Las Vegas is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history with at least 50 dead.
How many times have we seen this headline? One time is too many, but sadly, there have been others, featuring different cities, venues, excuses and perpetrators.
How long, Lord? How long?
The FBI defines a mass shooting as 4 or more being killed, not including the perpetrator or perpetrators, in a single event. Since 1949, approximately 482 are dead and 899 injured at the hands of a fellow human being. 1381 families forever changed. Countless others impacted by events they were witness to.
Lord, have mercy…
September 5, 1949 Camden, NJ
Army veteran Howard Unruh gunned down 13 people while walking around his neighborhood.
July 18, 1984 San Ysidro, CA
James Oliver Huberty, an out-of-work security guard, killed 21 people in a McDonald’s restaurant.
August 20, 1986 Edmond, OK
Pat Sherrill, 44, a postal worker who was about to be fired, shot 14 people at a post office.
October 16, 1991 Killeen, TX
George Hennard opened fire at a Luby’s Cafeteria, killing 23 people before taking his own life. Twenty others were wounded in the attack.
August 1, 1996 University of Texas at Austin
Charles Whitman opened fire from the school’s clock tower, killing 16 people and wounding 31 before officers killed him.
April 20, 1999 Columbine High School Littleton, CO
Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school’s library.
April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA
Seung-Hui Cho, 23, killed 32 people and himself. All but two of the casualties were in a classroom building.
December 5, 2007 Omaha, NE
19-year-old Robert A. Hawkins shot and killed eight people and injured four more when he opened fire with an assault rifle at Westroads Mall.
March 10, 2009 Geneva County, AL
Michael McLendon, 28, killed 10 people — including his mother, four other relatives, and the wife and child of a local sheriff’s deputy — across two rural Alabama counties.
April 3, 2009 Binghamton, NY
Jiverly Wong, 41, killed 13 people at the American Civic Association immigration center.
November 5, 2009 Fort Hood, TX
Thirteen soldiers and civilians were killed and more than two dozen were wounded when an Army Psychiatrist walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center and opened fire.
August 3, 2010 Manchester, CT
Omar Thornton, a driver for Hartford Distributors, killed eight people, after he was fired.
January 8, 2011 Tucson, AZ
Jared Lee Loughner kills six people and wounds 13 others, including then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in a shooting spree outside a grocery store.
October 12, 2011 Seal Beach, CA
Scott Evans Dekraai pleaded guilty in May 2014 to fatally shooting eight people, including his ex-wife, at a beauty salon.
April 2, 2012 Oakland, CA
One Goh kills seven people at Oikos University after he was refused a tuition refund.
July 20, 2012 Aurora, CO
Twelve people were killed when a gunman entered a movie theater, released a gas canister, then opened fire during opening night of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”
December 14, 2012 Newton, CT
20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 children, as youngsters cowered in their classrooms and trembled helplessly at the sound of gunfire.
March 13, 2013 Herkimer, NY
Police killed 64-year-old Kurt Myers after he embarked on a shooting rampage that left four dead. Myers also shot and killed an FBI dog while holed up in an abandoned bar during a standoff.
June 9, 2013 Santa Monica, CA
23-year-old John Zawahri was shot and killed by authorities after a violent spree at Santa Monica College that claimed the lives of five people and wounded several others.
September 16, 2013 Washington, D.C.
IT contractor and former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis kills twelve people inside the Navy Yard.
February 21, 2014 Alturas, CA
Cherie Lash Rhoades, a former chairwoman of Cedarville Rancheria, allegedly opened fire at the tribal headquarters of the Cedarville Rancheria, killing four people and critically wounding two others in a gun and knife attack.
May 23, 2014 Isla Vista, CA
22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six college students at the start of Memorial Day weekend and wounded seven other people, stabbing three then shooting and running people down in his BMW near University of California.
October 24, 2014 Marysville, WA
A 15-year-old gunman shot five students, four fatally, at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
June 17, 2015 Charleston, SC
21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof could face the death penalty after fatally shooting nine people at a historic black church.
October 1, 2015 Roseburg, OR
Christopher Harper-Mercer killed a professor and nine students in a classroom, wounding nine others, at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
December 2, 2015 San Bernadino, CA
14 people were killed and 22 were injured in a terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.
June 12, 2016 Orlando, FL
Florida security guard Omar Mateen killed 49 people inside Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
October 1, 2017 Las Vegas, NV
A lone gunman opened fire on concert goers on the Las Vegas Strip, killing 58 and injuring more than 515. The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Lord, have mercy…
All because someone walked into a neighborhood, onto college campuses, into restaurants, a post office, high schools, a mall, an immigration center, an Army base, a distribution center, a parking lot, a beauty salon, a movie theater, a Navy yard, an American Indian Reservation, an elementary school, a church, a center for those with disabilities, a nightclub, and a resort area. They picked up a gun or guns, with the intent to kill, because they were angry. Because they were mentally ill. Because they were bullied. Because they hated. Hated because they were rejected, they didn’t get their way, because of the color of someone’s skin or who they loved.
How long, Lord? How long?
How long indeed. How long will we have to watch as our neighbors kill each other and then themselves? How long will hatred be the lens we see others through? How many more mornings will we wake up to the devastating news of death and destruction?
How long, Lord? How long?
There are no adequate prayers in light of what has happened and is happening in this country. When did the lives of our neighbors cease to have value? Why has it become easier to block them, unfriend them, insult them, disparage them, kill them?
Love your neighbor has indeed become an empty platitude. My heart is broken for these families, broken for our country. Lord, have mercy.
If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.
Psalm 34:18 The Message