Are Mass Shootings Becoming More Common in the United States?

Are mass shootings becoming more common in United States? Brad Plumer of The Washington Post thinks so:

Of the 12 deadliest shootings in U.S. history, six have taken place since 2007. (The Newto[w]n school shooting will likely rank second on that list.) Mass killings appear to be on the upswing -- even as other types of homicides and violent crimes are becoming less frequent.

David Brooks highlighted this discrepancy back in July. For much of the 20th century there were, on average, a handful of mass killings per decade. But that number spiked in 1980, and kept rising thereafter. In the United States, there have now been at least 62 mass shootings in the past three decades, with 24 in the last seven years alone. This has happened even as the nation's overall violent crime and homicide rates have been dropping.

Plumer is conflating several stories here. The Brooks column opens with a mass murder in Germany in 1913 and refers to killings in Norway and Korea, so he's telling a global story, not simply an American one. Plumer also slips from the phrase "mass killings" to "mass shootings," but these are not the same category, as any fire marshal could tell you.

But the biggest problem with the passage is the slim evidence that the upward trend exists. As the AP pointed out this weekend,

those who study mass shootings say they are not becoming more common.

"There is no pattern, there is no increase," says criminologist James Allen Fox of Boston's Northeastern University, who has been studying the subject since the 1980s, spurred by a rash of mass shootings in post offices.

The random mass shootings that get the most media attention are the rarest, Fox says. Most people who die of bullet wounds knew the identity of their killer....

Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, said that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s. And mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century.

Fox made his point in greater detail in August. In the last three decades, he noted, the figures for gun homicides that kill at least four victims look like this:

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"Without minimizing the pain and suffering of the hundreds...who have been victimized in senseless attacks, the facts say clearly that [there] has been no increase in mass killings," Fox wrote. When clusters of incidents occur close together, he added, that likely reflects a mixture of copycatting and coincidence.

Since his chart ends in 2010, it doesn't address the unusually high number of casualties from mass murders that we've seen in 2012. But it does suggest that an increase this year is not an ongoing trend; or, at the very least, that it's too soon to tell a new trend from another cluster. (*) As terrible as these crimes are, they represent a very small fraction of the country's murders, and it's easy to read too much into their fluctuations, a point Michael Siegel made in a critique of a much-cited Mother Jones story on the subject. (* Correction: The number of deaths from mass shootings in 2012 thus far is reportedly 68, which is actually less than Fox's figure for 2010. It is the total number of casualties -- dead and injured combined -- that appears to be higher than usual.)

In a more recent column, written after Friday's massacre of children in Connecticut, Fox argued that "if it seems like these dreadful crimes are occurring more frequently, it is really the immediacy and pervasiveness of media coverage that creates the impression. And thanks to state-of-the-art technology, it can feel as though the tragedy happened in your own backyard." Duwe has addressed the media coverage too, pointing out in a 2005 paper that mass murders in the 1920s and '30s were more likely to take place within families or during the commission of another felony. These are not the kinds of killings that tend to attract a high level of press attention.

That said: While there's a lot to object to in the media coverage of the last few days -- the inaccuracies reported on the day of the massacre, the exploitative intrusions on grieving people's privacy -- this feeling that the crime took place in our backyard isn't a bad thing in itself. It represents empathy, and when the press amplifies our empathy, it's doing good. But it's also important for the press to give us a context for that empathy, lest those natural feelings for the victims and the people who loved them turn into an irrational fear that the next victims will be our own children or ourselves. Look at the ways so many schools locked down after Columbine: the increase in inflexible zero-tolerance policies, the speed-up in the school-to-prison pipeline. Those changes made a lot of students less secure, not more. And they were driven by contextless, free-floating fear. Empathy , paranoia no.

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  • John||

    If they are occurring more frequently, wouldn't perhaps the media's constant obsession with them be a possible cause? Most of these sick freaks just want attention and to be noticed. The media ensures that mass murder is a sure way to get that.

    Clearly, we need to repeal the first amendment. I mean if the price of it is, dead children, it is not worth the cost.

  • tarran||

    John, I think the media is fuelling the impression that they are happening more frequently.

    These guys don't really care about the media. The ones who survive don't seem particularly interested in managing/creating a public persona. That essay that Groovus brought to light argues pretty persuasively that the thrill of planning and laying the groundwork for the attack is what excites them.

    Notoriety is really not on their radar. It's all about revenge.

  • John||

    I was being fallacious. I agree. I do, however think there is something to the idea that they are afraid of being confronted and go places where they believe no one will be armed.

  • ant1sthenes||

    The paper they're talking about said the killer had to feel dominant to keep attacking. Arms or even an iron set of balls would wreck that feeling.

  • ||

    I was being fallacious.

    You mean "facetious", but that is the best typo ever.

  • ||

    What happened in 2001 and 2002? That little blip looks odd.

  • niobiumstudio||

    The number of incidents jumped - bunch of people who went on shooting sprees and only killed a few people. There were a bunch of people shooting up gas stations and 7-elevens right after 9-11 killing a few people. Obviously, since they were brown and "the enemy" at the time, they weren't reported on too much.

  • Virginian||

    Source please? Because with the exception of some inbred moron killing a Sikh, I don't remember any kind of mass killing spree directed against Muslims here.

