Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Some good points on mass shootings, one of which is that they are rare

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From an excellent Radley Balko article:

  • Mass shootings are still extremely rare. That one-mass-shooting-per-day statistic you may have heard is ridiculous. (Note to my fellow journalists: Perhaps anonymous Reddit users aren’t the best source for this sort of data.) It misleadingly lumps gang shootings and drug turf war shootouts with incidents such as San Bernardino and Aurora. Mother Jones, which keeps a more reasonable (but still somewhat objectionable) database, puts the number of mass shootings this year at four, and at 72 since 1982. Yes, these incidents are still tragic and nightmarish when they happen. But to borrow from Hamilton Nolan, you’re probably more likely to die from the stress of worrying about mass shootings than in a mass shooting itself.
  • Mass shootings and murders committed by extremists are even rarer. A much-publicized study earlier this year by the New America Foundation claimed that, since 2001, twice as many people had been killed by right-wing extremists than by jihadis or those who otherwise claimed to be carrying out killings in the name of Islam. As I pointed out at the time, while some quibbled with that figure, the real lede from that study was just how rare extremist attacks are in the United States. New America found just 74 deaths at the hands of extremists since 2001. That’s a little over five per year — in a country of 320 million. It amounts to about .003 percent of homicides in the United States overall. You’re seven times more likely to die from a lightning strike — and 3,7oo times more likely to die from a fall — than to die at the hands of a political or religious extremist.
  • As for Islamic terrorism specifically, a recent study by a University of North Carolina sociologist found that between the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and 2014, there were 50 deaths on U.S. soil that could be attributed to Islamist extremists. That’s a little less than four per year. The figure is so low, in other words, that in a single afternoon, the two San Bernardino attackers killed 3.5 times the average number of Americans killed by Islamist terrorists each year.
  • That number of overall homicides is falling, too. The murder rate in the United States has dropped by more than half since 1991. Yes, murder is up in some cities, and a very few are seeing significant increases. But most cities are seeing increases only over last year, which in many cities saw record low murder rates. In those cities, 2015 will still show a historically low murder rate, it just won’t be as low as the record year of 2014. Overall, there’s just no evidence of an alleged nationwide crime wave. Incidentally, the rate of black-on-black murder, black-on-white murder, and white-on-black murder are also all in decline. So is the number of murders committed with guns, despite an overall increase in gun ownership over the same period.

Written by Leisureguy

10 December 2015 at 10:18 am

Posted in Guns

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