Nineteen children were murdered in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday. They were elementary school students, attending their last week of classes before summer vacation, when an 18-year-old gunman came through the door and began shooting.
He also killed two adults, including a teacher, and appears to have shot his grandmother in her home before going to the school. At least three kids are in critical condition.
By now, the story of American gun violence is unsurprising. Mass shootings happen frequently. The list from just the past decade includes supermarkets in Buffalo and in Boulder, Colo.; a rail yard in San Jose, Calif.; a birthday party in Colorado Springs; a convenience store in Springfield, Mo.; a synagogue in Pittsburgh; churches in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and in Charleston, S.C.; a Walmart in El Paso; a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis; a music festival in Las Vegas; massage parlors in the Atlanta area; a Waffle House in Nashville; a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.; and a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
Even school shootings happen often enough that we know some of the names: Sandy Hook Elementary School, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Oxford High School, Santa Fe High School, Columbine High School. Robb Elementary School in Uvalde has joined this horrific list.
If American gun violence is no longer surprising, it still is shocking. On an average day in the U.S., more than 35 people are murdered with a gun. No other affluent country in the world has a gun homicide rate nearly as high. Consider this chart, by my colleague Ashley Wu:
As bad as it is, the chart underplays the toll, for two reasons. It covers 2019, and gun violence has surged since the pandemic, for a complex mix of reasons that German Lopez has explained. The chart also does not include suicides and accidental shootings. Altogether, guns killed about 45,000 Americans last year.
“Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day,” Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said in a speech last night.
Why is the U.S. such an outlier? The main reasons, studies suggest, are the sheer number of guns in this country and the loose laws about obtaining and using them.
No doubt, this latest tragedy will lead to more debate about whether those laws should meaningfully change. After other recent shootings, the country’s answer was no.
Love in the stars
Right now, mercury is in retrograde. If that sentence means something to you, you may be suited to the constellation of popular apps that use astrology to map meaning onto relationships. Among them: Ilios, a new dating app that matches users based on their supposed astrological compatibility.
At a recent launch event with college students, interest in the app generally fell along gender lines, Madeleine Aggeler reports. Most of the men knew their zodiac signs but felt indifferent. “I think for a week in seventh grade I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s so me.’ And then I was like, ‘Oh wait, no, I don’t care,’” said Luke Anderson, 21, a Pisces.
Women tended to appreciate the concept more. “It’s basically like a weird statistic,” Lexi Brooks, a 23-year-old Aries, said.