Mass stabbings don’t get as much media attention as mass shootings. Likewise for mass burnings, drownings or hit-and-runs. Since guns are the weapon in 73% of mass attacks, understanding mass attacks of all types might be key to preventing mass shootings. The federal government has studied this. Take-aways Non-gun mass attackers are not different than gun mass attackers. Changes in behavior precede stressors, the latter triggering attacks. The mental health community is letting at-risk people fail. Mass public attack stats The National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC), oddly a function of the Secret Service, cataloged five years of mass public attacks, which they define as when three or more people (not including perpetrators) were harmed in public or semi-public places. Like the Violence Project’s work on mass public shootings, NTAC looked deeply into the perpetrators’ lives, motives, modus operandi and more. It is important research for two reasons: motives of mass …Continue reading →
I once joked that San Francisco was “spiritually horny.” It is true, being the birthplace of the Church of Satan, home of Jim Jones, and containing the largest concentration of upper-middle-class white Buddhists on the planet. And a lot of Catholics. Between the Spanish missions and a flood of Irish, you often can tell how many miles you have driven in California by how many Catholic churches you have passed. It also explains California’s low “gun death” rate. Takeaways Religious affiliation changes suicide statistics Places with higher percentages of Catholic and non-Christian congregants have fewer suicides. Since guns are a favored American means of suicide, this ripples into lower gun suicide rates and thus lower “gun death” rates. The Culture Clues Culture is the major determinant variable for violence, including violence upon oneself. In our book “Guns and Control”, we made the following cultural comparison: Last time I checked, the …Continue reading →
“We don’t live in more violent times. We live in more televised times.” – Marilyn Manson He is right and wrong, and one influences another. And such influences affect what happens in schools. A really long-term study has some clues. Take-aways Television bent the curve on the frequency of mass school shootings around 1966. Average death rates in school shootings has doubled since 1966. High school males are the top problem spot. 175 years of “data” A recent (2017) academic paper sought to dig into school shootings going all the way back to 1840. Audacious, but we have to accept that mining data before the advent of modern national media is a bit risky. A school shooting might have only made county news in 1899, but it’s national news today. Before wee dive in, we’ll note that the definition used in this paper was broad. Specifically, “An event is included …Continue reading →
“California has the toughest gun safety laws in the nation.” —Gavin Newsom Problem is, it has made no difference. Take-aways California’s suicide rate is low due to demographics. California’s gun homicide rate is slightly below average and tied with states with nearly no gun laws. Gun laws and gun homicide rates do not correlate at all, denuding claims about “toughest gun safety laws.” The suicide slide
“Do it for the children,” my California friend used to say in a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation. Her point was that any time a politician mentioned children, they were trying to sneak something past you. She was right. The meme “guns are the leading cause of death for children” is popular but wrong, and it should be uttered in a thick Austrian accent. Define “child” A key problem with the English language is that one word can have many definitions. Add political opportunism, and there can be hundreds. Common dictionaries define “child” as “a person between birth and puberty.” This is why we tend to speak of “children” and “teenagers” and “adults” as distinctly different groups. And anyone who has raised a child from birth to beyond age 14 will attest that their darling little angels turn into disgusting little devils once hormones take command of their brains and bodies.
When it comes to children and guns, both the New York Times and California Governor Gavin Newsom seem to lack both honesty and basic math skills. The former created a misleading meme using bad definitions and incorrect analysis. The latter, being a politician of the craven variety, aped bad data without even a cursory fact check. The Equine Effluvium Conflates different age groups Omits many rows of data about child and teen deaths that are higher than gun deaths Portrays teen age street gang members as “children” Ignores age-related issues or the underlying causes of deaths The Data is Raw The Times perpetrated intellectual fraud by using a subset of the causes of death common to children and to teens (two different groups) and amalgamating them into one entirely inaccurate meme. The fallacious point they want you to believe is that guns are now the leading cause of death among …Continue reading →
You have very likely stood next to someone in line at the grocery store who was carrying a concealed handgun. Multiple times. Perhaps in the same day. A tally from the largest survey of gun ownership and usage produced some surprising data, including how people in may-issue states ignore a lack of permits. Takeaways 4% of all adults in America carry daily. About 6M, or nearly 120,000 in each state. 30% of all handgun owners carry once or more a month. In may-issue and shall-issue states, a sizable number of people carry without permits. Nine times as many people carry daily than there are on-duty police. Carry rate is lower in permitless states than shall-issue states. The Source We recently reported about the largest modern survey of gun ownership. From that, other researchers extracted data on public carry of firearms. Key is that there is not presently a larger, more …Continue reading →
Even sullied terms can be analyzed. We came across a quality study that looks at “mass [not-just-public] shootings” and paints a not-quite-alarming story. Main Take-aways As defined more broadly herein: Mass shootings are not steadily increasing and are decreasing as a function of population. Most mass shootings are in private residences and are “family related.” Assault weapons are a minority share of guns used. A third of assailants had mental health issues, higher than the general population but lower than mass public. Mass shootings can have a profound impact on an individual’s mental health, whether directly affected or not. The senseless violence and loss of life can cause individuals to feel anxious, depressed, or traumatized. For some, it may trigger feelings of grief, anger, and helplessness. In the aftermath of a mass shooting, it’s important to seek professional help if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Many detox locations …Continue reading →
We normally don’t post a blog entry for a single academic paper, but this one is important because it is the largest well-conducted survey concerning gun ownership and self-defense with guns (as well as other topics) to date. The survey size makes most of the data unassailable, and thus “gold standard.” Take-aways 54,000 people contacted, 16,708 gun owners within that group. Low-side concurrence with other surveys concerning defensive gun use (DGU). New insight into public carry and self-defense, both public and private. Scale data for assault weapons (AR-15s specifically) and magazine capacities more than 10 rounds. Why this paper matters Much of what we know about guns has some limitations:
The largest multilingual international database of mass public shootings (MPS) tells us that they are increasing globally, less rapidly in the United States, but the average number of deaths in American MPSs is rising faster than the world at large. Let us then look at some of the factors that may contribute to mass shootings and see if there are rising rates of underlying causes. Main Take-aways 41% of mass public shooters with mental health issues got their guns legally, and the rate is rising. MPSs are on the rise, but not steeply. Handguns are outpacing all other weapon types, including “assault weapons.” Higher capacity magazines are radically increasing in use. The rate of legally acquired guns is rising much faster than illegally obtained guns. Precautions and Notes Repeat after me… mass public shootings are statistically rare events, and as such, trends and isolating causes are of a fragile nature.