NOT THE WORST MASS SHOOTING IN US HISTORY…

October 4th, 2017

When I first heard the news from Las Vegas on Monday morning, the reports characterized the massacre as the worst mass shooting in recent history. The question that came to my mind was, well, what was the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States? The massacre at Wounded Knee, 1890, 150 dead, leapt to mind, but I knew that there could be others. This evening, writing in Las Vegas Is Only the Deadliest Shooting in US History Because They Don’t Count Black Lives for The Root, Michael Harriot goes for the teaching moment.

News reporters and anchors have repeatedly referred to the recent tragedy in Las Vegas as the “worst mass shooting in U.S. history.” Like all things that are constantly repeated, the proclamation has become fact.

In 2013 a report by the Congressional Research Service defined a public mass shooting this way: incidents occurring in relatively public places, involving four or more deaths—not including the shooter(s)—and gunmen who select victims somewhat indiscriminately. The violence in these cases is not a means to an end such as robbery or terrorism.

So, according to that broad definition, we wondered: Is 64-year-old Stephen Paddock the worst mass shooter in the long history of America? Does the Las Vegas incident qualify as the “deadliest” mass-shooting incident?

Only if you don’t count black people.

Here’s where learning History, our History, is vital. Harriot goes on to detail:

The Bombing of Black Wall Street, 1921, 250 dead…

The Elaine Massacre, 1919, 237 dead…

The Thibodaux Massacre, 1887, 100 dead…

The Colfax Massacre, 1873, 150 dead…

The Bloody Island Massacre, 1850, 135 dead…

Harriot’s list goes on.

One Response to “NOT THE WORST MASS SHOOTING IN US HISTORY…”

  1. Mary Jo says:

    This into today’s Guardian: Key change in timeline of deadliest US mass shooting…
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/10/las-vegas-gunman-six-minutes-mass-shooting
    I thought the Guardian was better than that. So annoyed.

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