On Thursday, a mass shooter in Kansas killed three people and injured 14 others. The assailant began his shooting spree in Newton and made his way to a lawn care equipment factory in Hesston. While the specifics of the shooting are still coming in, there's one disturbing detail about the Hesston shooting that sufficiently drives home the horror of the episode: There were 18 victims in just 26 minutes. That number includes the shooter, the people he injured, and the people he killed.
According to Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton, the shooting spree began around 4:57 p.m. in the town of Newton. That's when police received calls that a man in a vehicle had shot at two other people, hitting one in the shoulder and missing the other. Shortly thereafter, the man shot another motorist in the leg, stole a pickup truck, and drove to the parking lot of Excel Industries in Hesston.
He shot somebody in the parking lot, then entered the building and open-fired on those inside. At 5:23 p.m., he was shot and killed by the first police officer arrive at the scene. By then, a total of four people were dead, and 14 more were injured. Out of those 14, several were in critical condition as of Thursday night, though sources differed as to exactly how many.
Walton confirmed that the shooter had been an employee of Excel, and added that there were "some things that triggered this particular individual." While he didn't elaborate on what those things were, he did confirm that it was "not terrorism."
For most people (myself included), it's difficult to comprehend the sheer terror of something like this. From the time the shooting began to the moment the shooter was killed, there was roughly one victim every 1.4 minutes. If there's anything to be thankful for in a tragedy like this, it's that he didn't manage to shoot more people before the police took him out: There were 150 people in the Excel building when he entered it, and a witness told ABC that the 15-20 people who worked in the same department as the shooter managed to escape through a side door.
Still, let's not mince words: This was horrifying. It was yet another bleak reminder of how unbelievably common mass shootings are in America, and how shameful it is that, despite this, Congress refuses to pass even the most modest of gun control measures.