The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The surprisingly petty things that people shot each over last month

<a href="" target="_blank">Ken / Flickr</a>


That's the number of lives lost to gun violence this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that compiles real-time information on shootings in the United States.

The 5,484 dead from gun violence excludes suicides by gun, which are nearly double the number of gun homicides in any given year.

The 5,484 gun deaths work out to about 36 every day in 2016. They include the 132 people killed over the Memorial Day weekend. That may seem like a lot of carnage for a long weekend, but it's considerably fewer deaths than the 182 over the Labor Day weekend last fall.

Although the shootings in public places draw the most media attention -- like the murder-suicide at the University of California at Los Angeles this week -- the Gun Violence Archive's numbers are a reminder that most gun homicides take place out of the public eye, barely noticed, a simple fact of life in a country with one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world.

Much of the daily drumbeat of gun violence involves drug gangs and turf battles in poor city neighborhoods -- Chicago is the current poster child for those shootings, with 69 of them over Memorial Day weekend. But average Americans nationwide routinely shoot and kill each other over the most petty of disagreements, including:

These incidents all happened in May. They were initially compiled, among many other incidents, by Parents Against Gun Violence, an advocacy group lobbying for gun safety.

It's often said that an armed society is a polite society. But it's striking how some of us use guns to shoot and kill over trifles, issues that potentially could be resolved by being a little more polite.