  • niobiumstudio||

    I seem to remember at least 6 or 7. Here are the ones perpetrated against just Sikhs: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/.....ke-of-911/ there were 3 that year. I will look for the one's against real Muslims, I remember there being quite a few though.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Here are some more (SPLC - yeah I know) but I didn't have a chance to read through them all - I will now though. That is Sikh and Muslims - now I will look for mistaken identities of random Indians/other brown people being killed.

  • niobiumstudio||

  • niobiumstudio||

  • Virginian||

    Eh, the SPLC...yeah, sorry but I see a lot of alleged threats and alleged "hate crimes". I would really love to see news reports, police reports, court records, etc. Not to mention about half of them are anonymous threats, teenagers being idiots, or crimes where the racial angle is incidental. Like the guy who robbed the cabbie. Yeah he made some crack about Muslims. But he's a fucking armed robber. He isn't some upstanding citizen who decided to go on a pogrom. He's a shitbag criminal who doesn't mind being a racist twat along with a thug.

    The Texas thing.... I see a lifelong criminal committing armed robbery and murder and then claiming he did it out of patriotic outrage. He's a fucking shitbag jailbird, with multiple felony convictions. Sorry, he just tried to dodge the murder rap by wrapping himself in the flag. He killed that guy for the money in the register, not for any kind of anti Muslim thing.

    I mean, I'm not discounting that in a nation of 300 million people, a few decided assaulting or killing people was a valid response to 9/11. But I contend that

    a) the rate of serious violence was very very low.
    b) that the vast majority of Americans reacted incredibly calmly.
    c) that the justice system has worked to punish these crimes, not turn a blind eye to them.
    d) that the vast majority of Americans are disgusted by people who claim that their careers of armed robbery are now patriotic because the guy who owns the 7/11 is from the Middle East.

  • niobiumstudio||

    What I said doesn't account for the blip at all - It was more an off-color reasoning about why there might be a blip, not the actual reason. With almost 50 murders a day in the US it's kind of impossible for there to be any real reasoning when it comes to spree killers. They are rare and their victims are a "drop in the bucket" of how many people die from violence here.

  • nicole||

    Empathy sí, paranoia no.

    Totally not trolling here, but what is the point of empathy in situations like this? I don't really get it.

  • sarcasmic||

    You're supposed to feel what they feel you unfeeling libertarian monster!

  • Hyperion||

    Do female Libertarians wear a monocle also? Are they tinted?

  • CZmacure||

    Further proof that libertarianism is but the projection of autism into the political realm. Let's see some charts correlating those two trends :)

  • Almanian.||

    They killed Kenny and you're not sad? You bastard!

  • Hyperion||

    And your dog is a geh homosexual

  • Almanian.||

    A brilliant episode. Big Gay Al's amusement park and home for gay animals was the best.

  • Hyperion||

    I think that is the first episode that I saw, Cartman gets an anal probe, that is.

    My other favorite is the Japanese Whalers.

  • PapayaSF||

    I love the Mormon episode. "Dum-dum-dum!"

  • Juice||

    The best episodes are Jennifer Lopez and Butters as a pimp.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Having lost a loved one to random violent death - I don't want to feel what they feel. I've known it before and have no wish to re-live it.

  • nicole||

    Compassion is certainly appropriate. But for the most part emotions in situations like this would seem only to help people make bad decisions. I don't really see any upside other than "we want to look 'human.'"

  • Killazontherun||

    Early Saturday night a lady who lives nearby comes knocking on the door to tell me she ran over a deer. She was driving, the deer ran out in front of her, slipped on the wet surface, skidded on it belly and she ran over the back legs before she could stop. I bring my carbine to the scene, track the poor thing down the few hundred yards she dragged herself, and put a bullet behind its ear. I don't like venison, but there is a hunting lodge a few miles away where they will skin and butcher it for you and give the meat to the poor. They happened to be conducting a turkey shoot, so I was fortunate to be able to leave it with them. Not much emotion expressed on my part this entire time. I get back home, check Drudge and see that picture of the two kindergarten kids hugging, and I pretty much lose it. That is about the saddest thing I can imagine, and I had just spent the previous two hours dealing with a crippled doe.

  • nicole||

    Sure, I get that if you see something and you feel bad, you feel bad. What I don't get is why "when the press amplifies our empathy, it's doing good." Do you think the press was "doing good" by causing you to feel this way? That is not to say it was necessarily "doing bad," either, it just doesn't seem necessarily good either.

  • Killazontherun||

    This word, 'good', it does not compute.

  • Killazontherun||

    Actually, the proglodytes who go around dreaming up schemes of confiscation as a means of social reordering to get favored results reveal by that sort of rationalization that they lack the emotional capacity to deal with tragedy.

  • Tonio||

    Thank you Killaz for your act of kindness to the wounded deer and to your neighbor.

  • Zeb||

    I think that people think that empathy and sympathy mean the same thing.

    I'm certainly sympathetic to the people affected by this, but in no way empathetic.

  • Matrix||

    Armed Fathers protect Jewish Elementary School

    This should be the norm, not the exception... or perhaps the exception becaues the teachers and administrators are not armed.

    I'm glad some of my folks have a more reasonable attitude about guns (ie, not calling for banning gun possession by citizens). Jews, more than most, should be aware of the necessity to be armed to protect ourselves.

  • John||

    Exactly. These mass shooters are never SEAL Team Six. They nearly always run or shoot themselves when confronted by someone who is armed. The whole point is to murdered unarmed people. So arm the people and the problem is solved.

