This was inspired by a comment from a Facebook friend who posted a meme saying “Legal Gun Owners Are Not the Problem. Mentally Unbalanced Leftist Activists Are The Problem.” The quote was attributed to someone named Don Williams, but I can find no evidence of any source for it. I wondered if the quote was true and whether most mass shootings could be attributed to “Leftists.” Here’s what I found.
Here Are The Top 10 mass gun shootings in the United States:
1. Las Vegas Harvest Music Festival, October 2017: White male opens fire from a hotel high rise sniper position, using weapons legally modified to fire as fully automatic, killing 58 and wounding over 500. Also legally acquired were magazines capable of firing 100 rounds without reloading. These things helped him at one point fire 280 rounds into the crowd in just 30 seconds with thousands of rounds of legally acquired ammunition fired in total over just 10 minutes. Also legally acquired were incendiary “tracer” rounds he unsuccessfully used to try to get nearby huge jet fuel tanks to explode. Motive remains unclear but he had mental health issues and was prescribed valium.
2. Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, June 2016: Born in USA Islamic and anti-gay terrorist Omar Mateen attacks a gay nightclub killing 49 and injuring more than 50. Neither his history of domestic abuse or being twice investigated for possible terrorist ties preventing him from legally buying assault rifles used in the attack.
3. Virginia Tech, April 2007: South Korean national Seung-Hui Cho goes on a shooting rampage killing 32. Cho had a history of mental health problems and evidence showed mental health professionals at the university failed to appropriately handle his case.
4. Sandy Hook, December 2012: Mentally disturbed white male Adam Lanza kills his gun enthusiast mother before taking her assault style weapons and going to an elementary school and killing 20 children and 6 members of the school staff. Lanza had mental health problems but beyond that no motive was determined.
5. Sutherland First Baptist Church, Texas November 2017: White male Devin Kelley enters a church firing nearly 450 rounds from high capacity magazines in an assault weapon, killing 26 and wounding 20. At this time motive appears to be revenge against in-laws who attended the church (but weren’t there at the time). Kelley had a history of mental health issues and violence to include being court martialed out of the Air Force for assaulting his wife and child. He should have been banned from buying guns but an Air Force administrative error kept him from being on the list.
6. Luby’s Cafeteria, Killeen Texas October 1991: White male racist (against blacks and hispanics) and woman hater George Hennard crashes a truck into a restaurant and comes out firing killing 24 and wounding 27. Many victims were killed assassination style by single shots to the head.
7. McDonald’s, San Ysidro California, July 1984: White male survivalist and pusher of conservative conspiracy theories James Huberty entered a McDonalds firing a pump action shot gun and 9mm pistol killing 22 and wounding 19. He walked among the crowd randomly executing people. He complained of mental health problems to his wife the days before the attacks but apparently was angry a mental health clinic he called for help did not return his call.
8. University of Texas, August 1966: Previously court martialed former Marine white male Charles Whitman takes a sniper position in the University of Texas tower and unleashes witheringly accurate fire from a hunting rifle, killing 16 and wounding 30. He leaves a suicide note presenting himself as “a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts.”
9. San Bernardino, December 2015: Born in USA Islamic terrorist Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani/Saudi Arabian wife Tashfeen Malik open fire with assault weapons at an employee conference killing 14 and wounding 22.
10. Edmond Oklahoma, Post Office, August 1986: White male former Marine expert marksman Patrick Sherrill goes on a shooting rampage at the post office where he worked. The attack inspired the phrase “going postal” while killing 14 (not counting Sherrill’s committing suicide) and wounding 6. Motive appears to have been anger at how his superiors treated him at work.
Now some thoughts.
- Not one of the Top 10 mass gun shootings is attributable to any kind of “Leftist.” They are overwhelmingly mentally disturbed white men. Often the mentally disturbed part includes elements of extreme conservatism, such as racism, sexism, or conservative anti-government conspiracy theories.
- Another example of such a anti-government conspiracy theory conservative thinking terrorist was Oklahoma City bomber, and white male, former Army Gulf War vet, registered Republican and NRA member Timothy McVeigh who killed 168 people with a fertilizer bomb. He was not included on this list because it was not a mass shooting. His motive was vengeance against the Clinton Administration for the Waco Branch Davidian siege.
- Another example of racist alt-right type white male mass shooting terrorist would be Dylan Roof who in June 2017 entered a Charleston Church and targeted blacks to kill 9.
- Two of the top 10 do involve Islamic terrorists, though one of those was motivated by anti-gay sentiments that would make Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore proud.
- Speaking of mental illness and guns, in February President Trump signed legislation rolling back an Obama era regulation making it more difficult for the mentally ill to buy guns.
- Did you notice what was not on the list? Columbine, which shocked the nation in 1999, is not there because it no longer even makes the Top 10. With 12 killed it slips to #11 now.
- After the Las Vegas Massacre action against bump stocks to convert semiautomatic rifles to automatic was suggested by Republicans, Trump and even the NRA. Bills to ban them died in committee as Republicans decided administrative action by regulation could do the job. However, no such action has been taken by the Trump Administration and no regulation is proposed or pending.
- However, a single attack by an ISIS inspired Uzbekistan national killing 8 people with a truck results in quick action to turn our immigration system upside down.
- With the exception of the husband and wife terrorist team in San Bernardino they all involved one shooter. None even involved any other accomplices. Imagine what would happen with an organized team of several people like Vegas shooter Sam Paddock, similarly armed with multiple weapons converted to full automatic capacity and executing a meticulously and well orchestrated plan developed over weeks of preparation. I mention this because it is going to happen someday.
- Three of the Top 10 occurred in Texas, known for its pro-gun policies.
- Three of the Top 5 worst mass gun shootings occurred in just the last 18 months. Prepare yourself for more of this.
- Half of the Top 10 worst mass shootings have been in just the last five years (see chart below):
Number of Top 10 Mass Shootings By Decade:
Founding of Republic-1959 = 0
1960–1969 = 1
1970–1979 = 0
1980–1989 = 2
1990–1999 = 1
2000–2009 = 1
2010–2017 (so far) = 5