Social Breakdown – Violence in the US

As US vote total surges, Trump, Republicans seek to block counting

By Patrick Martin, 29 October 2020

Record numbers of voters have cast early votes or voted by mail, an indication of a growing politicization of the American population.

Trump defends killer cops and police attacks on protesters in Philadelphia

By Jacob Crosse, 29 October 2020

Trump is using protests against the police murder of Walter Wallace, Jr. in Philadelphia to justify repression by federal, state and local forces against the eruption of mass opposition to his planned election coup.

Florida teen hangs himself in Broward County maximum-security jail

By Casey Gold, 9 September 2019

Sonny Rugani, 17, had been charged as an adult and was detained at the Broward County main jail. He had told his arresting officers that he planned to hang himself in prison.

Laid-off worker opens fire and kills at least five in Aurora, Illinois manufacturing plant

By George Marlowe, 16 February 2019

A recently laid-off worker at the Henry Pratt Company opened fire Friday, killing at least five people and injuring many others.

Ian David Long, the Thousand Oaks, California shooter, likely suffered from PTSD

By Rafael Azul, 10 November 2018

“We train a generation to be as violent as possible, then we expect them to come home and be OK ... we’re not responding to the needs they have.”

Chicago police officer convicted of second-degree murder in 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald

By Jessica Goldstein, 6 October 2018

The trial and guilty verdict followed an attempted cover-up of the murder by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department.

Youth suicide rate up 56 percent from 2007 to 2016

Government report shows sharp rise in US teen deaths

By Kate Randall, 2 June 2018

The new statistics on deaths among US children and teens expose the social crisis confronting America’s youth in the form of gun violence, suicide, the opioid crisis, poverty and war.

One dead, three injured in shooting at YouTube HQ in Northern California

By Norisa Diaz, 4 April 2018

While the motive for the shooting remains unclear, what is certain is that American society continues to produce mass shootings on an almost daily basis.

After Parkland shooting, Trump calls for teachers to be armed

By Niles Niemuth, 24 February 2018

The president has argued that allowing teachers and school staff, particularly military veterans, to carry concealed weapons would deter potential school shooters and protect students.

The Las Vegas massacre the day after

By David Walsh, 4 October 2017

US politicians and the American media are displaying their usual obtuseness and ignorance in the face of this terrible tragedy, that has ruined hundreds, if not thousands of lives.

The social pathology of the Las Vegas Massacre

By Patrick Martin, 3 October 2017

The worst mass shooting in American history has left 59 people dead and at least 527 wounded.

Judge allows police to use grenades against Dakota Access Pipeline protesters

By Zaida Green, 2 December 2016

Police will continue to use water cannons, concussion grenades, lead-filled beanbags, and chemical agents against protesters.

Right-wing extremists acquitted following armed standoff in Oregon

By Tom Carter, 9 November 2016

The prosecution’s case suffered a major setback when it was revealed that the government had sent as many as nine informants into the extremist camp during the siege.

The Oregon school shooting and America’s brutal society

By Niles Williamson, 3 October 2015

The killing of nine students in Oregon on Thursday is the latest in a wave of mass shootings that reflects something deeply dysfunctional in American society.

Detroit police chief says block party shooting carried out by “urban terrorists”

By Zac Corrigan, 27 June 2015

Detroit authorities denounced residents for not providing information about “urban terrorists.”

Two gunmen killed outside anti-Islam provocation in Texas

By Bill Van Auken, 5 May 2015

The violence outside the Mohammad cartoon contest had been sought and was welcomed by its organizers.

Police launch manhunt in Ferguson, Missouri after officers wounded

By Andre Damon, 13 March 2015

The Obama administration used Wednesday’s shooting to restate its support for the police in the face of ongoing demonstrations against police killings.

Snowstorms cripple aging public transit in Boston area

By John Marion, 9 February 2015

The recent spate of snowstorms in the Boston area have laid bare the effects of years of inadequate funding for public transportation in Boston.

Three more New York City police killings last week

By Sandy English, 6 October 2014

Officers of the New York Police Department (NYPD) shot and killed three people last week in ongoing displays of police violence in the city.

Los Angeles police kill about one person per week

By Kevin Martinez, 30 September 2014

Police in Los Angeles County have killed at least 589 people since 2000.

Killings at UPS Alabama facility the latest workplace shooting in US

By Jerry White, 26 September 2014

A just-released FBI study of so-called Active Shooter Incidents in 2000-13 reveals a staggering toll of 1,043 casualties, with 486 killed and 557 wounded, excluding the shooters.

Class and race in US police killings: A further comment

By Alan Gilman, 26 August 2014

From 1999 to 2011, police killed more than 5,000 people in the United States, a majority of them white.

Compton, California, school police to carry assault rifles

By Kevin Martinez, 26 August 2014

News that Compton school police will be armed with AR-15 assault rifles has angered many in the impoverished area, where schools are starved for funds, unemployment is high, and the social infrastructure is crumbling.

Three killed in Stockton, California after police open fire on vehicle

By Eric London, 18 July 2014

Two men suspected of bank robbery and a female hostage were killed and three others wounded by police who fired on the escape vehicle.

