In the early hours after the shooting at a Tulsa medical center on Wednesday, the details were murky. Soon, it became clear that the death toll there was not going to be as nearly as high as the tolls from the recent shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo.
Four people were killed in Tulsa (in addition to the gunman), compared with 21 in Uvalde and 10 in Buffalo. But the Tulsa shooting is nonetheless horrific in its own way — not only for its victims and their families but also for what it says about gun violence in the United States.
Shootings that kill multiple people are so common in this country that they often do not even make national news. They are a regular feature of American life. Tulsa has become the latest example — yet another gun crime that seems almost ordinary here and yet would be extremely rare in any other country as wealthy as the U.S.
To give you a sense of how common these shootings are, we’re devoting the rest of the lead item of today’s newsletter to a list of every documented mass shooting in which a gunman has killed at least three people in the U.S. so far this year. (The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as any in which at least four people are shot, including survivors.)
Among the patterns we noticed: Family disputes are a common motivation, and gang disputes are another. Every identified suspect has been a man, many under 25. Baltimore and Sacramento have experienced multiple such mass shootings this year.
2022, so far
Jan. 19, Baltimore: A man who worked for a gun violence reduction program was killed in an East Baltimore neighborhood, along with two others. A fourth person was injured.
Jan. 23, Milwaukee: Five men and a woman were found shot to death at a Park West neighborhood home. The police believe the attack targeted specific people.
Jan. 23, Inglewood, Calif.: The same day, a shooting at a birthday party killed four people, including two sisters, and wounded a fifth. The shooting was gang-related, the mayor said.
Jan. 29, St. Louis: A shooting near an intersection killed three young men and wounded a fourth. Police said they had no suspects.
Feb. 5, Corsicana and Frost, Texas: A 41-year-old man murdered his mother, his stepfather, his sons and the son of his ex-girlfriend in an overnight shooting. The man later fatally shot himself.
Feb. 28, Sacramento: A man shot dead his three daughters and their chaperone at a church during a court-approved visit. The children’s mother had a restraining order against the shooter, who killed himself.
March 12, Baltimore: A shooting in Northwest Baltimore killed three men in a car and wounded a fourth.
March 19, Fayetteville, N.C.: A Saturday night shootout in a hotel parking lot killed three people and wounded another three. The shooting may have been linked to a fight between motorcycle gangs.
March 19, Norfolk, Va.: Hours later, an argument outside a bar escalated into a shooting that killed three young bystanders. One of the victims was a 25-year-old newspaper reporter whose editor called her to cover the shooting, not realizing she had been killed.
April 3, Sacramento: At least five shooters fired more than 100 rounds a block from the State Capitol, killing six people — three men and three women — and wounding 12. The police described the shooting as gang-related.
April 20, Duluth, Minn.: A 29-year-old man who said he suffered from mental illness killed his aunt, uncle, two young cousins and their dog in their sleep. He later killed himself.
April 21, Mountain View, Ark.: A man killed his parents, another woman and her son at two homes half a mile apart in a rural community, the police say.
April 27, Biloxi, Miss.: A 32-year-old man killed the owner of the Broadway Inn Express motel and two employees in an argument over money. He fled to a neighboring town and fatally shot a fourth person. Police later found the gunman dead, barricaded inside a convenience store.
May 8, Clarkston, Ga.: Three people were shot to death and three others were wounded at a suburban Atlanta condo complex on a Sunday night.
May 14, Buffalo: An 18-year-old avowed white supremacist killed 10 people and wounded three more with an assault-style weapon in a live-streamed attack at a supermarket.
May 24, Uvalde, Texas: An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.
May 27, Stanwood, Mich.: A 51-year-old man allegedly killed his wife and her three young children at a home in Mecosta County before shooting himself, police said. The man remains in critical condition.
June 1, Tulsa, Okla.: A gunman killed his back surgeon, another doctor, a receptionist and a visitor at a medical building. He then killed himself.
As long as this list is, it’s also a very incomplete accounting of American gun violence. It doesn’t include the at least 60 shootings that left three people dead but don’t technically count as mass shootings (because fewer than four people were shot). It doesn’t count shootings that wounded people without killing anybody, like one in Milwaukee that injured 17 people. And it leaves out the individual gun homicides and suicides that make up a majority of the gun violence that kills more than 100 Americans on an average day.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
‘The Wire’ at 20
“The Wire” premiered two decades ago yesterday. The show, set in Baltimore, began as an indictment of the war on drugs and grew to explore the collapse of other institutions: blue-collar work, City Hall, public education, the media. Its audience was not huge, but it was devoted: Barack Obama, a vocal fan, hailed it as one of the greatest works of art in decades.
The show’s creators, David Simon and Ed Burns, reflected on its legacy in a Q.&A. with The Times. “This show will live forever, because what it tries to portray will be around forever,” Burns says. “It’s just getting worse and worse.”
In an appraisal, The Times’s chief television critic, James Poniewozik, applauds the show’s ensemble cast. It looked like the city it portrayed, with Black actors playing the good, the bad and the morally conflicted. “‘The Wire’ was determined not to be another story of hero cops and faceless perps,” he writes. “No group on ‘The Wire’ would be less fully human than any other.” — Natasha Frost, a Briefings writer