Back in 1890, the U.S. Army 7th Cavalry Regiment killed as many as 300 Native Americans — men, women and children.
There are a few major points I want to make. First among them: This is not a tragedy contest. A life lost is a life lost, period.
That being said, there are differences between the Wounded Knee Massacre and the Orlando mass shooting that, in many eyes, put those two incidents in different categories.
Incidents like the Virginia Tech massacre and the Newtown shooting fall under one modern definition of a mass shooting: one or few lone shooters, public space and multiple victims.
The Tulsa race riots are another example of a mass killing that took place in the United States that does not fit the modern definition. While the Tulsa race riots were not an official entity like the 7th Cavalry Regiment, it was a group, which excludes it from the modern definition of a mass shooting.
However you define it, it might be most accurate to call the Pulse nightclub shooting the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
The most important point, though, is a tragedy is a tragedy.