  • Hyperion||

    But, but... scary guns!!!

  • R C Dean||

    That's right. Apparently, they scare the shit out of mass killers as well, since they always seem to pick gun-free zones for their sprees.

  • Hyperion||

    But, RC, if people have guns they will kill people! That's all guns are for.

    We have to get rid of all guns and then no children will ever die. Because no way will they ever think of any other way to kill people, like homemade bombs or chemical agents.

    Psychotic killers wannabe will all just say, wow, no more guns, I guess I won't kill anyone after all. Instead I will just go make a tofurkey sandwich and watch dancing with the stars.

    /sarcasm

  • Tonio||

    Google "China School Stabbing". Not just the recent incident where 22 children were stabbed (none killed, thankfully) in a single incident, but several earlier incidents as well. They just executed someone who fatally stabbed eight kids.

  • rts||

    Pearl High School shooting

    Woodham went on to wound seven others before leaving, intending to drive off campus and conduct another shooting at the nearby Pearl Junior High School. However, assistant principal Joel Myrick had retrieved a .45 pistol from the glove compartment of his truck and subdued Woodham inside his mother's car.
  • rts||

    But... CCW results in a shootout bloodbath... or not:

    Clackamas mall shooter faced man with concealed weapon

    The break in gunfire allowed Meli to pull out his own gun, but he never took his eyes off the shooter.

    "As I was going down to pull, I saw someone in the back of the Charlotte move, and I knew if I fired and missed, I could hit them," he said.

    Didn't hear that on CNN, did you?

  • sarcasmic||

    Then there's the proliferation of gun free zones target rich environments. Hmmm.

  • anon||

    If I were an asshole pondering killing people for no reason, I know my first target would be an environment where I was guaranteed absolutely no meaningful resistance.

    So yeah, Federal Government is promoting sociopathic killers.

  • Hyperion||

    So yeah, Federal Government is promoting are sociopathic killers

  • R C Dean||

    I've seen the claim that mass shootings at schools started after the Clinton Gun-Free School Zone law passed.

    I'd be interested to know if that is true.

  • Hyperion||

    Whether it's true or not, the only real solution is increased security, and part of that definitely involves armed people on site trained to react to a situation.

    But the progs will never go for that. They do not want a solution. They want to disarm the rednecks and crazy anarchists so that they can implement their totalitarian rule with no resistance.

  • sarcasmic||

    What do you mean? Progs would support someone from the government with a gun in the schools. Government has never abused power. Not when the right people (us) are in charge.

    Ohhhhh, you mean allowing private citizens who can legally carry a concealed weapon elsewhere to not be prohibited from carrying in a school?

    You forget that that which is not prohibited becomes mandatory, and your idea would mean schools full of guns! Daily mass shootings! Carnage!

    You heartless monster!

  • Hyperion||

    No, they will not ever support anyone from government carrying a gun around in a school, or anything else that does not involve banning guns. They don't want a solution to violence, they want control.

  • sarcasmic||

    What says "control" like an armed government goon?

  • Hyperion||

    Only in this case, armed government goon doesn't get them banned guns, which is one of their holiest of holy wishes.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The Army could provide security.

  • Hyperion||

    But that might provide a solution that doesn't ban guns. Not acceptable.

    If the feds really wanted a solution to this, the answer is obvious. And to provide the funds, how about just taking all of the pork out of a few proposed bills and using it for increased security at schools?

    They don't want a solution that doesn't ban guns. And that is not a solution. But it is what they want.

  • R C Dean||

    Not sure they legally could, under the Posse Comitatus Act.

    Nor should they, in any event. Using your army for law enforcement/internal security is absolutely the worst thing you can do with it. See, e.g, every repressive authoritarian regime ever.

  • NoVAHockey||

    OT: thanks for the push to go see Santa on Friday night. lots of fun and we got the "who the hell is this guy" picture.

  • R C Dean||

    You can never have too many embarrassing pix of your kids to roll out at graduation parties, rehearsal dinners, and the like.

  • JD the elder||

    I doubt it. Andrew Kehoe (well, that was more of a bombing), Charles Whitman, Brenda Ann Spencer, all well predate Clinton.

  • box_man||

    Agree with the ideas in this article. In 2010 211 children were killed by drunk drivers, appx. 130 of these were riding with the drunk driver that killed them. Yet because these individual events aren't as sensational as a rare mass killing, we pay little attention to the accumulated slaughter perpetrated by irresponsible drivers.

    While the media may serve to magnify empathy they become the hand maidens of politicians and activist groups who seek to gain political power and more cash by capitalizing on these incidents. With deference to the families who have experienced real loss, the behavior of these groups after the incident is nearly as sick as the original perpetrator of the tragedy.

  • ||

    the behavior of these groups after the incident is nearly as sick as the original perpetrator of the tragedy.

    Not "nearly". As sick if not moreso.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Actually, if the graph were adjusted to per capita terms the trend would be sharply downward.

  • Almanian.||

    Yeah, I was wondering about that, too. Would be interesting to see.

  • Matrix||

    NRA endorsed senator calls for assault weapons ban

    "I don’t know anyone in the sporting and hunting arena who goes out with an assault rifle; I don’t know anyone who needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting."

    You're not hunting the right game.