A new wave of US school shootings and other violent acts

By James Brewer, 20 June 2014

Since the Newton, Connecticut shootings in December of 2012, 74 school shootings have taken place in the US.

Obama’s empty eulogy for Fort Hood shooting victims

By Jerry White, 10 April 2014

The hollow remarks of the president and the general atmosphere of the memorial left an impression of callousness combined with perplexed anxiety over the mounting signs of crisis within the ranks of the American military.

Unarmed man dies in custody of Oklahoma police

By E.P. Bannon, 4 March 2014

Luis Rodriguez was pepper sprayed, held down on the pavement and placed in two sets of handcuffs.

Man charged in killing of 19-year old Detroit resident Renisha McBride

By Lawrence Porter, 26 November 2013

The killing of McBride, who was shot on the doorsteps of a suburban home, is being seized on by sections of the political establishment to promote racial politics.

Los Angeles airport shooting prompts calls for further militarization of airport security

By Gabriel Black, 7 November 2013

The shooting at Los Angeles International Airport is being used to argue for further expansion of the power of the Transportation Security Administration.

Thousands protest police shooting of 13-year-old boy in California‭

By David Levine, 30 October 2013

The killing of a 13-year-old boy has sparked a public outcry and become the focus of‏‎ broader grievances over police brutality.‭

The Washington Navy Yard shooting

By David Walsh, 21 September 2013

In one of the latest mass shootings in the US, at the Washington Navy Yard on September 16, civilian contractor Aaron Alexis killed 12 people and wounded several others before being fatally shot by police.

Shooting rampage at Washington DC naval base

By Nick Barrickman, 17 September 2013

A dozen people were killed and at least 14 others injured when a gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard.

New York City police wound two bystanders in Times Square shooting incident

By Philip Guelpa, 17 September 2013

In the latest incident of indiscriminant shooting by New York City police, bullets struck two bystanders during an attempt to subdue an unarmed, mentally unstable man.

Obama announces task force on gun violence

By Joseph Kishore, 20 December 2012

While working to obscure the social roots of the mass killing in Connecticut, the Obama administration is seizing on the tragedy to press for expanded police powers under the banner of “gun control.”

Media, politicians obscure social roots of Connecticut shooting

By Joseph Kishore, 18 December 2012

No serious analysis can be found in the American media or within the political establishment of the social and political environment that gives rise to mass killings in the US.

Horror in Newtown

By The Editorial Board, 17 December 2012

Beyond the individual motivations of the killer, the mass shooting at Newtown, Connecticut lays bare a brutality that pervades American society.

Chicago steps up police crackdown

By Kristina Betinis, 3 July 2012

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is seizing on recent reports of increased criminal violence to intensify a police state measures directed against the entire population.

Autistic teen fatally shot by police in suburban Chicago home

By Shane Feratu, 13 March 2012

Stephon Watts, 15, was shot and killed in his home on February 1 by Calumet City Police officers.

The Austin airplane suicide and the political crisis in the US

By David Walsh, 23 February 2010

The suicide of software engineer Andrew Joseph Stack, who flew his small airplane into the seven-story building in Austin, Texas that houses the local offices of the Internal Revenue Service, was both shocking and tragic.

US: Software engineer crashes plane into IRS office

By Jerry White, 20 February 2010

On Thursday, 53-year-old software engineer Andrew Joseph Stack III flew his private airplane into a seven-story Austin, Texas building that houses the local offices of the Internal Revenue Service.

New York City: Police shooting of vendor underscores deep social tensions

By Sandy English, 18 December 2009

The fatal December 10 police shooting of street peddler Raymond Martinez in Times Square, the hub of the New York City’s tourist industry, has highlighted the acute social tensions gripping America’s largest city.

US military suicides reach new high

By James Cogan, 2 December 2009

The figures are an indicator of the immense psychological harm that the neo-colonial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have done to members of the armed forces.

Letters on the shooting at Fort Hood

12 November 2009

A selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.

Mass shooting at Fort Hood: collateral damage from Iraq and Afghanistan wars

By David Walsh, 7 November 2009

The mayhem at Fort Hood in Texas, which has left 13 individuals dead and 30 injured, is a byproduct of the brutal wars in the Middle East and Central Asia. It is a form of “collateral damage.”

Arizona: Man killed in police shooting following home foreclosure

By Josué Olmos, 6 October 2009

Arizona police killed Kurt Aho last week in a shootout sparked by the foreclosure of his home.

Prison riot in California

Budget crisis to make inhumane conditions worse

By Niall Green, 13 August 2009

On Saturday night, August 8, hundreds of inmates of the medium-security Chino Institute for Men in southern California took part in a riot that wrecked part of the prison. Gross overcrowding in the state's prisons was a major contributing factor to the violence.

Ten years since the mass killings in Colorado

The Columbine High School Massacre: American Pastoral...American Berserk

By David North, 20 April 2009

Ten years ago today two students at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado, near Denver, killed 12 fellow students and one teacher, and wounded 23 others, before committing suicide. We are reposting the WSWS comment at the time on the tragedy.

