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Mass Shootings Arenít On the Rise
New York Magazine ^ | 6/11/2014 | Jesse Singal

Posted on 06/12/2014 12:20:24 PM PDT by nickcarraway

It's only natural, faced with atrocities like those that took place in Aurora or Sandy Hook or Isla Vista, to sink into a "What the hell is wrong with the world?" attitude. And based on the conversations that often follow these tragedies, it would be easy to think that life in the United States is as dangerous as ever, that the country is an increasingly violent, brutal place. Luckily, the statistics tell a different story.

James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University and frequent commentator on criminal justice issues, has kept a close eye on the numbers, tracking mass-shooting incidents with four or more fatalities between 1976 and 2012 — the most recent year for which FBI data are available. Data he provided Science of Us produced the following graph:

It's clear that there is no major upward trend. And slicing the data differently doesn't make a difference — Fox said that since homicides are on the downswing in general, the overall shape of the graph wouldn't change much if you changed the definition of a mass shooting to, say, three victims or more. There isn't even any upswing in the number of school shooting victims, at least based on the Department of Education's own official statistics (PDF).

Why, then, is there such a powerful feeling that things are getting worse? Media coverage plays a big role. It's almost hard to believe today, but there was a time in the not too distant past when people in New York might not even hear about a school shooting that happened across the country. Today, every incident immediately explodes onto the national stage and is then amplified a millionfold by social media. It's a visceral example of the availability heuristic — the easier it is for us to think of a certain type of event (whether a school shooting or a plane crash), the higher we rate its probability. But this is an illusion; just because it's easier than it ever has been to think of an example of a shooting doesn't mean these events are more likely than they were in the past.

All that said, the United States remains a very dangerous place by the standards of other developed countries (PDF), and little progress is being made on gun control, mental health, and other factors that contribute to the nation's higher-than-it-should-be homicide rate. But overall, things aren't getting worse by the year. To paraphrase Bill Clinton, trend lines are more important than headlines — or tweets or Facebook posts.

[Update: Owing to an editing error on my part, the graph we originally posted for this story was slightly off, and indicated higher numbers of incidents and victims than the data shows. The old, incorrect graph can still be viewed here, and an XLS sheet of Fox's data can be downloaded here.]


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: banglist

1 posted on 06/12/2014 12:20:24 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

It only appears that way because of the state controlled “media’s” overkill coverage as they try to keep Barry Soetoro’s “smidgens” out of the headlines and off of cable news.


2 posted on 06/12/2014 12:23:04 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Obama's smidgens are coming home to roost.)
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To: nickcarraway

bump.


3 posted on 06/12/2014 12:24:22 PM PDT by God luvs America (63.5 million pay no income tax and vote for DemoKrats...)
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To: nickcarraway

And if they are it’s because of gun-free zones.


4 posted on 06/12/2014 12:24:50 PM PDT by ViLaLuz (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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To: nickcarraway
Violence has risen to unprecedented levels during the obama/holder regime. Thugs have been given license — and, in fact — are encouraged by the regime to wantonly attack elderly whites, often veterans. Marauding gangs and individuals of the Trayon Martin type realize that they face no consequences for their evil as long as the obama/holder cabal reigns. Glenn Beck should have never backed down from his true words: hussein obama is a vile racist who has a seething hatred for white people.
5 posted on 06/12/2014 12:54:23 PM PDT by re_nortex (DP - that's what I like about Texas)
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To: nickcarraway

bkmk


6 posted on 06/12/2014 1:16:28 PM PDT by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: nickcarraway

7 posted on 06/12/2014 2:15:27 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Radicalized via the Internet)
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To: Uncle Miltie
Thanks so much for posting that.

That chart confirms what I recall during the days when President Reagan was in office and America was at its height, second only to the Calvin Coolidge era. Mass shootings virtually came to an end during his inspired leadership. And things are now out of hand, just as they've always been during the DemonRAT's reign of terror. The notable school shootings peak during the KKKlinton and obama/holder regimes. And I vividly remember that things were awfully bad when Klansman Karter and his incompetent buffoons grasped power for a few years in the 1970s.

And need it be said that all political assassinations and attempts of the past 150 years have been perpetrated by leftists. Every...single...one.

8 posted on 06/12/2014 2:30:21 PM PDT by re_nortex (DP - that's what I like about Texas)
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