    From the comments:
    A Gun is designed to kill. Not to protect. By many of the comments I have read so far, so many do not understand nor do they comprehend the loss that continues to take place in this country at the end of a gun. The fact that gun laws are not enforced, and are not changing fast enough to protect the innocent is the crime. As long as a gun is available to someone who goes off the deep end, no matter the cirsumstances, there will be death.

    May there be a lesson here today learned. Ms. Nancy Lanza was murdered by her own gun by her own son.
    She had assult weapons in her home, promoted both her children to use them. To know how to use them. And she knew her son Adam was was not well. So why would she keep these weapons avaliable to her boys?

    If she would have lived, she would have been looked upon by many as an accomplice. Gun ownership is basically too much of a responsiblity for most to understand when something like this occurs. Gun enthusists and owners are the ones who espeically need to promote GUN CONTROL.. Or they will loose thier rights as well.

    Drink Drano, bitch.

  • anon||

    I do promote gun control; I use both hands.

  • John||

    So why would she keep these weapons avaliable to her boys?

    Her sons were 20 and 24. They were not "boys".

  • T||

    Gotta infantilize the adults, John. It's far less emotionally appealing if you don't.

    As somebody who went on active duty at the ripe old age of 17, this one always sticks in my throat. Anybody over 18 isn't a child, you nanny-state fuck.

  • Almanian.||

    Active duty at 17 - respeck

  • Hyperion||

    They were adult children, John, geez you damn unfeeling anarchists who think that 20 somethings should be responsible.

  • SAL||

    I think the technical term is 'manchild'

  • niobiumstudio||

    Hell, go over to the article about Manchin on the NYT - there are people calling "semi-automatic rifles WMD's"... I would love to see Manchin go out hunting hogs with a bolt action rifle.

  • Almanian.||

    hunting hogs with a bolt action rifle

    Uh...no thanks :)

  • niobiumstudio||

    Exactly my point - people fail to realize how dangerous game can be in the US and think AR style rifles have no sporting purposes and that all you need to hunt is a 4 shot bolt-action or a muzzle loader. Go over to the NYT, MSNBC, or pretty much anywhere there are people calling for gun control and that is their first argument - you couldn't POSSIBLY need more then a few shots for hunting - even Manchin was saying that. That's why I would love to see Manchin out in the dark with a Rem. 700 with his 4 bullets hunting some pissed off hogs...

  • anon||

    Also, ar-15's are great guns. No recoil + good accuracy.

  • Ted S.||

    I'm not a gun person. But technically, don't the laws of physics require some recoil?

  • Tonio||

    Why, yes, Ted S, yes they do.

    I interpreted anon's "no recoil" comment to mean "the absolute minimum amount of recoil that could be obtained within the laws of physics."

  • Generic Stranger||

    AR-15s chambered in .223/5.56 NATO recoil very lightly compared to rifles chambered in .308 or .30-06, the two previous standard military cartridges.

    They pay for that lack of recoil by having approximately half the kinetic energy. Modern 5.56 cartridges produce about 1300 ft lbs of energy, while .308 Winchester produces 2600 ft lbs.

  • dinkster||

    It is my humble opinion that M1 Garands are vastly superior to AR-15's regardless of recoil.

  • Almanian.||

    Manchin out in the dark with a Rem. 700 with his 4 bullets hunting some pissed off hogs

    I'm seeing a new "reality" show here...and I would pay MONEY to watch.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Anyone proposing to ban weapons needs to go out on a little dangerous game hunting adventure with the best weapon they can find left unbanned by their new law. They can do some hog hunting, brown/grizzly, bison/buffalo, black bear, cougar, moose, elk, mountain goats, muskox, and of course polar bear. And of course, film it for our amusement.

  • anon||

    I do not care how much money you offer me, I refuse to ever go wild boar hunting with a .22.

  • Almanian.||

    A pack of feral dogs in the outback with nothing but a knife and Ted Nugent's nut sack.

    "HOW'S THAT 30-ROUND 'CLIP' LOOKIN' NOW, MEAT??!!"

  • anon||

    Buckwild?

  • Almanian.||

    Bucknasty

  • Matrix||

    why isn't hunting tyrants a legitimate sport?

  • Almanian.||

    ^^ELIMUNASHUNIST RHETORICKS!!!111!!!11!!1eleventykajillion!11

  • R C Dean||

    Next time I go feral hog hunting, I'll probably take my M-1A with the 20 round magazines.

    Because (a) it would be fun and (b) fucking feral hogs travel in packs and can kill your ass. I've had to reload my bolt-action in the middle of a hog shootin' in the past, and being essentially unarmed with pissed off feral hogs in the vicinity is a whole lot of No Fun At All.

    I'd confirm that magazine restrictions for hunting rifles don't apply in Texas if you're after non-game animals, but I'm pretty sure that's the case.

  • John||

    They are expensive, but I highly recommend an M14 for such endeavors. You can't beat the bigger round. Also, a lever action 30/30 is quite effective as well.

  • T||

    I want magazines I can change out fast. I'll stick with my LR-308.

  • Almanian.||

    I know some people use a 1911 with +P rounds or some such thing. Seems to work for them, although I'd much rather have an AR in 7.76 with about 30 rounds (and an extra couple mags) for such work.

    Never been hog hunting, but what I've seen on TEEVEE and so on suggests them are nasty little beasts that do NOT stop coming till you kill 'em real dead. And that dad's Colt Frontier in .22 (I have one) ain't gonna do that job...

  • John||

    Actually a good .270 deer rifle will take down a hog just fine. Long guns are just generally nasty weapons.

