I’m going to start giving out an award for the dumbest comment about gun violence. I’m not yet sure how often I’m going to select a winner and I haven’t yet figured out a prize. In fact, I invite all the readers of this blog to take the poll following the text to send me their ideas. In the meantime, the first candidate for our Dumb Award is Emily Miller, a so-called “opinion writer” for the Washington News. She gets on our list of possible award-winners for her column last week about mass shootings, in which she accused the President of exploiting the fear of mass shootings to push his gun-control agenda, and noted that mass shooting deaths in America are a “rarity,” accounting for no more than 18 deaths each year.
Where does she get such crazy numbers? Miller claims she got them from the Congressional Research Service although her link only goes to other Washington Times stories that mention the CRS. But there is another source for this data, namely, the FBI which publishes something called Supplementary Homicide Reports each year. Like most crime data, the reports are several years behind, the most recent covering 2011. So our good friends in Mike Bloomberg’s shop took the FBI data covering 2009 – 2011 and added newspaper accounts covering 2012 and what’s happened so far in 2013. If I saw a copy of the report then so did Emily Miller. But you don’t ever mention the name ‘Bloomberg’ in the Washington Times other than to remind your readers that he’s a big clown. Clown or not, here’s what the Bloomberg report says.
Between January 2009 and the Navy Yard massacre last week, there have been 93 mass shootings, defined by the FBI as events in which 4 or more people were killed. In calculating the number of victims, incidentally, the FBI did not include the shooters who turned the gun on themselves, nor did they include shooters who were killed by responding police. I included both categories because, frankly, I don’t see how you could leave them out. And the grand total of dead people three months short of five years? 498. Now according to Miller, the total should be slightly less than 90. It’s not. It’s 498, which is more than 5 victims per mass shooting.
Of the more than 100 shooters involved in these events (in some mass shootings there were also multiple perpetrators,) there were 25 who took their own lives. Deducting this number from the overall victim count still leaves more than 470, or more than 90 per year. And there’s no reason to exclude the 8 mass shooters killed by police because they wouldn’t have been shot if they hadn’t committed a mass murder in the first place. And here’s the big news: for Emily Miller and the entire NRA gang who go around touting the preposterous idea that an “armed citizenry” will protect us against gun violence, there was not a single mass shooting since 2009 that was thwarted or responded to by a civilian carrying a gun. Not one.
One other important point needs to be mentioned about mass shootings. Despite the NRA’s contention that “gun-free zones” (like schools) increase the possibility of shootings, the overwhelming number of mass shootings took place exactly where most gun violence occurs, in or near the home of the victim. This is true in two-thirds of the mass shootings, and for overall gun violence the percentage is about the same. And a common thread appears in many of these domestic tragedies; i.e., they happened during holiday celebrations – Thanksgiving, Christmas – which is when lots of people are gathered in the same place.
Know what? I really wish that Emily Miller wasn’t such an idiot. I wish her numbers were correct. If we only suffered 18 mass shooting deaths each year that would probably mean the overall number of deaths from shootings would also be substantially lower than the 11,000 that now occur. Nowtake the poll.
- Paul: Voluntarism can stop gun violence (rinf.com)
- 13 Must-Know Stats on Gun Violence and Public Shootings (ijreview.com)