Mass shootings terrify people. We see the aftermath of something like Las Vegas or even a smaller-scale one like at Michigan State and people get worried.
The idea of being somewhere and suddenly someone decided to kill everyone they can is something we shouldn’t get comfortable with. It’s horrifying and it simply shouldn’t happen.
But a recent report claims that mass shootings are also super common.
Nearly ten mass shootings occurred across the United States over the weekend, resulting in dozens of casualties, data from a nonprofit tracking American gun violence showed.
There were nine mass shootings in the U.S. between Friday and Sunday, according to the records of the Gun Violence Archive (GVA).
The organization defines mass shootings as incidents where four or more people, not including the gunman, are shot or killed in a single incident.
A total of 13 people got killed in last weekend’s mass shootings, which occurred in the states of Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Another 42 people were left injured, according to the GVA.
Among the victims, 15 were children or teens, USA Today reported.
Wow. That’s…that’s awful.
Except, let’s do the math a bit. You’ve got nine “mass shootings” and 13 people killed. That’s not even two people killed per mass shooting.
While those shootings are, indeed, awful, they’re not what many people think of when you say “mass shooting.”
To put this number in perspective, I decided to look at Gun Violence Archive and look at their data a bit. You see, while they typically get cited for their mass shooting statistics–if you can call them that–they also track shootings in general.
I opted to look at the number of people killed in non-mass shootings. Based on the way they’re set up, I looked at the last 72 hours, which includes the weekend. I looked at the total number of firearm-related homicides in the United States during that time and specifically excluded anything that met the Gun Violence Archive’s definition of a mass shooting.
Why? Because I want people to understand that while the term “mass shooting” is thrown around to scare people, it’s not the issue they might think it is.
You see, during that 72 hours, there were 106 people killed (by my count and as of this writing) in non-mass shootings. Compare that to the 13 killed in these shootings and you start to see a glimpse of reality.
So why keep talking about these “mass shootings?”
Easy. Mass shootings are scary. We can look at these 106 other homicides and recognize that many of these are related to criminal activity or they’re isolated events.
But the term “mass shooting” is terrifying. It hits us at a visceral level.
As such, it’s useful if your goal is to push society toward embracing gun control. After all, there were nine mass shootings over the weekend! We simply have to do something immediately!
The focus is most likely there because those other 106 deaths aren’t as impactful as the terrifying buzzword of “mass shooting” and so those lives don’t really matter all that much. They can’t use those to advance gun control because those deaths are still lower than they were in the 1990s; before we started liberalizing gun laws at the state level all across the nation.
Those aren’t mass shootings. They’re a twisted definition designed to manipulate. Nothing else.