  • Almanian.||

    Oh, my trusty Marlin .30 .30 lever action will drop some shit. I just know it's a bitch to reload fast when a bunch of wild anything is charging at you!

    And my .30-06's only hold...I wanna say 5 shells. The Winchester's semiauto and the Remington's bolt (1903). Sloooooow to reload....

  • John||

    That is why you carry a big bore handgun or a shotgun as backup. But most people I know who boar hunt, set up feeders and just blast them from a hundred yards. Unless you are out stalking them with dogs or something, they are never going to charge you. That is until you just wound one and have to go find it. Then you are probably better off with a shotgun. Easier to just point it when you are under stress.

  • Almanian.||

    Yep - dad taught us to ALWAYS have a sidearm while hunting. Cause even a fucking white tail deer can do some damage if it's wounded and you happen upon it while unarmed....

  • some guy||

    Or even if it's not wounded. They usually run, but catch one in the wrong mood during the wrong season and he'll put a hole in your lung.

  • Gray Ghost||

    That is until you just wound one and have to go find it. Then you are probably better off with a shotgun. Easier to just point it when you are under stress.

    The professional hunter Peter Capstick used a Winchester 12 with SSG (sort of like #1 Buck, but not really) for pursuing wounded 'thin-skinned' (I.e., not Cape Buffalo or Elephant) dangerous game into heavy cover. He carried it for the sheer number of rounds he could put out of it and buckshot was lethal enough on leopard at 10 meters or so. You still have to aim, of course.

    Having more critters to deal with than shots in the rifle, isn't something I've ever been confronted with. An AR chambered in Grendel, or a 5.56 with heavy bullets seems like it would be ideal.

  • ||

    An M1A is an M14. And I would love to have one, but I already have a Garand and I'd have a hard time justifying the expense right now.

  • Generic Stranger||

    This. It's made by Springfield Armory.

  • R C Dean||

    I think the M-1A is the "civilian" version of the M14 (which has a verboten select-fire capability). They may be selling semi-autos as "M14"s though.

    Wonderful guns, if you don't mind the weight. Like many military guns, they were designed with 18 year old farmboys in mind, not middle-aged lawyers.

  • John||

    It is. I saw M-1a and read M16A-1. Wasn't paying attention.

  • burnt||

    I was looking at buying one from Bud's the other day, but by the time I found an FFL to do the transfer they had sold out.

    Now all they have is the national match. So tempting, but 2k is a lot for something I'll only get to shoot a few times a year.

  • anon||

    I've had to reload my bolt-action in the middle of a hog shootin' in the past, and being essentially unarmed with pissed off feral hogs in the vicinity is a whole lot of No Fun At All.

    Yeah, that's why you take a sidearm with you as well. Even with a 30 rnd magazine, you still might get caught with your pants down (didn't think you needed to reload yet, etc.)

  • ||

    I've had to reload my bolt-action in the middle of a hog shootin' in the past, and being essentially unarmed with pissed off feral hogs in the vicinity is a whole lot of No Fun At All.

    See, if you had any class, you would have been using an old WW2 rifle with bayonet fixed. Problem solved.

  • niobiumstudio||

    No, if you had class you would be out there with two single-action six-shooters and a pig-stickin' knife...

  • R C Dean||

    This was more of a deer hunting, but holy shit, look at all those hogs tearing Papa Dean's wheatfield type of deal.

    Left one out on the field. Can't beat a dead hog for coyote bait. My longest hunting shot ever on that trip - 350 yards (on a coyote).

  • JW||

    Of the 12 deadliest shootings in U.S. history, six have taken place since 2007. (The Newton school shooting will likely rank second on that list.) Mass killings appear to be on the upswing -- even as other types of homicides and violent crimes are becoming less frequent.

    Airplanes are dangerous. Look at all the people who die when they crash!

  • R C Dean||

    Of the 12 deadliest shootings in U.S. history, six have taken place since 2007 in designated "gun-free zones".

    Meaning comes from context.

    Looks to me like the crucial variable here isn't anything related to firearms (which have been widely available all along, high-cap mags and all). Its the proliferation of designated gun-free zones.

    There are plenty of examples of armed citizens putting a stop to (potential) mass killings, as well.

    Want to reduce the body count? Get rid of gun-free zones.

  • Paul.||

    Seattle Times reports the ugly facts on guns, as reported by such sources as Mother Jones:

    1. Shooting sprees are not rare in the United States.

    Mother Jones has tracked and mapped every shooting spree in the last three decades. "Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country

    3. Of the 12 deadliest shootings in the United States, six have happened from 2007 onward.

    That includes the Newtown, Conn., shooting. The preliminary death toll of 27 would make it the second-deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history


    5. The South is the most violent region in the United States.

    In a subsequent post, Healy drilled further into the numbers and looked at deaths due to assault in different regions of the country. Just as the United States is a clear outlier in the international context, the South is a clear outlier in the national context.

    8. States with stricter gun-control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.

    Last year, economist Richard Florida dived deep into the correlations between gun deaths and other kinds of social indicators. Some of what he found was, perhaps, unexpected: Higher populations, more stress, more immigrants and more mental illness were not correlated with more deaths from gun violence.,

    http://o.seattletimes.nwsource.....ate15.html

  • Paul.||

    I especially liked #5. It won the WTF award. If you go to the Times link, then click on the source link for #5, the story on assault trends doesn't mention firearms. It was like the Times just threw that in... for flavor.

