Mass shootings tend to make the news and make our lives far more interesting than we’d prefer. Obviously, that’s nothing to those who lost people the loved in those horrific incidents, but that’s what most of us are going to deal with in the aftermath.
And there have felt like there were far more of them lately than there were before, but that always leaves the question of whether that’s the reality or the perception.
After all, the media drives the narrative. If they push stories in the right way, it makes something seem like a bigger issue than it really is.
There have been more mass shootings with four or more deaths in 2023 than in any year since at least 2006, according to The Washington Post’s gun violence database.
There have been 38 such mass shootings this year, up from last year’s high of 36. The record extends back to at least 2006, the oldest information in the Post’s database.
A pair of shootings in Dallas and Vancouver, Wash., on Sunday broke the record and pushed the number of deaths in such shootings to 197 — excluding the gunmen.
Mass shootings with at least four deaths have been on the rise in recent years, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 21 in 2020, 31 in 2021 and 36 in 2022.
The country is on track to fall short of the record for the number of mass shootings, which are incidents that injure at least four people. There have been 630 mass shootings in the U.S. so far in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Last year’s total was 645, and 2021’s mark of 690 is the record.
I find it very weird that they first use a count of mass shootings where four or more people are killed excluding the gunman, but then flip right back to the Gun Violence Archive nonsense.
Regardless, the fact remains that the Post states there have been that many mass shootings this year.
But is that true?
Mother Jones, which is anything but a pro-gun organization, also has a mass shooting database. They tend to define the term a bit more narrowly, excluding things like gang fights and multiple-victim shootings that stem from some other kind of criminal activity.
In other words, they count actual mass shootings as the vast majority of the population thinks of them.
Their database shows 11 such shootings in 2023, not 36. Further, they show 12 in 2022, suggesting that unless something happens in the next few weeks, mass shootings are actually down.
Now, that’s still more than the six in 2021 or the two in 2020, but it’s still down from that particular peak. This may continue a trend we sincerely hope to see continue.
So why inflate the number?
Well, a lot of people, including many at the Washington Post, include all such shootings because they think it’s a gun issue, so there’s no fundamental difference between a gang shootout and a random nutbar walking into a restaurant and bowling alley and opening fire.
Yet the fact that homicides spiked in 2020 and mass shootings were relatively low should make it pretty clear that these are different things entirely.
The truth is that conflating the numbers doesn’t do a whole lot to benefit anyone except the gun control jihadists who can use these bigger, scarier numbers to terrify people into supporting their preferred policies and infringing on our gun rights.
That doesn’t mean we have to play their game.