Mass shootings are a grim reality of life in the United States, with at least eight such incidents occurring in 2019 so far. The loss of at least 29 lives in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio in less than 24 hours is just the latest additions to an ever-increasing national death toll.
Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, there have been many U.S. massacres that have claimed dozens of victims. Mass shootings have become such a common occurrence, they have transformed American life — turning places that were once thought safe, like schools, movie theaters, nightclubs and concert venues, into areas where people now arrive worried about worst-case scenarios.
Yet with each shooting, there is a routine: the list of victims, the “thoughts and prayers” from politicians, the outpouring of grief from families and community members and the feelings of hopelessness that pervade the nation.
Photos can document these tragic events, capturing the horrifying moments, the loss of life, the belongings victims leave behind and the ways communities grieve and move forward — only to see another community experience similar horror in the future.
The following 13 photos capture the fear, hurt and chaos from a dozen major mass shootings in the U.S. in the 20 years since Columbine.
Columbine High School, Littleton, Colo. — April 1999: 13 Dead
Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Va. — April 2007: 32 Dead
Aurora Shooting, Aurora, Colo. — July 2012: 12 Dead
Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn. — December 2012: 27 Dead
Charleston Church Shooting, Charleston, S.C. — June 2015: 9 Dead
Pulse Nightclub Shooting, Orlando — June 2016: 49 Dead
Sutherland Springs Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas — November 2017: 26 Dead
Las Vegas Shooting, Las Vegas — October 2017: 58 Dead
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Fla. — February 2018: 17 Dead
Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh — October 2018: 11 Dead
Walmart, El Paso, Texas — August 2019: 20 Dead
Dayton, Ohio — August 2019: 9 Dead
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