One hundred eighty two Americans were killed by gunfire over the long Labor Day weekend, according to numbers maintained by the Gun Violence Archive. The Archive collects shooting data from a variety of sources, including media reports, police blotters and police departments. For the period of Friday, Sept. 4 through Monday, Sept. 7, 167 adults, 9 teenagers and 6 children under the age of 12 lost their lives after being shot.
The dead included:
-- A five-year-old boy in Cleveland killed in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting;
-- A three-year-old Alabama boy shot and killed while sitting in a car;
-- A five-year-old in Kansas City killed after his mother, drunk, fired a shot at her boyfriend and missed;
-- A seven-year-old killed in Charlotte when shots were fired at a family party;
-- And an 11-year-old girl apparently killed by her father in Texas.
The dead also included 13 people shot and killed by police over the long weekend, according to the Post's Police Shootings Database.
It was a violent weekend, to be sure. But it's about par for the course in this country. In 2014, according to the Gun Violence Archive's numbers, roughly 34 people each day were killed by guns. This year, the average is slightly higher, closer to 36 people per day. These numbers only include homicides and accidental deaths. If gun suicides were added, the numbers would nearly double.
Gun rights advocates point out that guns can't kill anyone unless someone pulls the trigger. And indeed, the circumstances surrounding these gun deaths are as varied as the victims' lives: some were killed in the course of criminal activity. Some were killed in domestic disputes. Some were killed simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But it's also undoubtedly true that regardless of your reasons for wanting someone dead, it's an awful lot easier to kill them if you've got a gun handy. And the sheer number of firearms in the U.S. -- nearly one for every man, woman and child -- means that it's seldom too hard to get ahold of one.
(h/t to The Trace, who reported on an earlier cut of these numbers)