News / USA

US Mass Killings Troubling Fact of American Life

A Emergency Response Team vehicle arrives to the scene where a gunman was reported at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013. A Emergency Response Team vehicle arrives to the scene where a gunman was reported at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013.
x
A Emergency Response Team vehicle arrives to the scene where a gunman was reported at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013.
A Emergency Response Team vehicle arrives to the scene where a gunman was reported at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, Sept. 16, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Mass killings in the U.S., like Monday's assault at the Navy Yard in Washington, have become a troubling and recurring fact of life in America.

In the latest carnage, authorities say a gunman killed 12 people, many of them office workers, before being killed in a shootout with police.  National television broadcasts captured the frantic scenes a short distance from the U.S. Capitol, with workers running from an office building in fright and police armed with assault rifles looking for the killer.

It was not the only mass killing this year in the U.S., but it was the worst.  The country's Federal Bureau of Investigation defines a mass killing as an incident where four or more people are killed, not including the killer.  By that measure, there have been 19 other such incidents in the U.S. in 2013 - often times family disputes that draw little national attention - and a total of more than 200 such cases since 2006.   

Last December, a gunman killed his mother, then drove to a nearby elementary school in the northeastern state of Connecticut and killed 26 people, including 18 students.

Before that, in July 2012, a troubled graduate student opened fire at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie at a Colorado theater, killing 12 people.  Less than a month later, an Army veteran killed five men and a woman at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

Like Monday's assault, the killings have often occurred in seemingly peaceful settings.  A gunman in early 2011 killed six people and wounded 13 others, including a U.S. congresswoman, as she was meeting with voters on a Saturday morning outside a grocery store in Arizona.

In 2009, an Army psychiatrist killed 13 soldiers and civilians on an Army base in Texas. He was recently sentenced to death, but mandatory reviews of his sentence could take years.

Two years earlier, a student at a large university, Virginia Tech, killed 32 people on the sprawling campus.  In 1999, two students at a Colorado high school killed 12 of their classmates and a teacher.

After mass killings in the U.S., some lawmakers have called for much tighter gun controls.  Last year's Connecticut schoolhouse slaughter sparked an extensive debate in the U.S. over gun rights, and the U.S. Constitution guarantee of the right to bear arms.

U.S. President Barack Obama called for stiffer gun controls, but Congress rejected new restrictions.

You May Like

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid