About those "more mass shootings than days" narrative for 2015

The Left and their media allies are pushing a new narrative regarding mass shootings. The Washington Post and Boston Globe had massive headlines yesterday claiming there have been 355 mass shootings in 336 days this year, while Vox included it as part of their “fancy stats” on gun violence. It’s enough to make people squeamish about ever owning a gun, let alone hanging out with a gun owner. The problem is the definition of “mass shooting.” All three websites are using the data supplied by crowd-sourcing website shootingtracker.com, which has a really broad definition of what a “mass shooting” actually is (emphasis mine).

The old FBI definition of Mass Murder (not even the most recent one) is four or more people murdered in one event. It is only logical that a Mass Shooting is four or more people shot in one event.

Here at the Mass Shooting Tracker, we count the number of people shot rather than the number people killed because, “shooting” means “people shot”…

The only requirement is that four or more people are shot in a spree or setting, likely without a cooling off period. This may include the gunman himself (because they often suicide by cop or use a gun to kill themselves to escape punishment), or police shootings of civilians around the gunman. The reasoning behind the latter being that if the shooter is arrested, he will often be charged with injuring people the police actually shot, as that is a foreseeable result of a shooting spree.

These statistics are being manipulated to fit a narrative. Not everyone would consider a gunman to be a “victim” of a mass shooting because he/she are the ones actually pulling the trigger. The definition of “mass” is even up for debate. Dictionary.com defines “mass” as “pertaining to, involving, or affecting a large number of people,” but even that’s a little deceptive. Some people consider a large number of people to be eight, while others consider it to be over a dozen. The FBI’s own study on mass shootings from 2014 is just as broad (emphasis mine).

A total of 1,043 casualties occurred during the incidents included in this study (486 killed, 557 wounded). If a shooter died as a result of the incident, that individual was not included in the casualty totals. In addition, a small number of those identified as wounded were not injured by gunfire but rather suffered injuries incidental to the event, such as being hit by flying objects/shattered glass or falling while running. For the purposes of this study, the FBI did not seek to isolate the exact number of individuals that fell into this category, when research did not allow for that type of injury to be easily discerned.

The median number of individuals killed in each incident was 2, and the median number of individuals wounded in each incident was 2.

The FBI found that 64 incidents (40.0%) would have been categorized as falling within the new federal definition of “mass killing,” which is defined as “three or more killings in a single incident.”

The Congressional Research Service has a completely different definition of what they consider a mass shooting.

In order to delineate a workable understanding of public mass shooting for this report, CRS examined scholarly journal articles, monographs, and government reports.12 These sources discussed a variety of terms such as mass murder, mass shooting, mass killings, massacres, and multiple homicide. Definitions of these terms varied with regard to establishing the number of victims or fatalities involved, the weapons used, the motives of the perpetrator, and the timeframes within which the casualties or injuries occurred.

This report defines public mass shootings as incidents occurring in relatively public places, involving four or more deaths—not including the shooter(s)—and gunmen who select victims somewhat indiscriminately. The violence in these cases is not a means to an end such as robbery or terrorism.

It’s easy to sit here and point out how the Left’s “fancy stats” are total garbage. The fact is they’re still being used because of how emotional the mass shooting issue is. It’s horrific when the innocent are injured or killed. It tugs at the heartstrings and causes people to consider their own mortality or the mortality of their loved ones. When they hear headlines like, “more mass shootings than days,” it makes them recoil in terror, and consider the government as the only solution. The same goes for people when they see stories about poverty or the golden parachute some ousted corporate executive was able to grab. It’s easy to rush to judgment on a situation, and demand a solution which may or may not actually work. This is why the Right needs to message correctly and be extremely shrewd about it. It’s easy to throw cold, hard logic online or make some snarky comment on how “gun laws don’t stop anything.” But this isn’t exactly the wisest thing to do. It might be best to grab stories of how clerks or women used guns to ward off someone looking to cause them harm. It’s not always going to work, but it needs to be done to combat the “fancy stats” which aren’t worth the websites they’re posted on.

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