James Holmes, suspect of the Colorado shooting. Photo credit: University of Colorado Denver


Last night’s mass shooting inside a movie house in Aurora, Colorado left 12 people dead and 59 other injured. The horrific incident is now considered as the worst mass shooting in United States history with a total of 71 casualties! The perpetrator is 24-year-old James Holmes, a Ph.D. candidate in Neurosciences at the University of Colorado Medical Center.

Today, all TV news networks are covering the story unceasingly. Families of the victims are being interviewed and witnesses are sharing their accounts of what really happened inside the theater the moment James unloaded his rifle to the movie goers — killing adults and children alike.

Tragedy like this rarely happens in my country, the Philippines. We may have heard reports of someone getting shot or stabbed in a day to day basis, but never a mass shooting. The only time I heard a massacre news was in 2009, which the Ampatuan massacre. The tragedy happened in a hotspot area in the southern part of the Philippines and it was politically-motivated. As far as I can recall, there was no instance when a depressed student entered a university campus and began firing at just about anyone! Unlike in the U.S. where the possibility of expelled student easily going berserk and resorting to mass shooting is likely, the Filipino students tend to have strong control with their emotions and shy away from violent actions such as mass killing innocent people.

I tabulated the incidents of mass shooting in the U.S. since 2005 from various online sources and the numbers are scary. Most of the shootings happened inside a school or university and some of the gunmen are teenagers.

Date Location Gunman Numbers Comments
2005

Mar 21

Red Lake Senior High School in Minnesota Jeffrey Weise

(A troubled 16-year-old student who was also bullied in school)

10 dead

5 injured

15 total victims

The fifth deadliest school massacre in the United States. The school district agreed to pay $1,000,000 total to 21 of the victims’ families.
2006

Oct 6

 

 

West Nickel Mines School Charles Carl Roberts IV

(milk truck driver)

5 dead

5 injured

10 total victims

 

The school was an Amish one-room schoolhouse. He had a suicide note telling his anger at God for the death of a premature infant daughter. The West Nickel Mines School was torn down, and a new one-room schoolhouse, the New Hope School, was built at another location.
2007

Apr 16

 

Virginia Tech Seung-Hui Cho

(undergrad student with severe anxiety disorder known as selective mutism.  A South Korean citizen with U.S. permanent resident status.)

32 dead

17 injured

49 total victims

Second-deadliest act of mass murder at a school campus, behind the Bath School bombing of 1927.

 

Led to passage of the first major federal gun control measure in more than 13 years.
2008

Feb 14

 

 

Northern Illinois University Steven Kazmierczak

(graduate student in the school of social work.  Earlier, he was treated temporarily for mental illness)

6 dead

21 injured

27 total victims

 

The fifth-deadliest university shooting in United States. A memorial area was built in remembrance of the victims.
2009

Aug 4

 

 

LA Fitness Club in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania George Sodini

(systems analyst at the law firm of K&L Gates)

 

4 dead

9 injured

13 total victims

He wrote online the rejections he got from women and his severe sexual frustration.  

 

 

 

Nov 5

 

Fort Hood, Texas Nidal Malik Hasan

(U.S. Army Major serving as a psychiatrist)

13 dead

29 injured

42 total victims

Was the worst shooting ever to take place on an American military base.
2010

Feb 12

University of Alabama in Huntsville

 

 

Amy Bishop

(biology professor who had been denied tenure at the university. She taught neurosciences class.)

3 dead

3 injured

6 total victims

In 1986, she shot her brother to death in an incident officially ruled an accident.
2011

Jan 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safeway, La Toscana Village Mall, Tucson, Arizona

 

 

Jared Lee Loughner

(A mentally-disturbed man obsessed with Cong. Gabrielle Giffords)

 

 

 

6 dead

13 injured

19 total victims

 

 

 

 

Cong. Gabrielle Giffords survives the attack and is now concentrating on her recovery.

 

 

 

 

Increased restrictions on the sale of firearms and ammunition, specifically high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Oct 12 Salon Meritage hair salon in Seal Beach, CA Scott Evans Dekraai

(Killed wife who worked in the salon. Had bitter custody dispute over his eight-year-old son.)

8 dead

1 injured

9 total victims

Worst shooting spree in Orange County since the Fullerton massacre in July 1976.
2012

Feb 27

Chardon High School

 

 

Thomas “T.J.” Lane

(had juvenile records, twice arrested in 2009.)

3 dead

3 injured

6 total victims

Deadliest shooting in a public high school in the United States since 2005.
Apr 2

 

Oikos University

 

One L. Goh

(He was angry at the administration after being expelled from the university. He is naturalized U.S. citizen from South Korea.)

 

7 dead

3 injured

10 total victims

 

Third-deadliest university shooting in United States history.

 

Jul 20

 

Century 16’s movie theater in Aurora, Colorado James Eagan Holmes

(PhD candidate in neuroscience from the University of Colorado School of Medicine)

12 dead

59 injured

71 total victims

It is the worst mass shooting in United States history.

After what happened in Aurora, Colorado, authorities are now looking into how the suspect was able to obtain the guns used in the shooting. Alright, that may help in putting the pieces together to complete the story of how and why the tragedy happened. However, I am afraid that the process will end from there. There is no resolution in sight to stop the tragic mass shooting from occurring again. Tell me, what has been done since the Virginia Tech shooting or the Tucson shooting of Cong. Giffords?

It looks like America’s gun laws are useless. As long as ordinary Americans are allowed to purchase assault rifles, I am afraid ‘depressed minds’ will continue to exploit the laws and use it to kill innocent people.

Should America wait for another massacre?

God forbid!

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