Mainly to give myself something else to think about, I assigned myself a rather bureaucratic challenge while watching coverage of the June 12 horror in Orlando, Fla. By searching the internet, could I compile a list of fatal shootings in the United States that took place the same weekend and would add up to the Pulse nightclub’s body count?
The project was inspired by President Obama’s shopworn admonition that we need to decide what kind of country we want to live in, as if we don’t already know. Even as he spoke, the decision was coming in loud and clear: from Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and from smaller places, including Obama’s home state of Hawaii and our sister city of Rochester.
The country we want to live in — or at least the one many of us seem content to live in — is a country that tolerates a Pulse death toll by firearms every few days.
My list begins on Friday, June 10, and ends Sunday evening, June 12. It is not comprehensive. Surely I missed some needless deaths, especially suicides. Note that the following list does not include known hate crimes or connections to international terrorism, so in that sense it is not “another Orlando.”
But there’s a common thread: In America, anyone who is pissed off about anything can resolve their grievance with a gun. We make it easy. Here’s the list:
- The Voice singer Christina Grimmie, 22, while signing autographs at an Orlando theater Friday.
- An unidentified man at an intersection Saturday in Akron, Ohio.
3-4. Two teen girls in Panorama City, Calif., by the ex-boyfriend of their mother. The shooter also killed himself.
- Rod Benton, 34, boyfriend of the alleged shooter’s sister, in Atlanta. A four-hour standoff with police followed.
- Gerald Bishop II, 31, in Columbus, Ohio. Suspect found.
- Tijuan J. Petterson, 20, in Columbus. Suspect at large.
- A 19-year-old male, name not released, at a Radisson hotel in Rochester.
- Antwon Brooks, 37, father of two, in Chicago.
- A 17-year-old-boy, name not released, shot in the back in Chicago.
- Jeremy H. Ray, 27, approached and shot multiple times by two gunmen, in Chicago. Gunmen drove off.
- Terry Bates Jr., 26, approached and shot multiple times by two gunmen, in Chicago. Gunmen ran off. Another victim survived. (In addition to the fatalities, at least 18 people were wounded, including a 5-year-old girl, in Chicago-area shootings.)
- A 40-year-old man, found early Sunday on a New Orleans lawn.
- Clamisha Houston, 19, Jefferson Parish, just outside New Orleans, as she stepped off a party bus. She was the mother of twins.
- Gilbert Oosthuszian, 44, in the parking lot of his Fort Lauderdale VFW Post, by a man in a ski mask and hoodie. (There was a non-fatal shooting at a VFW Post in Queens.)
- George William Edmond Jr., during a home invasion in North Houston, Texas, by two men wielding pistols.
- Eric Oliver, 31, in the Bronx, in his wheelchair. Oliver was paralyzed in a 2006 shooting.
- A 22-year-old man, shot multiple times in the gut in Brooklyn.
- Jessica White, 29, in the Bronx, when a man fired into a crowd of people. Police say she was not the intended target.
- Jarvis Robinson, 19, found face down and bleeding in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store in Memphis, Tenn. It was the city’s 100th homicide in 2016.
- A man, after gunfire erupted at the end of a party early Saturday morning near Los Angeles. Another man was hurt. Details were pending.
- A man was fatally shot and another wounded by two men on a bike in South Los Angeles. Details were pending.
- Cynthia Ambiz, 19, shot from behind while walking home from a party in Carson, near Los Angeles.
- A man died in the hospital after being shot while working on a car early Saturday. Additional details were pending.
- A man in East Los Angeles. Details were pending.
26-30. Four children, ages 3 to 14, and their mother, allegedly by the woman’s husband and the father of the children, David Villegas-Hernandez, who remained at large.
- A man in North Philadelphia, shot multiple times.
32-33. A 9-year-old girl and her father, of a murder-suicide, in Littlestown, Pa. Names were pending.
- Russell Jamal Waddell, 42, at a party in Jacksonville. Two men were arrested.
- At least one man in a double shooting at a Motel 6 in Henrico, Va.
- Rodney Peoples, 25, in Kansas City, Mo., on the 3300 block of Indiana Avenue.
37-38. Kenneth Reed and Damion Alton, both 30, both shot in the back of the head, found outside a car in St. Louis.
- John Jerome Moore, 24, shot in the head, in his St. Louis house.
- A man in his 20s, shot in his chest, in a parking lot, Albuquerque, N.M.
- Barbara Pereira, 66, found in her Maili, Hawaii, home. Her son Anthony, 43, is in custody.
- A man, shot while sitting in a car in Little Rock, Ark. Another victim survived.
43-44. Two men, near Greensboro, N.C. A suspect who was arrested is a person of interest in two other shootings and three assaults on the night of June 11 to 12.
- Carlos Pineda, near a middle school in Dallas.
- A 30-year-old man in East Palo Alto, Calif., of multiple wounds.
- Dwayne T. Triplett, 32, slumped over the wheel of his vehicle, near his home in Chicago.
- J. Juan Briseno-Ortega, 50, by Yakima, Wash. Police, after they say he pulled a gun on them when they responded to a domestic disturbance.
- Deandre Barnes, 13, in Baltimore.
- Garrison Derricks, 23, in Baltimore.
- A man in Camden. N.J.
- David Smith, 36, when gunfire erupted during a fight at the Checkered Flag Tavern in Indianapolis that is popular with motorcyclists. “It’s WING DAY!!” someone posted on the bar’s Facebook page three days later.
And there you have it. That’s 52 gunshot fatalities by my count. One weekend. Not counting Orlando.
The country we live in.