The American Spectator has this great information that sets the record clear by giving guidelines to the debate:
Type “mass shootings” and “common” into a search engine and you’ll get all sorts of breathless commentary that might lead one to believe there Americans face a genuine epidemic of shooting rampages. A few headlines:
- Vox: “Mass shootings on campus are getting more common and more deadly.”
- ThinkProgress: “Mass Shootings Are Becoming More Frequent.”
- NPR: “Study: Mass Shootings Are On The Rise Across U.S.”
- Washington Post: “Why are mass shootings becoming more common?”
Homicide in America is far more common than it ought to be. But mass shootings — defined as four or more murders in the same incident — constitute a minuscule share of the total, as I discuss in “The Shooting Cycle” in the most recent edition of the Connecticut Law Review…
I want to break here and post something Mother Jones said in trying to define what a Mass Shooting is… “she” says this:
Broadly speaking, the term refers to an incident involving multiple victims of gun violence. But there is no official set of criteria or definition for a mass shooting, according to criminology experts and FBI officials who have spoken with Mother Jones.
Mother Jones then goes on to quote the definition — after being ambiguous about it — as four or more [excluding the shooter]. Wikipedia says this:
The FBI defines mass murder as murdering four or more persons during an event with no “cooling-off period” between the murders. A mass murder typically occurs in a single location where one or more people kill several others.
- Aggrawal A. (2005) Mass Murder. In: Payne-James JJ, Byard RW, Corey TS, Henderson C (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine, Vol. 3, Pp. 216-223. Elsevier Academic Press, London
- “Serial Murder – Federal Bureau of Investigation”. Fbi.gov. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
It is odd to me why Mother Jones would be ambiguous about it while at the same time use the accepted FBI terminology/definition. At any rate, I HIGHLY suggest reading this Debunking of Mother Jones’ “10 Pro-Gun Myths,” worth the read.
Obama recently praised Australian gun-control.
Ann Coulter tackles this “Australian Stat” often mentioned. She quotes the New York Times’ Elisabeth Rosenthal as saying this:
Rosenthal also produces a demonstrably false statistic about Australia’s gun laws, as if it’s a fact that has been carefully vetted by the Newspaper of Record, throwing in the true source only at the tail-end of the paragraph:
“After a gruesome mass murder in 1996 provoked public outrage, Australia enacted stricter gun laws, including a 28-day waiting period before purchase and a ban on semiautomatic weapons. … Since, rates of both homicide and suicide have dropped 50 percent … said Ms. Peters, who lobbied for the legislation.”
John Lott Responds:
…Here is the actual data from Australia. First note that gun ownership exhibits a very interesting pattern that isn’t often acknowledged. There was a large gun buyback in 1996 and 1997 that reduced gun ownership from 3.2 to 2.2 million guns. But immediately after that gun ownership increased dramatically and is essentially back to where it was before the buyback. Why is that important? Well, if it is the number of guns that is important, you should initially see a large drop in suicides or crimes and then see it increasing. Yet, in none of these data series do you observe that pattern.
For example, homicides didn’t fall until eight years after the laws. It is not clear what theory they have for why the long delay would occur. Nor can I even find an acknowledgment of that long lag in the cited literature. A more natural explanation for the drop at the eight year point would be the substantial increases in police forces that occurred at that time…
…elsewhere he states:
…This is actually pretty amazing given the threat that the government could actually again try to confiscate guns in the country. That imposes a real potential tax on gun ownership.
Australians own as many guns now as they did at the time of the Port Arthur massacre, despite more than 1 million firearms being handed in and destroyed, new research reveals.
A University of Sydney study has shown there has been a steady increase in guns imported into the country over the past decade, with the number of privately owned guns now at the same level as 1996. . . .
Weirdly, gun control advocates are claiming that the buy back is lowering suicides at the same time that they are upset that gun ownership is back to it pre-buy back levels. One doesn’t need a semi-auto to commit suicide. While Australia’s population grew by 20 percent between 1997 and 2011, apparently its gun ownership rate grew by 45 percent. If they are right, the pattern should have been clear: suicides with guns should have plunged in 1997 and then quickly grown after that. Obviously that pattern wasn’t what was observed….
Crime is dropping recently in Australia, but this can be attributed to gun ownership rising back up to the previous rates before the ban. Gay Patriot comments on the before mentioned Obama quote about Australia:
I reiterate the two hidden rules of “Common Sense Gun Laws:”
1. “We only want to keep guns away from dangerous persons.”
2. “Anyone who owns a gun is a dangerous person.”
National Review also makes the point that in order to praise Australian “success,” one is praising anti-Constitutional actions:
Let me be clear, as Obama likes to say: You simply cannot praise Australia’s gun-laws without praising the country’s mass confiscation program. That is Australia’s law. When the Left says that we should respond to shootings as Australia did, they don’t mean that we should institute background checks on private sales; they mean that they we should ban and confiscate guns. No amount of wooly words can change this. Again, one doesn’t bring up countries that have confiscated firearms as a shining example unless one wishes to push the conversation toward confiscation.
Obama gave the impression that gun-violence is on the increase. This is false. As both Pew and the Department of Justice recorded last year, the majority of Americans believe that gun violence is proliferating when it is in fact dropping. This year marked a 20-year low. More than anything, America has a copycat problem in its schools.
Just a long side-note, continuing with the American Spectator article:
…The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that from 2002-2011, 95 percent of total homicide incidents involved a single fatality, 4 percent involved two victims, 0.6 percent involved 3 victims, and only .02 percent involved four or more victims. Another study performed between 1976 and 2005 yields similar results — that less than one-fifth of 1 percent all murders in the United States involved four or more victims. In other words, the bottom line is that out of every 10,000 incidents of homicide, roughly two are mass killings.
Further, contrary to what the zeitgeist may suggest, mass shootings are not on the rise. Prominent criminologist James Alan Fox has found “no upward trend in mass killings” since the ’70s. Take campus statistics as an example: “Overall in this country, there is an average of 10 to 20 murders across campuses in any given year,” Fox told CNN (and roughly 99 percent of these reported homicides were not mass shootings). “Compare that to over 1,000 suicides and about 1,500 deaths from binge drinking and drug overdoses.” Mass shootings on college campuses lag far, far behind many much more prevalent social and mental health problems.
The rare nature of these incidents also holds true for safety in K-12 schools, which garnered a significant amount of attention in the wake of the tragedies in Columbine and Newtown. According to two reports by the Centers for Disease Control, the probability of a child “dying in school in any given year from homicide or suicide was less than one in 1 million between 1992 and 1994 and slightly greater than one in 2 million between 1994 and 1999.”
Of course any story like the above needs a positive one added to it. The Blaze has this:
Two armed criminals reportedly put a gun to a 17-year-old girl’s head on Monday night as she was outside retrieving something from a car. The man, whose intentions still aren’t entirely clear, then ordered the teenager to take them into her house — a decision that would prove to have deadly consequences.
Peering out the window of the St. Louis home were the girl’s mother and father, each prepared to protect their daughter with deadly force. There was also a 5-year-old boy in the house, though his relationship to the family wasn’t known on Tuesday.
The girl’s father, a 34-year-old man, reportedly observed the men walking towards his home while holding a gun to his daughter’s head, a sight that no father ever wants to see. He quickly retrieved his firearm and his wife did the same.
The brave dad then confronted the two criminals and opened fire, hitting both suspects with accurate shots…