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The Myth That the US Leads the World in Mass Shootings   Leave a comment

It’s a slam dunk case except for one thing: it’s not true.
To understand the misleading narrative, we must look to the era of narrative-driven journalism and the politicization of society, both of which subjugate truth to ideology and politics.

 

If you asked me this morning which nation has the most mass shootings in the world, I would have said, with perhaps a flicker of hesitation, the United States.

This is a tad embarrassing to admit because I’m pretty familiar with shooting statistics, having written several articles on gun violence and the Second Amendment. Below is a basic overview of gun violence in America. While gun homicides have been steadily declining for decades in the US, mass shootings have indeed been trending upward.

This fact alone probably would not have led me to believe that the US leads the world in mass shootings, however. An assist goes to the US media and politicians.

“Let’s be clear,” President Obama said in 2015 after a shooting in North Carolina. “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

Sen. Harry Reid echoed this sentiment. “The United States is the only advanced country where this kind of mass violence occurs.”

Media headlines have left little doubt that the US leads the world in mass shootings. In fact, according to CNN, it isn’t even close.

The comments and data seem to conclusively say that the US leads the world in mass shootings and the violence is unique, a product of “America’s gun culture.”

It’s a slam dunk case except for one thing: it’s not true.

Statistics on global mass shooting incidents from 2009 to 2015 compiled by economist John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center show that the US trails many other advanced nations in mass shooting frequency and death rate.

As Investor’s Business Daily noted on these findings, “Yes, the U.S. rate is still high, and nothing to be proud of. But it’s not the highest in the developed world. Not by a long shot.”

If this is true, how did the narrative that the US leads the world in mass shootings become the conventional wisdom? The myth, it turns out, stems from University of Alabama associate professor Adam Lankford.

Lankford’s name pops up in a montage of media reports which cite his research as evidence that America leads the world in mass shootings. The violence, Lankford said, stems from the high rate of gun ownership in America.

“The difference between us and other countries, [which] explains why we have more of these attackers, was the firearm ownership rate,” Lankford said. “In other words: firearms per capita. We have almost double the firearm ownership rate of any other country.”

Lankford’s findings show that there were 90 mass public shooters in America since 1966, the most in the world, which had a total of 202. But Lott, using Lankford’s definition of a mass shooting—“four or more people killed”—found more than 3,000 such shootings, John Stossel recently reported.

Who is to say Lankford doesn’t have it right and Lott is wrong? There’s just one problem: Lankford isn’t talking.

When findings do not mesh, scholars, in pursuit of truth, generally compare notes, data, and methodology to find out how they reached their conclusions. After all, who is to say Lankford doesn’t have it right and Lott is wrong? There’s just one problem: Lankford isn’t talking.

Lankford refuses to explain his data to anyone—to Stossel, to Lott, to the Washington Post, and apparently anyone else who comes asking, including this writer. (I emailed Lankford inquiring about his research. He declined to discuss his methodology, but said he would be publishing more information about mass shooting data in the future.)

“That’s academic malpractice,” Lott tells Stossel.

Indeed it is. Yet, it doesn’t explain how one professor’s research was so rapidly disseminated that its erroneous claim quickly became the conventional wisdom in a country with 330 million people.

For that, we must look to the era of narrative-driven journalism and the politicization of society, both of which subjugate truth to ideology and politics. Media and politicians latched onto Lankford’s findings in droves because his findings were convenient, not because they were true.

This is an unsettling and ill omen for liberty. As Lawrence Reed has observed, the road to authoritarianism is paved with a “careless, cavalier, and subjective attitude toward truth.” Yet that is precisely what we see with increasing frequency in mass media. (Need I reference the Covington debacle and the Smollet hoax?)

More than a hundred years ago Mark Twain noted, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

Lankford’s erroneous research had free rein for two years and was disseminated to tens of millions of viewers and readers before the truth finally got its shoes on.

Twain’s quote remains true even in the age of the internet. Lankford’s erroneous research had free rein for two years and was disseminated to tens of millions of viewers and readers before the truth finally got its shoes on.