  • Matrix||

    Anything they can do to pad their narrative is fine. Also, they can resist the opportunity to take pot shots at the "backwards conservatard hicks" living in the South.

  • John||

    The South is so violent, yet places like Chicago and Detroit have the highest murder rates. Funny that.

  • Matrix||

    Shush! that does not fit their narrative.!

  • Almanian.||

    DETROIT'S COMING BACK!!!

    Someday.

  • Zeb||

    I don't know if what was cites is true or not, but those two things are not contradictory.

  • ||

    I can't find anything to confirm that about murder rates. Everything I find says that southern cities have more violence per capita but also more murders per capita. Where did you pull that from?

  • ||

    Personally I think responsible gun owners need to LOCK UP THEIR SHIT. Both my kids will be trained (at the right age) but will not be able to get to my guns without my supervision.

  • John||

    This freak was 20 years old though. He was an adult.

  • R C Dean||

    The only problem with locking up your guns is that removes them from being used for self-defense.

    Its a quandary if you've got people in your house you don't trust around guns.

  • ||

    Depends on the container.

  • Almanian.||

    ^this

    I haven't yet, but will be investing in one of those "handprint ID" reader things for the trusty Glock or Smith and Wesson (with key backup for if I'm all fucked up and can't do anything but turn a key). Then I can at least get to a handgun if I can't get to the basement to unlock the big gun cabinets.

    PS Ammo always separate from the guns, too...till I get the little handgun safe.

  • Paul.||

    PS Ammo always separate from the guns, too...till I get the little handgun safe.

    That's the one the burglars carry off when they break into your home. Have a good hiding place.

  • anon||

    You know, you could just keep something like a kimber (with those freaking 30 million safeties) under the pillow.

  • Almanian.||

    Nah, I will never be comfortable having loaded gun unless I'm ready to use it - so no "under the pillow" - a little safe would be minimum acceptable for my own comfort level.

  • anon||

    Meh, I don't know if you have children and was merely offering an alternative. I don't, and I just keep my S&W 45 in the top drawer of my nightstand with a magazine (not one chambered). Then again, my SO knows how to use a firearm.

  • R C Dean||

    Same here.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Keep your guns locked away and one ON you for self-defense. You can be 100% sure nobody else is using your gun for murdering children when it is strapped to your hip.

  • niobiumstudio||

    It wouldn't matter if she locked her shit up - her ass was murdered for the guns while she was in bed. No matter what laws we have - no matter what we ban - no matter how responsible people are - this shit is going to happen. It is completely impossible to stop in a free society. Hell, China isn't what you would call a free society and one the same damn day a guy killed the same number of children and he did it without an icky black assault-rifle... Are we going to ban "Chef Style" knives next?

  • NoVAHockey||

    "completely impossible to stop in a free society"

    we've identified the problem.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Yeah, don't give them any ideas... it can't even be stopped in an un-free society (eg. Chinese mad-man with a chef knife).

  • SAL||

    sorry but that's an outright lie; none of the 22 children died and "only" 2 were badly injured in that stabbing spree. Gotta be careful with confirmation bias...

  • niobiumstudio||

    Sorry - there you go Google news putting those reports out there. TBH I didn't read anything after that first day about the crazy Chinese guy. Friday there were headlines "20 Children stabbed to death in China." I probably should have hit up Wikipedia instead of trusting the news...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Are trend stories becoming more common in the media?

  • Paul.||

    No, there's just more media.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Well we still have to do something about them.

  • Paul.||

    Some sort of government oversight is probably in order. A trend story Czar should be appointed.

  • anon||

    You say that as if the position doesn't exist already.

  • Almanian.||

    I see what you did there...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Most people who die of bullet wounds knew the identity of their killer....

    And most of the children on milk cartons are living with a relative. But it's hard to get the rubes all stirred up with that as your narrative.

  • Matrix||

    Yup. I was one of those kids, though I don't think I was actually on a milk carton, but I was illegally taken out of state by my mother and step-father. My Dad went on the local news to try to find me.

  • Almanian.||

    And now here you are, Matrix.

    LET'S PAHTY....!

    /Commando

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If I were an asshole pondering killing people for no reason, I know my first target would be an environment where I was guaranteed absolutely no meaningful resistance.

    A friend sent me a story a while back about a guy who tried to pull off an armed robbery in a sporting goods(?) store; apparently nearly everybody in the joint was packing, because the medical examiner extracted multiple rounds of a variety of calibers from the corpse of the robber.

    And, when they tallied up the score, the customers and staff were much better shots than your average cop. Hardly any misses.

  • Almanian.||

    Your story has warmed my cold, cold heart. Thanks!

  • Matrix||

    There were people on Twitter calling for the assassination of the head of the NRA as well as going into an NRA meeting and shooting up the members.

    After my initial anger subsided, I had to laugh at how utterly implausible such a scenario would be. I'd give the shooter 2 or 3 kills at most before they were brought down by a hail of gunfire from the trained members carrying their guns to an NRA meeting.

    Needless the say, the body count would be much lower than just going into some random crowd of disarmed people.

    Oh, and they were also calling on searching every home and confiscating every firearm from every citizen in this country. Yeah... that'd go over real well. I would said like a lead balloon, but I think a lot of lead would be flying.

