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California deals with third massacre in 8 days

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at the IDES Portuguese Hall in Half Moon Bay, California, with the families of the victims, local leaders and community members who were affected by the devastating shootings the previous day.  (AP Photo/Aaron Kehoe)

Shortly after the worst massacre in Los Angeles County history, the California governor was at the hospital to meet with some of those injured in the incident when his aides pulled him aside and informed him of another mass shooting on the other end. of the state.

News that a gunman had killed seven people at two mushroom farms along a scenic stretch of Northern California coastline came just hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke of his weariness and frustration with mass shootings.

“I can’t go through with this,” he told reporters hours earlier Monday in Monterey Park, where 11 people were killed in a dance studio. “It’s crazy to say the same thing over and over and over again.”

Either way, Newsom headed to Half Moon Bay on Tuesday to address the third mass shooting in just over a week in a state with some of the strictest gun laws and gun death rates of lowest fire in the country.

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at the IDES Portuguese Hall in Half Moon Bay, California, with the families of the victims, local leaders and community members who were affected by the devastating shootings the previous day. (AP Photo/Aaron Kehoe)

Visibly angry and at times exasperated, the governor consulted notes he had used in previous massacres: the murder of 12 people in a Thousand Oaks bar in 2018; the shooting in which three people were killed and 17 more injured during the 2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival; the killing of nine workers at a San José rail yard in 2021.

“I started writing ‘Monterey Park,’” Newsom said. “And now I have to write ‘Half Moon Bay.’ What the hell is going on?”

A 66-year-old farm worker was booked on murder and attempted murder charges after shooting eight people, seven of whom died, in a crime authorities describe as an act of workplace violence across a vast agricultural region that lies between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains.

In Monterey Park, a 72-year-old gunman opened fire at a dance studio located in an Asian-American community celebrating Lunar New Year’s Eve Saturday night, killing 11 people and injuring nine. Later, the assailant took his own life.

A week earlier, at least two assailants shot and killed a 16-year-old mother protecting her 10-month-old baby, and killed four other people in a central California farming region, in an attack that remains unsolved.

“Our hearts go out to the people of California,” President Joe Biden declared Tuesday during a meeting with Democratic lawmakers. “It has been very, very difficult days.”

Biden noted that California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced a bill to ban assault rifles, and called on Congress to approve it.

Newsom also called for stricter regulations on firearms, speaking in particular of high-capacity magazines — like the one held by the Monterey Park shooter — and what he described as “weapons of a fucking war.”

Gabriel Alexander plays a guitar and sings near a monument outside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, in Monterey Park, California.

Gabriel Alexander plays a guitar and sings near a monument outside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, in Monterey Park, California.

“It’s said all the time: ‘Only in the United States,’” he said. “First place in possession of firearms. First place in deaths by firearm. It’s not even complicated.”

The recent massacres have moved California up five places to the 26th place in the number of deadly mass shootings per capita in the country since 2006, according to a USA Today/AP/Northeastern University database. The database only records incidents in which at least four people were killed.

Although California has the highest number of shooting killings — 49 with the three most recent — it ranked 31st as the nation’s most populous state with nearly 40 million people.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks California seventh for the lowest firearm death rate in the country per 100,000 population, according to the most recent available statistics, those of 2020. It is the 20th lowest in terms of homicide rate, which is not limited only to shootings.

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