Texas mass shooting rings alarm bells as statistics show grim picture

Shoppers leave with their hands up as law enforcement responds to a mass shooting in the Dallas area’s Allen Premium Outlets, which authorities said left at least nine people dead in Allen, Texas, on Saturday in this image taken from video. REUTERS

The US has seen an acceleration of mass killings, with the sixth public mass killing of 2023 already occurring, leaving eight dead and seven injured at a Texas outlet mall. 

This marks a concerning trend, as the current year has already witnessed six mass shootings in a public place in the US, and the most in a year has been 10, according to James Alan Fox, a professor at Northeastern University. 

Texas and California are the states with the most mass shootings in 2023.

There have been 22 mass killings in 2023, defined as four or more people killed, not including the perpetrator. All of the mass killings this year have been shootings, and twelve were among families. The number of annual mass killings in the US has remained mostly steady from 2006 to 2018, increasing in 2019 and continuing in 2023, which has already seen more mass killings than any other year.

Beyond mass killings, there have been scores of other shootings happening daily across the country, with at least 202 mass shootings in the US this year, leaving 792 victims injured and 276 dead, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The archive defines a mass shooting as at least four victims struck by gunfire. 

The archive also indicates an acceleration of mass shootings, with the US not seeing so many mass shootings at this point in the year since at least 2016.

Of the nine mass killings in the US with at least 20 people killed, three were in Texas, said Fox. Texas has previously seen several mass killings with high numbers of fatalities. 

In response to the mass shootings, President Joe Biden called on Congress to act, urging lawmakers to reinstate the nation’s ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which expired in 2004.

Former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, founder of the gun violence prevention organization GIFFORDS, has criticised Texas leaders for not doing enough to make the state safer.

The recent shooting at the Allen outlet mall has shaken people’s sense of safety when they go into a public place. Fox has cited the combination of increased gun purchases, the impact of COVID-19 on people’s emotional state and economic wellbeing, and the political divisions in the country as reasons for the increase in mass shootings.

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