  • John||

    Gun control is like crack to liberals. They can't help themselves. Gun control and dead kids. They eat this shit up. Expect them to be on a full gun grabbing bender for the next two years.

  • anon||

    Oh, and they were also calling on searching every home and confiscating every firearm from every citizen in this country.

    There will definitely be at least one corpse when they try to come in my home.

  • Matrix||

    Since I'm pretty sure you'd be one of them, I hope the count is much higher. Fewer brown shirts to worry about.

  • Matrix||

    that's not to say I don't support such a stance, or to say I wouldn't do the same. I'd rather die on my feet a free man than live on my knees as a slave. But the death part would be all but certain if I stood up to the tyrants. But it'd be a death worth having.

  • Hyperion||

    The gun control attempts will fail miserably. There is too much pro-gun support in the country and that is not diminishing at all, no matter what the lying liberal media tries to say... they will quote a HuffPo poll and say that support is divided, lol. If support is divided in the most fringe of loony tune leftist territory, then I don't see much happening here.

    So next they will go after violent video games, they have already started on that, and that will fail also. I even know some progressives that although they claim to be pro gun control, love violent video games.

    So, in the end, they just move on to the next liberty killing scheme that they can think up. Then on to the next when that fails. But eventually they gain a little ground, scratching and clawing their way towards totalitarianism. Eventually they win, and then lose when their pefect society collapses, and it all starts again.

  • John||

    Ace of Spades said it perfectly.

    The one thing the gun-control people claim is that they're not gun grabbers, and they don't want to literally ban every gun in the US.

    But . . . banning every gun in the US is the only possible gun-control measure that could plausibly achieve the results they seek. If there are any guns in the country, at all, presumably criminals will ignore laws against possessing them (as they currently ignore such laws) and also ignore laws against, well, shooting people with guns (several statutes cover this, pretty exhaustively, and yet they still ignore it).

    So all gun control laws are aimed, essentially, at the one class of persons who have already demonstrated their intent to ignore gun laws. The laws are aimed at the very people who don't obey them, but it is taken as an article of faith that if you just disarm the people who aren't breaking the law, for some reason the criminally-minded will follow their lead.

    Well, that's absurd, obviously. The only way that a criminal who is determined to get a gun and use it for a criminal purpose will not have a gun is if there are literally no guns to be had-- no guns to be stolen, no guns to be bought off Craigslist, no guns, period.

  • Hyperion||

    I've said it before, but the experiment has already been done here in the Americas and it's been a miserable failure. Almost no one legally owns a gun in Brazil, and yet the gun violence there exceeds that in the US. There is no lack of guns, it's just that they are illegal guns.

    There is no evidence anywhere that gun control laws stop violence. The left have nothing but their usual lies. They are also going to have one hell of a time taking away the 300 million guns from Americans.

  • some guy||

    And there are plenty of other items that are completely banned, but still prevalent, in the US. Illegal drugs being the obvious example.

    The prevalence of an item is caused not by its legality, but by its value to the populace. Legality is just one small part of the value calculation for most people.

  • SAL||

    I'm no gun control advocate but I think that comparing America and Brazil in this regard doesn't make for the best argument, since Brazil has a generalized rule of law problem, i.e. law enforcement is generally poor. A gun control advocate could say that many European countries, which have much better institutions than Brazil and stricter gun control laws, present significantly lower murder rates than both Brazil and the U.S.

  • some guy||

    Law enforcement is generally poor in the US too. We're pretty good with the big crimes, but we let all the little stuff slide unless you manage to piss off the wrong person.

    Traffic laws, drug laws, copyright laws, petty theft, vandalism, burglary, assault, etc. Millions of violations occur every day and only a few are ever prosecuted.

  • SAL||

    I understand, but I think that's true of all governments. In relative terms, however, law enforcement in the U.S. and in Europe is much better than in Brazil (which sometimes is a good thing for us Brazilians, but usually it isn't...)

  • Hyperion||

    SAL, I think if you lighten up the gun control so that folks can protect themselves, the crime will decrease a lot. Cops almost never stop a shooting from occuring here in the US.

    But when criminals know if they walk through a door or into a shop and the owner could be armed, that is a pretty strong psychological deterrent. Most of the crime in Brazil seems to be theft related, if what I am hearing is correct, they typically want to steal something, but don't want to die over it. There is also all the drug violence from cartels, but the only answer is to legalize and put the cartels out of business.

    That being said, nothing can stop maniacs like the deranged guy in CT, except for an immediate armed response. The cops will always be late on the scene.

  • SAL||

    I agree that if a substantial percentage of Brazilians had guns, criminals would have a lot to lose; culturally I think it's pretty implausible though, and I'm afraid that if gun laws were less strict and we didn't reach the point of herd immunity, the situation might not change or even get worse.

    What I meant by better law enforcement is that if the U.S. decided to completely ban the sales of firearms (or any other product, for that matter) starting January 1st, it would be much more effective than Brazil would, in the same way that copyright protection is much more effective in the U.S. than in Brazil, for example. It's a cultural thing, too; you have perhaps heard of "dar um jeito" or "jeitinho brasileiro", which often means bypassing the law, finding loopholes in it; corruption is the greatest example.

    Of course, random mass shootings are a more complex phenomenon as we discussed in the other thread and nobody knows exactly if and how they would be affected by gun control.

  • Matrix||

    I remember reading studies in the past few years that suggest that violent video games actually reduce violent tendencies in some children. They are an outlet for that latent aggression. I'd rather they take out their anger on digital people than real life flesh-and-blood people.

