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The Top 10 Things All Americans Should Know About Mass Shootings

Mass Shootings, Murder Sprees and Active Shooters are now all too common in the United States.  To clutter the discussion, each side of the gun control debate spout a lot of opinion and non-scientific anecdotal evidence to back up their entrenched positions.  Below are the top ten things about so called Mass Shootings that all Americans should be aware of:

1: Mass Shootings in The US Are Way Out Of Proportion

Over the last 30 years, the United States had more than double the number mass shootings than the next 24 industrialized countries COMBINED.
mass-shootings-by-country-1983-2013-scientific-american

2: Mass Shooting’s in the US have Skyrocketed In The Last 3o Years

The phenomena became ‘popularized’ after the target=”_blank”>July 1984 McDonalds shootings in San Diego.  In 1983 mass shootings occurred an average of every 2oo days in the US but by 2011 that number had been whittled down to a mere 64 days.  By 2015 that number had sadly reduced to at one mass shooting every 1.5 days.

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3: Run, Hide or Fight Is Now Official Policy

This is the new public policy that nearly all government agencies are promoting for Active Shooter incidents.  Eighty percent of murders in Active Shooter events occur within the first 10 minutes.  This means that there is almost no chance for police to assist even if they are on site already.  Given this situation, you should try to run away from an Active Shooter, but if you can’t get away safely you should hide.  If you can not run or hide, you should engage the Active Shooter and try to stop them.

 

4: Historical Comparisons Are Prone To Errors

Many historical comparisons are flawed because the definitions have evolved as the mass shooting phenomena has evolved.  For instance the FBI used to define a “Mass Shooting” as four or more deaths by gun shot in a short period of time, not counting the shooter.  In 2013 the FBI dropped the concept of Mass Shootings and ushered in the term “Active Shooter”.  They defined an Active Shooter as someone actively trying kill others with a gun in a confined area (like a Sandy Hook School).  This new definition often includes gang violence which, while very important, should obviously be in a different category, but isn’t.

5: Muslims Are Not The Problem

Young white men are nearly always the culprits.  The Muslim population is often thought of (and often blamed) for being the driving force behind most mass murders in the US. and while horrific events like 9/11 are directly correlated, the vast majority of mass shootings are perpetrated by angry white males born and raised in the United States.  From skin heads, to genuinely sick and unstable people like Aaron Alexis (Washington Navy Yard shooter), Adam Lanza (Newtown Sandyhook Elementary School shooter), and James Holmes (Colorado Shooter), to spurned youth like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebod (Columbine High School), to so called “Libertarian” government haters like Timothy McVey, attacks involving Muslims are the exception.

As at June 16 2016, early analysis is that the Pulse gay bar massacre in Orlando Florida by Omar Mateen was a Muslim active shooter but he was using a nutty orthodox ISIS interpretation to support the shootings he was going to commit regardless.

6: Gun Control Laws DO Work

For this I will defer to Scientific American:
“…Due to the Second Amendment, the United States has permissive gun licensing laws. This is in contrast to most developed countries, which have restrictive laws.According to a seminal work by criminologists George Newton and Franklin Zimring, permissive gun licensing laws refer to a system in which all but specially prohibited groups of persons can purchase a firearm. In such a system, an individual does not have to justify purchasing a weapon; rather, the licensing authority has the burden of proof to deny gun acquisition.

By contrast, restrictive gun licensing laws refer to a system in which individuals who want to purchase firearms must demonstrate to a licensing authority that they have valid reasons to get a gun – like using it on a shooting range or going hunting – and that they demonstrate “good character.”

The type of gun law adopted has important impacts. Countries with more restrictive gun licensing laws show fewer deaths by firearms and a lower gun ownership rate…

7: Mexico has Very Tough Gun Laws That Don’t Work

If Mexico has some of the toughest gun laws in the world why do they have so many mass shootings?  This is counterintuitive to those who think the US / Mexican boarder is a wall to stop Mexicans from illegally entering the US.    Mexico has a thousands of unnecessary mass murders committed with guns every year because they are unable to control their boarder.  They can not stem the flow of automatic weapons from the United States.  Many gun shops have setup very near the US Mexico boarder to fill the demand from Mexican drug lords.

8. Mass Shootings Are Good For Business

monthly-gun-sales-from-2000-2015-obamaEach time a Mass Shooting / Active Shooter “event” occurs, gun control becomes a topic of discussion and more Americans run to gun shops to stock up.  After the Newtown Sandyhook massacre gun sales rose from about 800,000 guns per month to 2 million.   Graphic from the New York Times.

9: NRA Used To Want Gun Control

The NRA used to be a supporter of common sense gun control.  Yes that venerable defender of the Second Amendment, the National Rifle Association started as a practical group of men (yes, just men at the start) who thought that gun training and restrictions were to key to a gun use in the United States.  Even today 75% of NRA members support background checks while there leadership fights it at every turn.  In 1977 the NRA hired Harlon Carter (it was not much of a “fair election” inside the NRA so I used the term ‘hired’ rather than ‘elected’) and he correctly determined that the NRA would be more successful as a quasi-political association than one that was interested in gun safety.  The gun as a wedge issue drove the NRA into a position of power no other special interest group has ever attained.

10: How Can We Stop Mass Shootings In the United States

A concise summary of what each side of the gun control debate claim need to be done to reduce gun violence in America can be found HERE.

Each time a Mass Shooting occurs, Americans cry and say one of two things;

  • we must eliminate automatic weapons in the hands of civilians, OR
  • if there were only more guns there would have been fewer people killed

There is ample proof that more guns do not reduce the killing and Americans are NOT going bring in any reasonable gun control in the next decade, so both sides need to stop dwelling on these things because they will not advance the topic.  The only common ground that both sides can use as a starting point are simple filters like background checks (and yes I know even that is terribly controversial with the NRA leadership).  This is not much to work from but it is something.

In the long run, both hand guns and automatic weapons are going to have to have significant controls if the United States does not want its schools and public places to look like Beirut in 1977.

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