“Thirty-two hours after Omar Mateen began murdering people with a Sig Sauer MCX rifle at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. — the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history — an entrepreneur named Jeffrey Isquith arrived at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago,” nytimes.com reports, “[for] the official debut of a product that his company, Ballistic Furniture Systems, had been developing for five years: bullet-resistant panels that could be fitted inside chairs, cubicles and doors.”
According to wikipedia.org, academics use the term “modern history” to refer to “the time period after the post-classical era in European history (known as the Middle Ages).”
There is no commonly accepted definition of “modern American history.” If we’re assuming that the “America” in question refers to the United States, rather than the history of human habitation of the American continent, then all U.S. history is modern. The United States of America is, after all, just 240 years old. That’s a blink of an eye for a species that began 200,000 years ago, who migrated to North America some 40,000 years ago.
The reason I’m being so pedantic: the mainstream media is manipulating language to over-emphasize the importance of the Pulse nightclub massacre. Don’t get me wrong: the terrorist attack is important, on a lot of levels. But it’s not the worst mass shooting in American history.
The worst mass shooting in American was the massacre at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890, just 126 years or roughly five generations ago. wikipedia.org:
On the morning of December 29, the troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, claiming he had paid a lot for it.
A scuffle over the rifle escalated, and a shot was fired which resulted in the 7th Cavalry opening fire indiscriminately from all sides, killing men, women, and children, as well as some of their fellow soldiers. The Lakota warriors who still had weapons began shooting back at the attacking soldiers, who quickly suppressed the Lakota fire. The surviving Lakota fled, but cavalrymen pursued and killed many who were unarmed.
By the time it was over, more than 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota had been killed and 51 were wounded (4 men and 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300.
So the worst mass shooting in American history was the result of an attempt to disarm Native Americans, perpetuated by the United States government. Which is why pro-gun control mass media like The New York Times use rhetorical trickery to elevate the terrorist attack in Orlando in the face of historical truth.