Perhaps because of the amount of media attention mass shootings receive, and due to the gun control debate, with both sides of the spectrum espousing controversial rhetoric in the wake of tragedy, when we think of mass shootings, we more often than not tend to think of the United States of America. The fact is, when mass shootings do occur in the U.S. the media covers these stories in every last minute detail, politicians weigh into the murky waters of the Second Amendment, and political analysts and the general public as a whole weigh in on the causes and effects these shootings have on communities, and on the country.
While it can really feel like the United States is the only country in the world where mass shootings occur, the liberal minded media are more inclined to perpetuate that myth than not, mass shootings occur across the globe. While the United States may suffer more mass shootings than other nations, America’s population is also much, much higher. With over ten times as many citizens as Canada, and over 75 times the population of Norway, it stands to reason that more tragedy, of any kind, would take place in the U.S. But rest assured, mass shootings are not solely an American problem and other countries around the globe, many with much stricter gun control laws, are by no means immune to them.
Here are ten of the worst global mass shootings that claimed lives outside of the United States.
*(As a note, school shootings have been left off this list, save one exception, and the perpetrators’ deaths have not been included in total death count).
10. Nepal – 9 Dead
Following a night of heavy drinking and hash smoking at a party, Nepalese Royal Prince Dipendra was reprimanded by his father, the King, and escorted to his room by family members. Roughly an hour later, Prince Dipendra returned with a cache of firearms and, after firing a warning shot, murdered his father. He then shot one of his aunts and uncles, before fleeing the room. Later on, in the palace garden, Dipendra shot and killed both his mother, the Queen, and his brother. In the end, Dipendra killed nine members of his family before turning the gun on himself, leaving him in a coma for three days, during which time he was proclaimed King of Nepal. After an inquiry, the cause of the massacre was thought to be a marriage dispute, as Dipendra’s choice of bride was a member of a clan the royal family had long feuded with.
9. New Zealand – 11 Dead
In the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s history, on November 13, 1990, an unemployed resident of the small seaside town of Aramoana began shooting indiscriminately at residents of the town. After an argument with a neighbour of his, David Gray took a semi-automatic rifle and proceeded next door where he shot said neighbour dead. He began shooting at the neighbour’s daughters, and after they fled, set the house on fire. As passersby stopped to see if they could be of assistance to the owner of the burning house, Gray began firing at passing onlookers and potential rescue workers as well. All told, Gray murdered 13 people, including numerous children and a police officer. After a daylong manhunt throughout the neighbourhood, Gray eventually emerged from a home shouting “Kill me! F**king kill me you bastards!” where he was shot five times by Anti Terrorism Squad gunfire. Even still, he did not die until nearly half an hour later.
8. Azerbaijan – 12 Dead
In 2009, 28-year-old Farda Gadirov entered the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy armed with a Makarov pistol and began shooting students and faculty at the school in Baku. All told, 12 students and faculty members were shot dead, and a further 13 wounded, before Gadirov put a bullet in his head upon realizing police and Special Forces had arrived. In the aftermath of the killings, it was discovered that 58-year-old cook Mardun Gumashyan may have in fact been the mastermind behind the killings, with investigators postulating that he formed a terrorist group and enticed them to carry out crimes, which Gadirov subsequently did. However, though the investigation has gone slowly, and there have been many discrepancies in the official cause of the shooting spree, Mardun Gumashyan is wanted by Interpol.
7. England – 12 Dead
On the morning of June 2, 2010, 52-year-old taxi driver Derrick Bird began a series of, at first targeted, then random murders in Cumbria, England. After killing his twin brother, the family lawyer and co-workers, he began targeting random strangers on the street as he drove his taxi through surrounding neighbourhoods. In some cases, he called to his victims whom he passed by on the street. After shooting and killing 12 people and wounding 11 others, Bird fled on foot into the woods, where his body was eventually found, dead of apparent suicide. There was much speculation as to Bird’s motivations for the attack, ranging from a 20-year grudge over a former employer, a failed long distance relationship, and, due to the murder of his brother and family lawyer, a dispute over his father’s will.
6. Canada – 14 Dead
The deadliest shooting in Canadian history, the École Polytechnique Massacre is also notoriously known as an anti-feminism shooting. Though a school shooting, it is included on this list because of its significance to Canada, and the killer’s motivations. On December 6, 1989, 25-year-old Marc Lepine stalked the campus of the École Polytechnique in Montreal, and killed 14 women, wounding 13 others. Lepine stated numerous times that feminists had ruined his life, particularly women who attempted to work a ‘man’s job.’ Armed with a semi-automatic hunting rifle, Lepine stormed a classroom allowing all fifty men present to leave, and began killing the woman he held at gunpoint. Lepine ultimately killed himself. The shooting had an immense impact on Canadian society and political debate, helping reform gun control laws in the country and enacting new protocol for how police respond to school shootings.
