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The Blaze Downplays Tragedy: “Shooting Rates Are Dropping”

Submitted by on December 18, 2012 – 11:48 amNo Comment

Glenn Beck‘s The Blaze blog cherry-picked quotes from a recent Associated Press article in an attempt to make anti-gun sentiments seem unreasonable. In the wake of the second deadliest shooting in US history, author Jonathon M. Seidl “highlights” that mass killings dropped in the first decade of the 2000′s. But Seidl’s incomplete picture is not only misleading, it is completely besides the point that US gun violence is still out of control and largely un-addressed.

The author focuses on a short part of the AP article that quotes academics studying mass shootings in the US:

“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. [...]

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.

Chances of being killed in a mass shooting, he says, are probably no greater than being struck by lightning.

Those data are interesting. And a look back at a timeline of mass shootings in the US shows that there are indeed unusual patterns, like a notable drop-off in 2009 and 2010. But here are some numbers Seidl ignored:

  • Thirteen mass shootings occurred so far in this decade (Jan 1, 2010-present). That puts us on pace to have 56 by 2020, making this decade even more prolific for shootings than the “peak” that criminologist Duwe cited in the 90′s.
  • Twenty-one mass shootings have occurred since the beginning of 2007.
  • Of the ten deadliest shootings in US history, four have taken place in the last five years.
  • While mass shootings certainly grab headlines, they are not the only gun violence in the country. The US had over 11,000 gun-related homicides in 2011, more than in other recent years; and the country shows rates of per capita gun violence far beyond any other industrialized nation.
Even if there is a general academic consensus that violent crime in the US is dropping from a peak in the 70′s and 80′s, gun violence in the US remains woefully strong. As long as common sense solutions are suppressed by gun advocates, no crime rates  are truly as low as they could be, and we are simply setting up the next tragedy to happen.



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