This Has Become Normal

If you feel like there is a mass shooting every day, that’s because there basically is.

This Year, There Have Been More Mass Shootings Than Days

Today, up to three unidentified gunmen entered the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, which serves individuals with developmentally disabilities, and opened fire, killing 14 and injuring 17 more according to the most recent reports. The tragedy is developing and certainly appears to be an extreme incident of domestic terrorism. It has the most fatalities of any mass shooting since Sandy Hook, and also reportedly has more than one gunman who escaped the scene of the crime.

While we expect the details of this particular event to become clearer over the next hours and days, the fact is that mass shootings in general are becoming practically a daily event. Speaking after the last mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday, President Obama said, “This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal.” The San Bernardino shooting, according to one definition, is the 355th mass shooting in 336 days. This has become normal.

There have been more than 1,000 mass shootings since Sandy Hook, according to a crowd-sourced database (there are multiple definitions of what constitutes a mass shooting). There has been no calendar week this year without a mass shooting, and nineteen days with at least four separate mass shootings. Mass shootings are becoming more and more frequent, according to Harvard researchers. The facts go on and continue to pile up.

The scope of the problem of gun violence, to the extent that research funding heavily restricted by the gun lobby (and against the will of doctors) will allow, goes far beyond these terrorists. More than 85 people each day die by firearm in the United States. This comes in many forms, beyond the high profile instances that often compel national attention: Domestic violence, gang violence, suicide, accidents, mass shootings. We know solutions that Americans overwhelmingly support and will help reduce this violence. Yet while many conservative politicians offer their “thoughts and prayers,” nothing changes.

Meanwhile, these same politicians — who think it is okay that terror suspects, domestic abusers, and criminals have easy access to guns inside America — want to act quickly to stop refugee families escaping war from entering the United States, even after a two-year multi-agency screening process.

BOTTOM LINE: “Now isn’t the time to talk about gun laws,” some say in the wake of horrible events such as the one today. In today’s America, that would mean we never do. We cannot become immune to the violence. We must call terrorism what it is, whether it is overseas or here at home, and no matter what the race or religion of the perpetrators. We have an obligation to victims to use moments like these to remind ourselves that our society can change, if we hold elected officials accountable for their inaction.

Like CAP Action on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.