California father, despondent over financial losses, kills family and himself

By Kate Randall, 8 October 2008

According to a new study by the American Psychological Association (APA), close to half of those surveyed say they are increasingly stressed about their ability to provide for their basic needs and those of their family.

Finland: Second school shooting in less than a year

Striking similarity

By Jordan Shilton, 29 September 2008

On Tuesday, September 23, at approximately 11a.m., Finland was hit by the second mass shooting episode in less than 12 months, this time at a college in the town of Kauhajoki.

Hostage siege in Baltimore--another American nightmare

By Patrick Martin, 29 March 2000

The bloody events of the past several weeks in a working class neighborhood on the east side of Baltimore raise important social issues. After an initial murderous rampage in which Joseph Palczynski kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and killed four people, the 31-year-old former mental patient took his girlfriend's mother and two other people hostage and held off Baltimore police for 97 hours, until police stormed the row house and killed him in a barrage of machinegun fire.

A new round of shootings in the US

By Kate Randall, 16 March 2000

The latest in the seemingly unending rash of shootings in the US took place last weekend.

US: What the shootings in Flint and Wilkinsburg have in common

By Kate Randall, 4 March 2000

The two shooting episodes which took place in the US this past week, though quite different in their details, point at the same time to certain general conclusions that can be drawn from the ongoing eruption of violence in American society.

Hawaii, Seattle: latest shooting rampages in the US

By Jerry White, 4 November 1999

An unidentified gunman dressed in camouflage killed two people and severely injured two others at a shipyard office near downtown Seattle Wednesday, in the second shooting at a US workplace in two days. Police using search dogs, helicopters and boats fanned out across a broad area in the industrial and residential area just north of downtown looking for the gunman, who escaped on foot.

Fort Worth, Texas gunman linked to fascist group

By Martin McLaughlin, 22 September 1999

The gunman who murdered seven people at a Fort Worth church September 15 had ties to extreme-right-wing groups in Texas, according to reports first published in the Houston Chronicle. Larry Ashbrook, 47, killed four teenagers and three adults before taking his own life.

Eight dead in Texas church shooting—the latest eruption of social tensions in America

By Kate Randall, 17 September 1999

Just before 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening Larry Ashbrook walked into the Wedgwood Baptist Church in a middle-class neighborhood on the southwestern edge of Fort Worth, Texas and began shooting. He unloaded three magazines of bullets from a nine-millimeter semi-automatic handgun before turning the weapon on himself.

"Eyes wide shut": The reopening of Columbine High School

By David Walsh, 19 August 1999

The ceremony marking the reopening of Columbine High School in Littteton, Colorado, the scene of a horrifying mass shooting and double suicide April 20, was a travesty. Revealed in the event was the inability and unwillingness of any element within official American society to confront the sources of the violence that has erupted in schools and elsewhere.

Fascist gunman attacks Jewish center in Los Angeles

By Barry Grey, 12 August 1999

The latest shooting rampage in the US occurred Tuesday when a man walked into the North Valley Jewish Community Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Granada Hills and fired seventy rounds at staff members and children attending a day camp. Five were wounded, including one five-year-old who remains in critical condition.

The Atlanta massacre: what it says about America

By Barry Grey, 31 July 1999

The US has witnessed yet another shooting rampage, this time in the exclusive environs of the Buckhead district of Atlanta, Georgia. By now the basic facts are well known: Mark Barton, a 44-year-old chemist-turned-stock market day-trader, killed his young wife and two children (from a former marriage) last Tuesday and Wednesday, and on Thursday went on a shooting spree at two brokerage firms.

Social breakdown and the American police mentality

Fourteen-year-olds charged as adults in school shooting plot

By David Walsh, 24 June 1999

A judge ordered two 14-year-old boys to stand trial as adults Tuesday in Port Huron, Michigan, 60 miles northeast of Detroit, on charges that could bring them automatic sentences of life in prison without parole. The teenagers are accused, along with two 13-year-olds, of plotting to murder fellow students at Holland Woods Middle School.

Empty moralizing and tougher juvenile laws follow latest school shooting

By Jerry White, 24 May 1999

This time the school was in suburban Atlanta; the assailant, a 15-year-old sophomore reportedly distraught over breaking up with his girlfriend. Thursday morning he calmly walked into Heritage High School and shot six of his classmates before putting a pistol in his mouth. A school official convinced the youth to put the gun down, and as he did, the boy cried, “Oh, my God. I'm so scared, I'm so scared.”

Michigan students charged with attempted murder in alleged school massacre plot

By Jerry White, 20 May 1999

Four students—ages 12 through 14—are being held in jail after being charged with conspiracy to commit murder at their middle school in Port Huron, Michigan, about 60 miles northeast of Detroit. The students were arrested May 12 and 13 after a 14-year-old classmate told police she overheard some of them talking about planning a school massacre similar to the one at Colorado's Columbine High School last month.

The Jonesboro murders


By David Walsh, 28 March 1998

The shooting death of four young girls and a teacher in Arkansas at the hands of two students, aged 11 and 13, was a horrible event. No account, particularly one written without a thorough knowledge of the lives and mental states of those responsible, can fully explain the tragedy, much less provide consolation for those immediately involved.