If you ask most Americans today which country leads the world in mass shootings, I suspect a vast majority would say the US. And there’s always a price for the erosion of truth.

Source: The Myth That the US Leads the World in Mass Shootings | Jon Miltimore

Posted December 27, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Gun control

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When Seconds Count Cops Are … Hours Away   Leave a comment

Alaska doesn’t get a lot of mass shootings. As probably the most armed state in the union, you’d think our easy access to guns would turn us all into homicidal maniacs with a desire to shoot up gun-free zones, but it doesn’t happen. Go figure!

We’ve had a couple of mass shootings. Two were back in the 1980s. Louis Hastings, a rabid environmentalist who was angry at miners in Alaska, shot up McCarthy in 1983. Michael Silka, a serial killer, shot up Manley Hot Springs in 1984. Both men were mentally ill. Both communities had plenty of guns already in the community and probably still have lots of guns (I know for sure that Manley does). In both instances, the town folk had to wait hours for the Alaska State Troopers to show up. In Manley, Silka had already fled upriver before the townsfolk even knew he’d killed six (including a 2-year-old boy and a pregnant woman), but in McCarthy people hunkered down in their homes with their guns and prayed they’d be able to get him before he got them. In both cases, the killers used hunting rifles with limited capacity. In Manley, the troopers went after Silva with M16s with 20-round clips and he still managed to kill one of them with a 30-06. That’s right. The standard hunting rifle of North America was far more effective at killing than the military-grade automatic weapon.

Here in the very armed state of Alaska, mass shootings are extremely rare. Why? Shouldn’t the guns be whispering in our deranged ears that we should shoot our nice neighbor Alice and her cute little dog Toto? How can we resist?

Because guns don’t talk to you unless you’re insane and owning guns — even owning a lot of guns — does not make you crazy! Guns do not shoot people. By themselves guns are incapable of shooting anyone.  It’s not the guns that massacre people in gun-free zones. It’s the people using the guns who do the killing.

I pray I am never in a situation where I need a gun to protect myself, but it happens and when it happens, I don’t want to be huddled on the floor of a movie theater praying a bad guy shoots the guy next to me and doesn’t shoot me instead.The cops have no obligation to protect us. Their job is to clean up the mess afterward and assist in the prosecution of the murderer. The more victims the better actually. There is nobody who is going to protect us except us.

In the 30 years since I took ownership of my mother’s 357, I have never wanted to shoot anyone, but I’ve known people who have. You can identify those people pretty easily. If you google the men I’ve profiled, you will find that they were mentally ill and most of the people around them knew it. Why didn’t someone do something? The system is broken. Fix the mental health system, and mass shooting will all but disappear. And, then we can concentrate on criminals … but that’s a different story.

via When Seconds Count Cops Are … Hours Away

Posted December 15, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense, Uncategorized

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Concealed Carry Works 3   Leave a comment

From September 24, 2017

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-tennessee-church-shooting-20170924-story.html

A gunman wearing a ski mask stormed into a Nashville, Tenn.-area church on Sunday, shooting seven people, including the pastor, before attacking a church usher who ultimately subdued him with a personal weapon, Nashville police said.

The shooting — which left a 39-year-old woman dead — occurred shortly before noon at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tenn., about 12 miles southeast of downtown Nashville. Police identified the shooter as Sudan-native Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, of Tennessee, who they said is a legal resident of the United States and apparently had attended worship services at the church in recent years. Police said Samson will be charged with murder and attempted murder.

Don Aaron, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, said Samson drove up to the church and shot and killed a woman who was standing near her vehicle in the parking lot. The shooter — who police said was armed with two handguns — then entered the church through a rear door, shooting and wounding six people inside.

At some point, the gunman also pistol-whipped a church usher, causing “significant injuries” to the man, Aaron said. The usher, 22-year-old Robert “Caleb” Engle, confronted the gunman, police said, and during a struggle, Samson was injured with a shot from his own gun. The usher then ran to his car and retrieved a handgun, police said.

