Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
The recent tragedy at the University of California, Santa Barbara has reignited debate over the fraught issues of gun control, mental health, and school safety. The loss of any life is of course tragic. Parents, community members, and policy makers are right to ask questions about how each attack might have been prevented.
But some perspective is in order. 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?”
The truth, simply put, is that mass shootings —as horrible and nightmarish as they are — are very rare, constitute a tiny sliver of homicides, and are not becoming more frequent. The debate over how to respond to gun violence is controversial and unlikely to yield solutions that will satisfy everyone. That said, any efforts that intend to strike a balance between safety, self-defense, and civil liberties must take account of these inconvenient truths.
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
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 rise of fascism in the US, whether in “left” or “right” garb, has not gone unnoticed by the survivors of nazi germany and their descendants. We should get a clue, especially in light of the evidence of false flags in so many recent massacres. http://thoughtcrimeradio.net/2012/12/staged-massacres-important-links/