When you search for “mass killing” you find a lot of hits for “mass shootings” but not many for killings where guns were not used. It is almost like the powers that be are trying to move the goalposts.
So I compiled a list of the 20 deadliest attacks in US history. In compiling this list, I only included killings that were the result of a single event and were not a part of a war. For example, the mass killings at Antietam or in civil war prison camps. In researching this post, I found that there were serial killers who carried out their crimes over years or months, and those were not included in this list.
1 On 9/11, there were 2,996 dead and over 6,000 injured. The weapons used were box cutters and airplanes.
2 October 31, 1999: Gameel al-Batouti cried out “I entrust myself to Allah” 11 times in Arabic as he deliberately piloted a plane full of passengers into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 217 people.
3 The Oklahoma City Bombing of 1995. There were 168 dead and over 680 injured. The weapon used was a bomb made from fertilizer and diesel fuel.
4 The Hartford Circus Fire. 167 dead, 682 injured. Weapon used: fire
5 The Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857. There were 120 settlers killed when their wagon train was ambushed by Mormons. (I hesitated to include this one since it was a group of 20 Mormons who committed the killings, but if you are going to include 9/11, I figured you should include this one.)
6 The Happy Land fire of 1990: 87 are killed when a man sets a nightclub on fire.
7 The Las Vegas shooting. 58 killed, 413 injured by gunfire. Another 456 injured while fleeing.
8 The Pulse Nightclub shooting, 2016. 49 dead, 53 injured. The weapon was an MCX rifle.
9 The Bath School massacre of 1927: 45 dead, and 58 injured. The weapon used were a pair of bombs.
10 Pacific Air Flight 773 of 1964: 45 killed when a man murdered the pilot and copilot of an airplane, which subsequently crashed.
11 Continental Flight 11 bombing of 1955: A man blew up the plane with a bomb.
12 Pacific Southwest Flight Flight 1771 of 1987: 43 people were killed when a man shot and killed the pilot and copilot of the plane, which subsequently crashed.
13 New York Bombing of September 1920: There were 38 killed and several hundred injured. The weapon was a bomb.
14 National Airlines Flight 2511 of 1960. 33 people killed by a bomb on an airplane.
15 Virginia Tech massacre of 2007. 32 dead. The gunman was a South Korean student that had been showing signs of mental instability.
16 The Upstairs Lounge Fire in New Orleans on June 24, 1973 was an arson that was intended to kill the patrons of a gay bar. It worked, killing 32 and injuring dozens. It was started with a Molotov cocktail.
17 Newtown School shooting of 2012. 33 dead. The shooter used an AR-15 rifle that he acquired by murdering his mother.
18 Dorothy Mae Arson of 1982. 25 killed. The arsonist claimed he didn’t mean to kill anyone, and only set the fire because he was stoned on marijuana and angry at his uncle, who was in the building.
19 The Luby’s Cafeteria Massacre of 1991. A total of 23 people were killed by a spree shooter.
20 The LA times was attacked with a bomb in 1910, killing 21.
Of the above 20 killings:
4 of them included an airplane as the murder weapon
10 of them were committed by people using a bomb, incendiary device, or other arson tool
5 were spree shootings
1 (The Mountain Meadows Massacre) was committed by a group of people with multiple weapons, including gunfire, knives, and clubbing)
The fact is that guns have nothing to do with spree killings. In fact, 75 percent of spree killings were not performed by firearms. The deadliest form of attack is incendiary device or bomb.