There are few things I hate more than getting up first thing in the morning and learning there’s been a mass shooting somewhere overnight.
It’s not because it creates work for me or even necessarily that it renews the gun debate. It’s the senseless loss of life that takes me back to a moment I wish I could forget.
So, having experienced that and having written about so many mass shootings over my years here, I’m a little touchy about the subject, which is why claims like this infuriate me.
The US has surpassed 100 mass shootings in 2023, a disturbing milestone that underscores the grave cost of inaction in Washington and state legislatures across the country.
America reached the grim number by the first week of March — record time, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, which, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
Last year, the US hit 100 mass shootings on March 19, per the GVA, almost two weeks after this year’s date. The previous year, 2021, saw a late March date as well, and from 2018 to 2020, there weren’t 100 mass shootings until May.
Except that’s not how people think of mass shootings. Not at all.
Gun Violence Archive–and CNN, by extension–have chosen a definition knowingly that includes all kinds of incidents that aren’t what people think of as mass shootings.
A gang drive-by shooting can injure at least four people, leaving the shooter unscathed. Is that anything at all like Uvalde or Las Vegas?
An argument breaking out at a party where a group comes back later and opens fire can leave four people injured other than the shooters, but is it akin to Colorado Springs or Columbine?
This definition, such as it is, does nothing except try to inflate the number of so-called mass shootings by using the broadest possible definition. It’s an attempt not at informing the people or keeping them abreast of the situation, but to drive up the numbers in an effort to terrify people into supporting gun control.
When we look at mass shootings this year, the actual number is far lower.
To muddy the waters even further, we can see how all this talk of 100+ mass shootings has muddied the waters to the point that actual mass shootings aren’t being picked up by the media. For example, this one in Mississippi that left six people dead.
We didn’t see that in our search for stories, but we did hear all about how there were tons of mass shootings where people just got hurt instead of killed.
Look, I’m not saying those other shootings should be ignored. Not at all.
However, the only reason to lump all of these things together is to advance an anti-gun narrative, because that’s the only thing these shootings have in common. The causes and solutions are going to be drastically different.
Lumping everything together doesn’t make things clearer for anyone.
Then again, it’s not supposed to.