Confronting Modern Mass Shootings

Oct 3, 2017

Terror in the streets of Las Vegas. How should Americans understand and confront the now-drumbeat of mass killings in this country.

Is it possible to be numb and outraged at the same time? The hideous mass shooting in Las Vegas can evoke both feelings. Numbers of dead and wounded so high. So appalling. And yet we know that mass shooting has become regular as rain in America. More than one a day. Think about that. We’re going to. Why are we killing ourselves? And what should we do about it? This hour, On Point: In the sorrow of Las Vegas, we ask why. And what to do. — Tom Ashbrook.


Jonathan Metzl, professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University. Director of the Center for Medicine Health, and Society. @JonathanMetzl

Joel Capellan, professor of Law and Justice Studies at Rowan University.

Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer-prize winning novelist, essayist.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Las Vegas Shooting Near Mandalay Bay Casino Kills 58 — “A gunman on a high floor of a Las Vegas hotel rained a rapid-fire barrage on an outdoor concert festival on Sunday night, killing at least 58 people, injuring hundreds of others, and sending thousands of terrified survivors fleeing for cover, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.”

The New Yorker: Another Worst Mass Shooting in the United States — “The distance between forty-nine dead in Orlando and at least fifty-eight in Las Vegas is sixteen months. The deadliest shooting before Orlando, the massacre at Virginia Tech, which claimed the lives of thirty-two people, held that terrible distinction for nine years—not a small amount of time, but damning by another measure, in that our “worst” tragedy could not exist for a decade without being surpassed. People typically have to apply themselves to reach new benchmarks, and it is indisputable that we, as a society, have applied ourselves to reach this one.”

The Atlantic: Another Concert Made Into a Target — “The particulars of the attack that killed at least 50 people and injured more than 400—the deadliest shooting in modern American history—are uniquely horrifying. But there is a nauseating familiarity to the slaughter as well. Concerts have become venues of mass murder in recent years: 89 at the Eagles of Death Metal show in Paris, 22 leaving an Ariana Grande performance in Manchester. An evening at a dance club in Orlando ended with 49 deaths from gunfire.”

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