  • John||

    Anyone who has ever been a teenager should know that. They were talking on the radio the other day about how you can buy for $300 at COSCO a radio controlled helicopter with a HD video camera on it that sends real time feeds back to your ipad.

    Tell me, when you were 13, what would you have given to have such a toy? What would you have given to have been able to play Call of Duty on a 57 inch flat screen TV? When I was a teenager we roamed the streets causing trouble. If we had had access to the toys they have today, we would have never left our bedrooms?

  • Matrix||

    Indeed! But I had video games (I'm only 30). We had DOOOOOOM! (ZOMG!!!) And I survived the '90s. I have no interest in going on a shooting spree, so am I the exception? Why should the rest of us lose our liberties because of a few nuts?

  • John||

    Doom was a fun game.

  • Hyperion||

    Borderlands is non-stop adrenaline rush killin fun. The number and variety of weapons is amazing.

    Same with New Vegas.

    Hands off my violent video games, you statist fucks!

  • Matrix||

    I love Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Borderlands was pretty great too.

    I love some mindless shooting once in a while.

    Hell, when GTA first game out, I got the cheat codes and just went on rampages all the time.

    Digital kill count 10,000,000+.
    Real life kill count: 0

    Damn. I guess I'm not the target audience of violent video games since I haven't gone on a shooting spree.

  • Hyperion||

    I killed hundreds yesterday in Borderlands and have killed literally millions in video games throughout my years, but not even once have I thought it would be fun to just go out in public and start killing real people. You would think as much as I have gamed that I would be a total psycho by now if there was an actual correlation.

    I have this wacky notion that people who do this were just nuts in the first place, I know that's not a popular notion with Libs, but I can't help thinking it anyway.

  • Brandon||

    There seems to be a strong urge among people to try to place blame for every instance like this, because if they can ban the "cause," they can prevent anything scary or unpleasant from ever happening to them.

  • Redmanfms||

    I'm 31, had violent video games, watched violent movies, went hunting and killed little furry animals, and even owned (and had possession of) firearms when I was a child. My mother owned actual machine guns, including a number of belt-fed types. I was also a pudgy red-haired Aspie with few friends who was teased almost mercilessly until going to an all-male military school (funny how boys are nowhere near as cruel as girls).

    Despite that, it never even occurred to me to use the firearms in my possession, or my mother's, to murder my classmates.

    The Kinkle kid and Columbine happened when I was in high school and I was just as horrified as any normal fucking person would be.

  • R C Dean||

    They were talking on the radio the other day about how you can buy for $300 at COSCO a radio controlled helicopter with a HD video camera on it that sends real time feeds back to your ipad.

    What a dandy hunting accessory. If nothing else, it was convince me that, no, all the deer/turkeys/elk aren't really in the next field over, snickering at me.

  • some guy||

    They sure as hell help me. The only time I ever yell is when playing a video game or getting cut-off/tailgated on the road.

  • Matrix||

    I yell in traffic, playing games, and watching sports.

  • Paul.||

    If support is divided in the most fringe of loony tune leftist territory, then I don't see much happening here.

    Support is divided. Americans believe that gun ownership is a right, the New York Times editorial board doesn't.

  • anon||

    You know, having my dad teach me how to shoot and showing me where his guns were when I was 5, I have a real hard time understanding why I haven't killed millions of children yet. Obviously I'm a danger to society.

  • Almanian.||

    We're fortunate my dad waited till I was 8, or I'd have killed many more than the...wait, I've never killed anyone.

    Never mind.

  • anon||

    Living in southern NJ farmland, we had rats bigger than most small dogs.

  • Brandon||

    Were they addicted to the Tomacco?

  • SIV||

    Plumer also slips from the phrase "mass killings" to "mass shootings," but these are not the same category, as any fire marshal could tell you.

    Happy Land Social Club

    87 homicides with a bottle of gas.

  • some guy||

    Quit ruining the narrative!

  • R C Dean||

    Pish, I'll raise your 87 homicides with a bottle of gas to 3,000 killed with a few boxcutters.

  • Brandon||

    Sarah Brady: Fuck Debating, We Just Need to Take Those Nasty Nasty Guns:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....13088.html

    Pretty much covers the full range of fallacies, with a heaping helping of sanctimony.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Her husband is alleged to have been shot in D.C. in 1981, when the handgun ban was in effect.

    The shooting must have been a hoax.

  • WillyRK||

    "...unusually high number of casualties from mass murders that we've seen in 2012" - is that a fact? I quickly did the numbers from http://tinyurl.com/a6t4b5s and only came up with 67. That would be a decrease from 2010.

  • Being Waterboarded||

    I cannot believe you guys. Laws are meant to protect us. Are you really unwilling to give up a little liberty to help prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future? I mean, think of all the white women that would have been seduced by black men over the last several decades if the federal laws against marihuana had not been put in place. Clearly, the fact that white women have NO ACCESS to marihuana ANYWHERE is all that keeps them from being deflowered, and saves them for us white guys.

    Why do you all hate children and want white women deflowered?

  • Juice||

    I wish he would extend the graph past 2010 right after talking about the number of killings in 2012.

  • Clara Nelson||

    Well, i think that is the very reason why Obama pass the bill, they are very much happening in USA, why would anyone choose to kill?

    http://www.omoscowonder.com

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