CHAPTER 19

1966: A Turning Point in America’s Gun Culture

There are no free and democratic and wealthy countries in the world that have our rate of gun violence.

-E. J. Dionne, PBS NewsHour

In October 2017, Stephen Paddock rained down bullets on concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. By the time Paddock shot himself and ended the massacre, he had shot 58 people to death and injured 851 others.

Following the massacre, criminologist Grant Duwe documented for the Washington Post that between 1916 and 1966, there had been only 25 mass public shootings.1

Since Charles Whitman climbed the University of Texas clock tower in 1966, well over 1,000 people have been killed in more than 150 public mass shootings. That ...

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