Are Mass Shootings terrorism? Featured

By Orhan Blacksmith August 01, 2023 4066

The US is full of different mass shootings, ranging from those that hurt family members, gangs fighting, disturbed random attacks, attacking co-workers, and committing acts of violence for political, religious, social, racial, or environmental reasons. The people who do these shootings and the people who get hurt can be of any age, race, or social background. It's hard to find one reason or explanation for why these shootings happen because they are so complicated. But one thing that many of the deadliest shootings have in common is that it's easy for people to get really dangerous guns. This is different from most other advanced countries, where mass shootings don't happen very often.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a mass shooting is officially defined as an event where four or more individuals are either injured or lose their lives. Shockingly, within the span of this year alone, the US has already witnessed over 200 such horrific incidents that shattered countless lives and families.

  Terrorism or not?

The question of whether mass shootings in the USA can be classified as a form of terrorism is one that merits careful examination from a professional perspective. While there may be some overlap between the two phenomena, it is crucial to distinguish them based on intent and motive. Terrorism typically involves politically motivated violence with the aim of instilling fear or coercion within a population. On the other hand, mass shootings in the USA often stem from personal grievances or mental health issues, lacking a clear ideological or political objective. However, it is important to acknowledge that certain cases do exhibit characteristics of both terrorism and mass shooting incidents, blurring the line between these categories. These incidents are often driven by ideologies such as white supremacy or anti-government sentiment, thus highlighting their potential terrorist nature. The complexity lies in accurately assessing each situation individually and considering multiple factors before definitively labeling them as terrorism or mass shootings.

The availability of firearms

One undeniable contributing factor to this harrowing tally is the steady growth of gun ownership in the country. Over the past several years, the ownership of firearms has surged, revealing an alarming trend. The availability of firearms has proven to be a significant catalyst for mass shootings, as the number of incidents this year has escalated by 9% compared to the same period in 2022. It is an undeniable reality that cannot be ignored.

To put the scale of this issue into perspective, let us not forget that in 2022, a staggering total of 647 mass shootings unfolded in the United States. The fact that this year seems poised to surpass that grim record demands immediate attention from lawmakers and citizens alike.

Complex and Multifaceted Reasons

Experts have pointed out that the reasons behind mass shootings are complex and multifaceted. While it is crucial to acknowledge mental health issues as a factor, it would be oversimplifying the problem to blame them solely. Societal factors also play a pivotal role, highlighting the urgent need for widespread change in attitudes and systems.

Shocking Statistics

These factors are exacerbated by the shocking statistics emanating from the Small Arms Survey. In 2018, the survey estimated that a staggering 390 million firearms were in circulation across the United States. This equates to an alarming ratio of 120.5 firearms per 100 residents – a dramatic increase from 88 per 100 in 2011. In comparison to other nations, the US stands alone with a gun ownership rate that far surpasses that of any other country in the world.

Gun control measures

It is incumbent upon us as a society to address this issue head-on. Gun control measures, coupled with comprehensive mental health support systems, are urgent requirements to curb the rising tide of violence. The availability and accessibility of firearms must be scrutinized and reformed to ensure public safety and prevent future tragedies.

As the United States continues to grapple with the scourge of mass shootings, it is essential for communities, lawmakers, and citizens to come together and confront this issue with the utmost seriousness it deserves. Lives depend on it, and the time for action is now.