Today is the anniversary of Sandy Hook, so it makes sense that some would use it as an opportunity to push their agenda. One of those was CNN White House corresponded Jim Acosta.
Acosta took to Twitter this morning to present the sobering truth about mass shootings over the post-Sandy Hook era.
Since Sandy Hook there have been at least 1,552 mass shootings, with at least 1,767 people killed and 6,227 wounded. https://t.co/RZeFDHhYmR
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) December 14, 2017
It sounds pretty terrible, and it is. However, it’s also a heavily skewed number that bears no relationship to reality.
For some time now, the media has run with the mass shooting count presented by an activist group. In and of itself, this isn’t necessarily a problem. Activists often look at data and collate it so they can use it to make a broader point.
But these activists have done something very different. They’ve redefined the term.
However, the Gun Violence Archive counts any shooting attack where four or more people are injured as a mass shooting. This is a looser standard than the FBI standard for mass murder which they describe as “a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders.”
Only 8 of the 154 incidents the Gun Violence Archive meet the FBI standard for mass murder.
The results were similar in 2015 when the Washington Free Beacon analyzed media coverage of mass shootings in the wake of the San Bernardino terror attack. At the time, national media outlets were circulating similar mass shooting numbers created by a group of gun control activists on Reddit. The subreddit, sarcastically named Guns Are Cool, similarly defined a mass shooting as any shooting attack where four or more people were injured but they also included the attacker’s injuries in their count leading to an even larger number.
So, does this matter?
Yes, it really does.
Confusion over what constitutes a mass shooting is likely to continue as the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have no official definition.
Though the FBI does not have an official definition for mass shootings, it has studied “active shooter incidents” that involve “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” In one report, they found that between 2000 and 2013 there were 160 “active shooter incidents.” The FBI excluded gang-related shootings from their count, but included incidents where nobody was shot or killed.
Additionally, many of the 2017 shootings that would qualify as mass murder do not closely resemble shootings like Sandy Hook, Aurora, or San Bernardino. Of the eight incidents that qualify as mass murder, five involved the killings of relatives or significant others and another was gang related.
The remaining two include the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Airport and the murder of five Fiamma Inc. employees in Orlando, Florida.
In short, the activists are taking any event with X number of people shot and taking that as a mass shooting. This is regardless of any other factor, such as whether it was drug-related, gang-related, or something else entirely.
This is an effort to intentionally skew the numbers to make them more horrifying.
The numbers Acosta is spreading imply that there’s a mass shooting nearly daily, a horrible notion that makes one wonder why we don’t hear more about it…while routinely ignoring the biased source with their own made-up definition intentionally created to increase the numbers into horrifying directions. They want it to scare people into enacting gun control legislation.
What’s more, Acosta has been a reporter long enough to know this happens and to at least research his source. Either he did that, thus opting to use the deceiving number, or he didn’t, proving he doesn’t check the veracity of his sources.
Which is it, Jim?