The New York TimesThe New York Times

In a nation armed to the teeth, these tiny missteps led to tragedy

By Jack Healy, Glenn Thrush, Eliza Fawcett and Susan C. Beachy

20 Apr 2023 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

"A country bristling with guns, anger and paranoia." The NYT shows how an increased fear of crime and an attendant surge in gun ownership are leading to a rise in “wrong address” shootings in the U.S.

The maintenance man in North Carolina had just arrived to fix damage from a leak. The teenager in Georgia was only looking for his girlfriend’s apartment. The cheerleader in Texas simply wanted to find her car in a dark parking lot after practice.

Each of them accidentally went to the wrong address or opened the wrong door — and each was shot. They had made innocent mistakes that became examples of the kind of deadly errors that can occur in a country bristling with guns, anger and paranoia, and where most states have empowered gun owners with new self-defense laws.

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