2016 – Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opens fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando. At least 49 people are killed, and more than 50 are injured. Police shoot and kill Mateen during an operation to free hostages officials say he was holding at the club.
April 16, 2007 – Student Seung-Hui Cho, 23, goes on a shooting spree, killing 32 people in two locations and wounding an undetermined number of others on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The shooter dies by suicide.
December 14, 2012 – Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six adults, school staff, and faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. — before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, dead from a gunshot wound.
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.
McDonald’s in San Ysidro
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 and kills 21 adults and children at a McDonald’s. A police sharpshooter kills Huberty one hour after the rampage begins.
University of Texas
August 1, 1966 – In Austin, Charles Joseph Whitman, a former US Marine, kills 16 and wounds at least 30 while shooting 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.
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, killing 14 people. They are killed in a shootout with police later in the day.
August 20, 1986 – In Edmond, Oklahoma, part-time mail carrier Patrick Henry Sherrill, armed with three handguns, kills 14 postal workers in 10 minutes and then takes his own life with a bullet to the head.
November 5, 2009 – Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 people and injures 32 at Fort Hood, Texas, during a shooting rampage. He is convicted and sentenced to death.
There were several other incidents in which 13 people were killed, including Columbine High School.
What can we do?
So I sat with my 17-year-old and as asked her how she felt about what happened in Vegas. She quickly turned to gun control and the things she read on Twitter. As far as what happened, she said it seems to happen all the time. She asked, “What is going to change to help prevent it from happening again?” I looked at her pretty little face and didn’t have an answer.
I grew up in a small town in west-central Florida. Many families I grew up with were and still are hunters. I grew up shooting guns. My dad owned a gun. He never used it besides target practice. I remember being very respectful of guns. Not really enjoying being around them, yet it gave me a sense of safety knowing my dad had one and would use it if needed. I felt safe.
I am not against owning a gun. Especially when used properly. Would it be nice to be in a world that guns didn’t exist? Probably. But it’s not going to happen, so it’s an argument that I can’t have. There will always be someone with a gun.
What I don’t understand is the reason for making it so easy to obtain rifles that can take out several people at one time. We can argue mental health, and better background checks, but why is it necessary for anyone to own a semi-automatic or automatic rifle? Multiple none the less. Why anyone one needs a gun that can take out over 500 people from the distance of 3 football fields away, that is what I don’t understand.
I share many of the same views as Jimmy Kimmel in this video from the day after the shootings. I too am tired of it, don’t understand and think those that can make some changes need some pressure to do so.
I asked a group of Madi’s friends what they thought of the Vegas shootings. They are all had different answers. One about the media, one about living for today, one about not feeling safe when in attraction areas. When I asked them about gun control, they all shrugged almost to say, “what can we do?” One of the girls is from a country that they don’t allow guns. This kind of news doesn’t exist. I don’t have answers, but I too, have so many questions.
I keep finding myself unable to answer the questions. The world that they have grown up in has been scary. So different from 25 years ago. However, here I am, raising and learning with them through these tragic times.
I wish I could propose a change that would make everyone happy. But we don’t have answers, and all of our opinions are different. But there is no doubt that we all have one thought in common, how do we help prevent another incident to add to the list of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history? How do we ensure that my future grandchildren won’t live through the next 10 Deadliest Mass Shootings? I am not looking for debates; I am looking for answers. For all of us.