5. France – 15 Dead
Rumors of intense neo-Nazi ties surrounded 16-year-old French teenager Eric Borel in the immediate aftermath of the killing spree he went on in the town of Cuers, giving the public an idea for a motive. In reality there was little more than a swastika on his door to suggest anything Nazi related. Ultimately there was little to no evidence the teen had any interest in far right politics whatsoever. It appears Borel’s motive was based solely on killing his family, which he did on the evening of September 23, 1995, after his attempt to run away from home failed. According to classmates, his intention was to commit suicide after killing “a few people,” but he decided the next day to continue his murder spree by randomly targeting residents of the French town of Cuers, where he killed 12 more people before turning the gun on himself.
4. Britain – 16 Dead
In a shooting spree that changed Britain’s gun laws, the Hungerford Massacre, as it came to be known, is one of the deadliest shootings in British history. In August of 1987, 27-year-old Michael Ryan went on a rampage that started with shooting a mother of two 13 times in a forest roughly seven miles outside of town and ended with his suicide inside a college classroom. In the interim, Ryan randomly shot a further 15 people as he roamed throughout the small English town. Though there was never an official motive for the massacre that killed 16 and wounded another 17, mental illness was insinuated by doctors consulting the case in the aftermath, with schizophrenia being considered most likely. According to reports, the last thing Michael Ryan said to negotiators before he killed himself was “Hungerford must be a bit of a mess. I wish I had stayed in bed.” Following the shootings, Britain amended its firearms laws, prohibiting the ownership of semi-automatic rifles, and high capacity shotguns.
3. Australia – 35 Dead
The Port Arthur Massacre is not only the deadliest shooting in Australian history, it is also the deadliest mass shooting in the whole of the English-speaking world. A popular tourist destination, the Port Arthur prison colony is a historic district in Tasmania, and in April of 1996, 28-year-old Martin Bryant used the area as a staging ground to murder 35 people and wound a further 23. After killing a couple on his way to Port Arthur, Bryant began his spree in earnest, first in a café at the historic site, followed by more shootings in the gift shop and parking lot. Bryant then fled, hijacking a car and speeding along the highway, shooting randomly at cars. Eventually he and two hostages he had taken ended up in a house, where an 18-hour stand-off ensued. After Bryant set fire to the home, he was forced to flee when the flames began to engulf the home, even setting his clothes on fire. For his crimes Michael Bryant was given 35 life sentences in prison, with no chance of parole.
2. South Korea – 56 Dead
Though police officers are employed to serve and protect their communities, South Korean police officer Woo Bum-kon had different plans in mind. Following a fight with his girlfriend, Bum-kon went into a rage and headed to the police station in the village where he worked, proceeded to collect a massive cache of weapons and began what was, up until recently, the worst killing spree ever committed by a lone killer. Bum-kon went door to door throughout town, in his police uniform so as not to alarm his victims, and systematically shot, or in some cases blew them up with hand grenades. Bum-kon made his way through five separate villages where he killed 56 people and wounded a further 35. Before being taken into custody, Woo Bum-kon committed suicide in dramatic fashion, by strapping two grenades to his chest, and blew himself up along with two unfortunate hostages.
1. Norway – 77 Dead
It is said that one in four Norwegians knew someone affected by the July 2011 mass murder spree perpetuated by right wing extremist Anders Breivik. In an attempt to force the Norwegian government to take his anti-immigrant, anti-Marxist political beliefs seriously, Breivik first targeted the Norwegian government in Oslo, by blowing up a car bomb in front of the Prime Minister’s office, where he killed eight people and injured another 209. In the immediate aftermath of the car bomb, Breivik’s killing spree took an even more insidious turn as he travelled to the island of Utoya where the ruling Labour Party’s summer youth camp was being held. Dressed as a police officer and armed with a rifle, a semi-automatic carbine and a pistol, Breivik fired at will, killing 69 people, many of them teenagers. Breivik was eventually and willingly arrested, hoping to have a public trial in which he wished to broadcast his views to the Norwegian people. He stated that while he did commit the murders, he did not see himself as guilty of any crimes because the “killing was needed.” Anders Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum sentence under Norwegian law, but was also given preventative detention, which allows the law to renew his sentence by five years indefinitely as long as Breivik is seen as a public threat.
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