A gunman’s attack on a country music concert in Las Vegas Sunday night was a notable addition to the fast-growing list of mass murders in America — but, despite initial reports, it wasn’t the deadliest in the country’s recorded history.
Las Vegas police say the shooter, who they believe acted alone, killed at least 50 people and was responsible for another 406 being taken to area hospitals after firing at concert goers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
While the attack does rank as the worst in recent and modern history, topping last year’s Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, there have been worse in America.
In 1873, in a mass shooting in Colfax, La., at least 60 and perhaps as many as 150 people were killed in what has become known as the Colfax massacre or Colfax riot. The massacre was one of the bloodiest moments of the Reconstruction period.
And in East St. Louis, in 1917, an estimated 100 African-Americans were killed in the East St. Louis race riots.
Other massacres that top 50 victims include:
Elaine, Arkansas (1919) – Some 237 African-Americans were killed after a white deputy was killed during a meeting of ways to get more money from cotton crops.
Wounded Knee (1890) – The Army opened fire on Chief Big foot of the Lakota tribe and his people, killing more than 150. (Some estimates put the number as high as 300.)
Yes, the Las Vegas concert massacre might top the list of single gunman shootings in recent history, but in the larger historical sense, it’s just the latest in a long string.