You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. Today we’re focused on the mass shooting that took place at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning. If this feels familiar, it should.
A gunman armed with an assault rifle entered a gay nightclub in Orlando at 2 a.m. Sunday and killed at least 49 people over a three-hour siege. Thirty-nine victims were pronounced dead at the nightclub, called Pulse, and 11 were taken to hospitals where they were pronounced dead. The killer is also dead. It is the largest act of terror on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11 attacks. [CNN]
At least 53 people were wounded in the attack, many of whom are still fighting for their lives. Orlando Regional Medical Center — which has a level 1 trauma center — admitted 44 patients, as many victims had severe gunshot wounds (nine victims were also pronounced dead at that hospital). By mid-afternoon Sunday, doctors had operated on 26 people. [The Orlando Sentinel]
3 FBI interviews
The killer in the Orlando mass shooting, Omar Mateen, was placed on the terrorist watch list after being the subject of two FBI investigations, one in 2013 regarding comments he made that appeared sympathetic to terrorists and one in 2014 after he had made contact with an American who went on to become a suicide bomber in Syria. The FBI interviewed him three times throughout that process. He was subsequently removed from the watch list. [The Los Angeles Times, The Hill]
8.3 times the victimization rate
The shooter is reported to have canvassed at least one other gay club in the Orlando area before settling on Pulse. The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks hate crime statistics across many different demographics, and while its most recent data is from a 2011 analysis, the Center reported that the basic pattern holds year to year. From 1995 to 2008, there were 15,351 anti-LGBT hate crime offenses against people (that excludes crimes against property). The LGBT community makes up an estimated 2.1 percent of the population, yet accounts for 17.4 percent of the total reported violent hate crimes (and many hate crimes are never reported). LGBT Americans, therefore, were victims of hate crimes at about 8.3 times the expected rate. For perspective on that, it’s more than double the rates of Jewish and black Americans, more than quadruple the rate of Muslim Americans, and more than 41 times the rate of non-Hispanic whites. [The Southern Poverty Law Center, The East Orlando Post]
Between 2002 and 2014, 85 percent of people killed by terrorists in the U.S. were killed using guns. [FiveThirtyEight]
In the past 10 years, assault-style weapons have been used in 14 public mass shootings, according to The Washington Post. That includes the Orlando killings, the San Bernardino, California, attack and Umpqua Community College shooting in 2015 and the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012. Of those 14 shootings, seven have occurred in the past 12 months. The 1994 ban on assault weapons expired in 2004, 12 years ago. [The Boston Globe, Michael Skolnik]
The community response to the tragedy in Orlando has been overwhelming. Central Florida blood banks were at capacity and urged people to return later in the week. A GoFundMe to support the victims has already passed $1.36 million. And a LaunchGood from the Muslim community orchestrated by CAIR Florida has already raised more than $37,000. [The Orlando Sentinel, GoFundMe, LaunchGood]
UPDATE (July 13, 11 a.m.): This article has been updated to reflect a new casualty count from law enforcement officials, who said Monday that Mateen killed 49 people. The 50th fatality was Mateen, who was killed by police.
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