The Fourth of July
Highland Park mass shooting
Monday that killed at least six people is an immense
tragedy. But the shootout has not sent shockwaves through the nation. Tragedies
of the sort have become passe in the US, for the nation has witnessed 309 mass
shootings over the last six months and four days. In the four days of July that
has passed, US has seen at least 11 mass shootings.

In Monday’s
shooting, the “person of interest”, a 22-year-old named Robert E Crimo III, has
been taken into custody. Police say the gunman used a “high-powered rifle” from
the roof of a commercial building. “So very random, very intentional and very
sad,” were the words used by Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman
Christopher Covelli.

The words,
however, were hardly unique. These random killings, motivated by deeper
recesses of psychological trouble or ideological persuasion, have significantly
affected the sense of security among citizens.

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On May 24, Salvador
Ramos, an 18-year-old, opened fire at an elementary school in Texas killing 21
people and injuring 17. This was the deadliest school shooting in the United
States since the Sandy Hook massacre.

Only 10 days prior
to this, a shootout at a Buffalo mall, motivated by racial hate, caused the
death of 10 people. Mass shootings in the US happen with depressing regularity.
A mass shooting, according to Gun Violence Archive (GVA), an independent data
collection organisation, defines a mass shooting as an incident where at least
four or more people are killed.

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GVA data indicates
that there were 692 such mass shootings in 2021, 610 in 2020 and 417 in 2019.

Mark Follman,
author of the book “Trigger Points” and someone who has been studying mass
shootings since 2012 told NPR the role of mental health in case of mass
shooters is widely misunderstood.

“The general
public views mass shooters as people who are totally crazy, insane. It fits
with the idea of snapping, as if these people are totally detached from reality.”
But that’s not the case, according to Follman, who started studying mass
shootings after a gunman killed 12 people at a movie theatre in Aurora. He says
a “very rational thought process” goes into planning and carrying out mass shootings.