Sunday’s Massacre In Texas Bumped Columbine Out Of The Top Ten Deadliest US Mass Shootings

It’s been more than 18 years, but anyone who was alive at the time will remember when they first heard the news that Eric David Harris, 18, and Dylan Bennet Klebold, 17, two students from Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, had shot and killed 12 of their fellow students, plus one teacher and wounded 21 additional people, before turning their guns on themselves in the school’s library on that fateful morning of April 20, 1999. The pair were also packing almost 100 explosives in what USA Today described as a “suicidal attack [that was] planned as a grand—if badly implemented—terrorist bombing.”

At the time it was almost impossible to conceive a greater tragedy, two lonely teenage outcasts feeling the need to take so many innocent young lives on just a regular day at school. Sure, there had been other mass-shootings of a greater scale, but Columbine is still the worst US high school shooting on record, was the second-worst mass-shooting on any school campus at the time behind the 1966 University of Texas massacre, and the fifth-worst mass-shooting on US soil.

Fast-forward less than two decades later and the murder spree at Columbine High School no longer even cracks the top-10 when it comes to the worst single-day mass-shootings in modern US history. What makes the statistics even more terrifying is that the five worst mass-shootings in the United States and six of the top-10, have all occurred in the last 10 years. To make matters worse, three of the top-5 were in the past 18 months.

Here are the 10 worst single-day mass-shootings in modern US history, counting victims only. In each instance, the shooter’s death has been omitted.

  1. 58 Killed at Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, October 1, 2017:
    Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, fired on a crowd of over 20,000 on the Las Vegas Strip from his room on the 32nd floor in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 and wounding 546 more. Police believe he later turned one of his many firearms on himself.
  2. 49 Killed at Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016:
    New York-born Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opened fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, killing 49 and wounding another 50 before being shot and killed by police while freeing hostages held inside the club by Mateen. This is still the deadliest attack targeting the LGBT community.
  3. 32 Killed at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, April 16, 2007:
    Seung-Hui Cho, a 23-year-old senior at Virginia Tech who emigrated to the US from South Korea at the age of eight, shot and killed 32 students and faculty and wounded 17 more in two separate attacks staged two hours apart on the Virginia Tech campus before killing himself.
  4. 27 Killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012:
    Adam Peter Lanza, 20, slaughtered 20 children aged six and seven, as well as six adults, including four teachers, the principal, and the school psychologist, and injuring two others before turning the gun on himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Investigators later discovered he had first killed his mother at their shared home before taking her guns and driving to the school.
  5. 26 Killed at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas, November 5, 2017:
    Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, entered the First Baptist Church and opened fire, killing 26 and wounding another 20, the deadliest mass-shooting in the state of Texas and the worst in a place of worship. Kelley dropped his rifle and fled in his vehicle before fatally shooting himself in the head.
  6. 23 Killed at Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, October 16, 1991:
    George Hennard, 35, drove his pickup truck through the front window of Luby’s Cafeteria and quickly shot and killed 23 people, wounding 27 others. Hennard refused to surrender and fatally shot himself after a brief shoot-out with police.
  7. 21 Killed at McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California, July 18, 1984:
    James Oliver Huberty, 41, walked into a McDonald’s in the San Diego neighborhood and killed 21 customers and employees, 17 inside the restaurant and another four in the immediate vicinity, and wounded 19 others. Huberty was later killed by a SWAT team sniper positioned on the roof of a post office across the road.
  8. 17 Killed at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, August 1, 1966:
    Charles Joseph Whitman, a 25-year-old former Marine sharpshooter, shot and killed his wife and mother in their home early in the morning before making his way to the University of Texas, where he showed false research assistant identification to obtain a parking permit. He then shot and killed three people inside the university’s tower, and then an additional 11 including an unborn child from a 28th-floor observation deck and wounded 31 before being shot and killed by police. In 2001, a 17th victim died as direct result of injuries sustained in the attack.
  9. 14 Killed at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, December 2, 2015:
    Chicago-born Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife, 29-year-old US permanent resident Tashfeen Malik, open fire on a Department of Public Health training event and Christmas party, killing 14 and wounding 22 others. Almost all victims were shot in the back, but it could’ve been far worse, as the pair were also responsible for a failed bombing. They were both shot and killed in a police pursuit four hours later.
  10. 14 Killed at the Edmond Post Office, Edmond, Oklahoma, August 20, 1986 :
    Postal worker Patrick Henry Sherrill, 44, a former Marine and member of the National Guard pistol team, walked into the Edmond post office and, in a rampage that lasted less than 15 minutes, killed 14 co-workers and wounded six more before turning the gun on himself.

Which brings us to Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and the Columbine High School massacre. To many, that is one of the worst tragedies the human mind can conjure up — Just a couple of misunderstood teenagers who sought the justice of who they saw as their transgressors by running riot on their school and shooting at anyone in their path, resulting in 13 deaths, before killing themselves. This incident is no longer one of the 10 worst mass-shootings in modern US history, but something needs to be done before it drops any lower.

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