With pleasant weather ushering in a spate of shootings across the U.S., the weekend’s shootings were the quieter, daily drumbeat of gun violence, reports the New York Times. “It’s somewhat arbitrary, if somebody gets injured and dies, versus somebody just gets injured. Those things are up to chance, really,” said Ron Avi Astor, a professor of social welfare at the University of California Los Angeles, who studies mass violence. “If we only look when a lot of people are killed, we kind of miss the bigger picture.” The Justice Department defines mass shootings as any incident in which four or more victims are murdered. Other organizations define them as any time four or more people are shot. “There isn’t one right answer. Both of those definitions encompass horrible things,” said Michael Anestis of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University.
Public, random mass shootings like those in Buffalo or Uvalde, Texas, “represent about one percent or less of gun violence in America, and yet soak up about 95 percent of the oxygen in terms of the national conversation on gun violence,” Anestis said. Lower-profile attacks amass a terrible toll of their own. Around 3 a.m. on Sunday, a gunman opened fire in the Ozone Park section of New York City's Queens borough, shooting three and killing one; in Washington, D.C., a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed and three others, including a police officer, were shot at a music festival; in Chicago, 47 people were shot; and in Philadelphia, nine shootings left three dead and six wounded. In Los Angeles, a 17-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man were wounded Saturday in a shooting behind a Target store. In a pedestrian mall in downtown Las Vegas, a man was fatally shot and a bystander wounded Sunday when gunfire erupted after a fight in a casino spilled outside. After surging to historic highs over the pandemic, shooting rates in New York City have begun to abate, though they are still above prepandemic levels.