Two Months, 96 Mass Shootings and Seven School Shootings

A new year is supposed to be a fresh start, full of celebration, prosperity and newfound dreams, but seven weeks into 2023 has brought both tragedy and devastation to the United States with an epidemic of mass shootings sweeping the nation.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization providing information on gun violence, gun crime and related injuries and fatalities in the United States, a reported 96 mass shootings have taken place this year as of Feb. 21. The most recent one at a Colorado Springs, Colorado convenience store on Feb. 21 left five people injured.

Although the meaning of the term “mass shooting” is subjective, as its interpretation tends to vary among groups, the Gun Violence Archive’s definition is frequently cited. It defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four individuals, besides the shooter, are killed or injured due to the incident.

These shootings aren’t just unfolding in areas with high rates of gun violence but are occurring all over the United States. On Jan. 21 in Monterey Park, California, a city that has become a cultural haven for its Asian American community, 11 people were killed and nine were injured at a ballroom as many residents observed the Lunar New Year. Shootings have transpired in public spaces, on farms and even in the comfort of family homes.

It’s no surprise that the influx of mass shootings is drawing public attention as many communities continue to cope with their effects. With many individuals left shaken by these events, the possibility of violence ensuing in their own neighborhoods remains a primary worry.

In addition to the large wave of mass shootings this year, there have also been seven school shootings resulting in deaths or injuries as of Feb. 16, killing two people and injuring seven, according to Education Week. For years, students and school personnel in the U.S. have been voicing their concerns surrounding their safety and security in school, a place where a child or educator shouldn’t have to question their own well-being or fear that they will fall victim to America’s growing issue of gun violence not only in educational institutions, but nationally too.

Five years after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students are still speaking out against school shootings and gun violence in general, with some calling on lawmakers to take action. 

“I have many safety concerns regarding mass shootings,” said senior Rylee Wise. “From a student perspective, I don’t feel safe at school. I walk into school not knowing what could happen. I have fear for my life. That isn’t right, something needs to change.”

It’s not only students who are concerned but teachers too.

“The United States has a gun problem,” said Spanish and Ethnic Studies teacher Jordan Moore. “We have too many guns. I fear that there are so many guns in our country now that the problem will never be resolved. Ask any of our exchange students if they have school shootings in their home country, and they will say no.”

Moore also expressed that people should have the right to protect themselves but acknowledges the issues involving safety.

“I am really at a loss on what to do about gun safety,” Moore said. “We can have all the gun safety in the world, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t change the fact that we still have guns.”

Following the mass shootings in California, President Joe Biden urged Congress to ban assault weapons as an attempt to fight gun violence in the U.S. at his annual State of the Union Address on Feb. 7. Biden also honored Brendan Tsay, 26, who confronted and disarmed the Monterey Park gunman, during this time.