Though President Obama mentioned terrorism during Sunday’s Oval Office speech three days after the deadly San Bernardino shootings, he also called on Congress to re-examine “assault weapon” bans and prohibit people on the no-fly list from obtaining a gun.
However, such gun control measures would have had no impact on these thirteen mass killing incidents, which utilized:
1. Knives – 31 dead
On March 1, 2014, several men armed with long knives converged on a train station in Kunming, China, and stabbed 31 people to death while injuring hundreds more. Police attributed the attack to Uighur separatist forces from Xinjiang province.
2. Machetes – 500 dead
In one of the bloodiest massacres in Nigerian history, more than 500 Christians were butchered near the city of Jos by machete-wielding Muslims in March of 2010. The attack, which didn’t spare toddlers or infants, was reportedly in reprisal for Christian attacks on Muslims two months earlier.
3. A samurai sword and a baseball bat – 4 dead
Because Jae Hwan Shim (pictured above) was apparently angry with his ex-wife for dating another man, he and an accomplice raided a home in Quartz Hill, California, in June of 2008 and used a samurai sword and baseball bat to kill the woman, two of their children, and a relative before setting the house on fire.
This year, Kim pled guilty to the murders and avoided the death penalty by leading investigators to the remains of his ex-wife’s boyfriend in Mexico.
4. Passenger airliners – 2,996 dead
Osama bin Laden ultimately claimed responsibility for the hijacking of four passenger airliners by 19 terrorists that cost nearly 3,000 lives and injured another 6,000 on September 11, 2001. Two planes struck the two 110- story World Trade Center towers, a third hit the Pentagon, and the fourth was downed in a Pennsylvania field before it could reach its intended target in Washington, D.C., when passengers aboard the plane attacked the hijackers.
Osama bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011, by U.S. special forces after an almost decade-long manhunt.
5. An axe handle – 6 dead
Two families in neighboring homes were murdered in their beds in Colorado Springs in September of 1911. The murderer used an axe handle to kill a man, his wife, and their one-year-old son; and then did the same to another woman, her six-year-old daughter, and her three-year-old son. To this day, the crime has not been solved.
6. Poisoned grape drink – 912 dead
Before the 9/11 attacks, the deadliest single non-natural disaster in American history occurred on November 18, 1978, in Guyana.
That’s when Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones ordered 912 (mostly American) men, women, and children to drink Grape Flavor-Aid laced with cyanide and Valium.
7. A pipe bomb – 22 dead
Though pipe bombs failed to detonate in the San Bernardino incident, one such device did explode at a Hindu shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, in August. A total of 22 people were killed.
A man taken into custody 12 days after the blast eventually confessed to the crime, which was apparently in retaliation for a government crackdown on human trafficking gangs.
8. Pressure cooker bombs – 3 dead
On April 15, 2013, Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two bombs made from pressure cookers near the finish line of the 117th annual Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and another 264 were injured, with 14 of them requiring amputations.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with police after a four-day manhunt. His brother Dzhokhar was arrested later that day. On June 24, 2015, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death after having been found guilty of all 30 charges against him.
9. A truck bomb – 168 dead
Timothy McVeigh used fuel oil and fertilizer to build the Ryder truck bomb that exploded in front of a federal building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995.
A total of 168 people perished in what was then the deadliest terror attack on American soil.
10. Dynamite – 45 dead
The Sandy Hook massacre was not the largest mass murder at an American school. That occurred way back on May 18, 1927, at the Bath Consolidated School in Michigan.
The school’s caretaker was apparently angry about property taxes; so he placed dynamite at numerous spots around the school over a period of months and then set a timer for the explosion to occur during classes. A total of 45 people died that day in Bath Township.
11. Gasoline and two matches – 87 dead
That was all Julio Gonzalez (pictured above) needed to set the Happy Land social club in Brooklyn on fire in March of 1990. After starting the fire near the entrance, he pulled down the metal gate and left 87 people inside to burn or suffocate to death within minutes.
The reason? Gonzalez had gotten into a heated argument earlier that evening with his girlfriend, who was checking coats inside the club.
12. Gasoline and a lighter – 133 dead
On February 18, 2003, a 56-year-old unemployed taxi driver boarded a subway train in Daegu, South Korea, with the intention of killing himself.
But when he emptied two cartons of gasoline and dropped his lighter, the fire spread quickly throughout the train and onto a neighboring train. The death toll of 133 was largely due to a lack of fire safety equipment or measures on the trains.
13. Sarin gas – 13 dead
Several members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult released sarin gas on numerous lines of the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995.
Thirteen people died, though the death toll could have been in the thousands had the gas been released differently. However, many of those injured continue to suffer physical problems to this day.