The shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) and four others at a baseball field in Virginia on Wednesday was unique in some ways: It was a brutal attack on a high-profile political figure in a wealthy neighborhood not far from the United States capitol.
However, aside from these details, the violence was just one among 152 other mass shootings in the U.S. in 2017 alone, according to tallies by the Gun Violence Archive. Mere hours later, mass shooting No. 154 terrorized San Francisco.
It's cold to diminish lost human lives to numbers on a chart, but it's very much in line with the political response to America's increasing gun violence. Just last week, there were nine mass shootings, yet most of these stories didn't make it past the local news, and the ones that did quickly faded to be replaced with new tragedies.
The FBI has no concrete definition of what constitutes a mass shooting, and there are disagreements as to what categorizes one, but the Gun Violence Archive defines it as an attack in which four or more people are killed or injured due to gun violence. The site calculated 6,903 deaths this year so far caused by guns, 301 of which were children ages zero to 11, and 1,446 of which were teens ages 12 to 17. Sadly, there is little to indicate that these numbers won't keep climbing.
The fact that a powerful congressman was shot is inspiring hope in some people that Congress might finally implement gun control policies, and the optimists may be right to think that way.
However, former Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords was shot in an assassination attempt in 2011, and no strides forward with gun reform were made.
Since then, 26 people, 20 of them children 6 or 7 years old, were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary school in 2012, 49 people were killed at Pulse nightclub in 2016 in the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter in U.S. history, and these are just two tragedies we've heard about.
Where were our leaders then?