Aaron said the usher ensured the gunman did not make any more movements until officers arrived on the scene. “It would appear he was not expecting to encounter a brave individual like the church usher,” Aaron said.

Police Chief Steve Anderson praised Engle for intervening: “We believe he is the hero today.”

The shooting comes a little more than two years after Dylann Roof, a white supremacist, shot and killed nine people inside an African-American church in Charleston, S.C. Roof is awaiting execution after being convicted in federal and state cases.

Authorities on Sunday did not release a motive for the Antioch attack. But in a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nashville said it had opened a federal civil rights investigation.

“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence,” said David Boling, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “As this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.”

Police identified the deceased victim as Melanie Smith, 39, of Smyrna, Tenn. The six surviving victims, all described as being between the ages of 60 and 83, are being treated at Nashville-area hospitals, as is the usher. The church’s pastor, Joey Spann, 60, and his wife, Peggy, 65, were among the injured.

Police said Samson was taken to a hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound to the chest. He was later released and was expected to appear before a judge late Sunday night.

Many parishioners remained inside the church for hours after the shooting, speaking to police and receiving counseling.

In an interview outside the church, Vickey Merritt said her husband had been inside during the shooting but escaped unharmed. “It was a good church,” said Merritt, 58. “It had recently started taking in homeless people over the weekends.”

Police said Samson moved to the U.S. from Sudan in 1996. Nashville has a vibrant Sudanese community, and the city’s churches frequently host and help care for refugees.

Aaron said the gunman left his vehicle idling after he pulled up to the church, and he was wearing a “neoprene mask, best described as a ski mask.” About 50 parishioners were inside the church at the time, police said.

Police said the mask concealed the shooter’s identity, but when police told parishioners who had been arrested, several gasped because they remembered him attending the church multiple times one or two years ago.

Doug Ramey, 45, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., said he met with Engle, the usher, at TriStar Skyline Medical Center, where he was being treated for injuries including a separated shoulder. Ramey said Engle told him he sprang into action after hearing gunshots inside and outside the church.

Engle told Ramey that he approached the shooter thinking he had his handgun on him, but he realized that he didn’t and instead engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle. After Samson was shot in the struggle, Engle’s father stood guard over him while Engle went to get his firearm from his vehicle. When he returned, Engle put his gun on Samson and held him down with his foot, Ramey said.

“Robert said the guy didn’t say a word,” Ramey said as he stood at the police barrier at the church on Sunday afternoon, waiting for Engle’s girlfriend, who remained with other parishioners as police continued to gather evidence. “He had a mask on the whole time.”

Shortly before the shooting, Samson appears to have left a series of cryptic messages on what appeared to be his Facebook page.

“Everything you’ve ever doubted or made to be believe as false, is real. & vice versa, B.,” said one message, apparently posted shortly before the attack.

“Become the creator instead of what’s created. Whatever you say, goes,” another read.

Samson’s other recent posts dealt with fairly routine matters, including photographs of what appeared to be his physical progression as a body builder and concerns over the hurricanes threatening the United States.

Aaron said authorities are working on a motive for the shooting but are not ready to release it publicly.

“There are certain things that have come to our attention that are under investigation, but that remains to be announced,” Aaron said.

A massive police presence remained on the scene at the Burnette Chapel on Sunday afternoon, with a police officer standing guard on Pin Hook Road a quarter mile from the church, turning away motorists.

The church is in Antioch, a working-class neighborhood and one of Nashville’s most diverse. Located in a rural area in the southeastern corner of Nashville’s combined city-county boundary, the church also serves La Vergne in neighboring Rutherford County, where auto industry factories are among the region’s largest employers.

On social media, the church has posted inclusive messages and photographs showing a congregation that reflects the diversity of the surrounding neighborhood, which is majority white, but also includes sizable black, Hispanic, and foreign-born populations.

In a statement, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said the shooting was a “terrible tragedy.”

“My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased as well as the wounded victims and their loved ones,” Barry said. “My administration, especially Metro Nashville police, will continue to work with community members to stop crime before it starts, encourage peaceful conflict resolution and promote nonviolence.”

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