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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:04 PM

Top 10 myths about mass shootings

James Alan Fox is a professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States. He is the Lipman Family Professor of Criminal Justice and former dean at Northeastern University.

Fox often gives lectures and expert testimony, including appearances before the United States Congress, and White House meetings with the President. He served on President Bill Clinton’s advisory committee on school shootings, and a Department of Education Expert Panel on Safe, Disciplined and Drug-Free Schools.

Fox has served as a visiting fellow with the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice, and an NBC News Analyst.

Even before the death toll in last Friday’s school massacre in Newtown, Conn., was determined, politicians, pundits, and professors of varied disciplines were all over the news, pushing their proposals for change. Some talked about the role of guns, others about mental-health services, and still more about the need for better security in schools and other public places. Whatever their agenda and the passion behind it, those advocates made certain explicit or implied assumptions about patterns in mass murder and the profile of the assailants. Unfortunately, those assumptions do not always align with the facts.

Myth: Mass shootings are on the rise.
Reality: Over the past three decades, there has been an average of 20 mass shootings a year in the United States, each with at least four victims killed by gunfire. Occasionally, and mostly by sheer coincidence, several episodes have been clustered closely in time. Over all, however, there has not been an upward trajectory. To the contrary, the real growth has been in the style and pervasiveness of news-media coverage, thanks in large part to technological advances in reporting.

Myth: Enhanced background checks will keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of these madmen.
Reality: Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization. They would not be disqualified from purchasing their weapons legally. Certainly, people cannot be denied their Second Amendment rights just because they look strange or act in an odd manner. Besides, mass killers could always find an alternative way of securing the needed weaponry, even if they had to steal from family members or friends.

Myth: Restoring the federal ban on assault weapons will prevent these horrible crimes.
Reality: The overwhelming majority of mass murderers use firearms that would not be restricted by an assault-weapons ban. In fact, semiautomatic handguns are far more prevalent in mass shootings. Of course, limiting the size of ammunition clips would at least force a gunman to pause to reload or switch weapons.


http://boston.com/community/blogs/crime_punishment/2012/12/top_10_myths_about_mass_shooti.html?camp=obinsite

Some things to consider from an expert on mass shootings.

56 replies, 3367 views

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Arrow 56 replies Author Time Post
Reply Top 10 myths about mass shootings (Original post)
hack89 Dec 2012 OP
GeorgeGist Dec 2012 #1
hack89 Dec 2012 #6
99Forever Dec 2012 #2
hack89 Dec 2012 #8
discntnt_irny_srcsm Dec 2012 #42
99Forever Dec 2012 #49
discntnt_irny_srcsm Dec 2012 #51
jpak Dec 2012 #9
snooper2 Dec 2012 #13
99Forever Dec 2012 #16
snooper2 Dec 2012 #17
99Forever Dec 2012 #18
a geek named Bob Dec 2012 #31
discntnt_irny_srcsm Dec 2012 #43
99Forever Dec 2012 #47
a geek named Bob Dec 2012 #55
DrDan Dec 2012 #30
Turbineguy Dec 2012 #3
Savannahmann Dec 2012 #4
hack89 Dec 2012 #11
WhaTHellsgoingonhere Dec 2012 #5
Tommy_Carcetti Dec 2012 #7
hack89 Dec 2012 #10
Tommy_Carcetti Dec 2012 #12
hack89 Dec 2012 #21
The Magistrate Dec 2012 #15
hack89 Dec 2012 #23
The Magistrate Dec 2012 #27
hack89 Dec 2012 #28
The Magistrate Dec 2012 #29
jillan Dec 2012 #14
JanMichael Dec 2012 #19
hack89 Dec 2012 #26
allrevvedup Dec 2012 #20
hack89 Dec 2012 #25
allrevvedup Dec 2012 #32
hack89 Dec 2012 #35
allrevvedup Dec 2012 #36
hack89 Dec 2012 #37
allrevvedup Dec 2012 #38
hack89 Dec 2012 #40
snooper2 Dec 2012 #48
treestar Dec 2012 #22
hack89 Dec 2012 #24
rivegauche Dec 2012 #33
hack89 Dec 2012 #34
Chorophyll Dec 2012 #39
hack89 Dec 2012 #41
Comrade_McKenzie Dec 2012 #44
hack89 Dec 2012 #45
jmg257 Dec 2012 #46
renie408 Dec 2012 #50
upaloopa Dec 2012 #52
hack89 Dec 2012 #53
upaloopa Dec 2012 #54
hack89 Dec 2012 #56

Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:10 PM

1. It's not getting better.

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Response to GeorgeGist (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:12 PM

6. But understanding and accepting reality is important if you want to pass laws to make it better.

We don't need feel good laws just "to do something" - they need to be based on a ration examination of the facts to ensure they actually work. Don't you agree?

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:10 PM

2. More gungeon NRA propaganda.

Last edited Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:33 PM - Edit history (1)

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:13 PM

8. Do you understand who wrote that op-ed?

he is not linked to the NRA in any manner.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:58 PM

42. I need a new smiley icon

It has an ostrich in its usual pose.

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Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #42)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:01 PM

49. Derp

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #49)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:11 PM

51. Oh my...

...I'm offended.

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:14 PM

9. Yup

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:19 PM

13. Sticking NRA NRA NRA NRA NRA NRA on something is a pretty piss poor way to try to deflect the point

There are simple FACTS in the OP...

is it too hard to actually discuss those or even attempt to prove them wrong, or is it just laziness?

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:22 PM

16. "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Who the fuck do you think you are fooling?

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:27 PM

17. more deflection

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:33 PM

18. Yep, that's what 'guns are my god' types, do best. n/t

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:00 PM

31. Ad Hominem attack much?

 

you are trying to deflect from the FACTS found in that article...

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Response to a geek named Bob (Reply #31)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:59 PM

43. ^^ that ^^

yup

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Response to a geek named Bob (Reply #31)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:32 PM

47. Get ignored much?

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #47)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:08 PM

55. nice response...

 

Is there a reason you engage in ad hominem attacks?

...surely you can do better...

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:00 PM

30. +1

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:11 PM

3. Like many statistics,

it's just a number unless it happens to be you or you are horrified by it.

How do you get to be an expert? Experience.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:12 PM

4. Oh I get it.

Since they don't happen as often as we think we shouldn't worry about them. All is well, ignore the corpses of the children as you exit the building. One dolt who tried to blow up a plane has everyone taking their shoes off at the Airport. A dozen mass shootings since Columbine, and we won't even consider new laws to prevent it.

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Response to Savannahmann (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:16 PM

11. I take it you didn't read his conclusion? Not surprised. nt

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:12 PM

5. one of the best recommendations I've heard...

A gun expert was saying laws restricting the rate of fire are what's needed.

I agree.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:13 PM

7. So basically, shit happens and there's nothing we can do, huh?

Too bad, so sad.

I'll be happy to pass the word on to the 27 families.....

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:14 PM

10. There is a lot that can be done. It just needs to be grounded in reality. nt

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Response to hack89 (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:18 PM

12. Does that include the notion that some CCLer will inevitably save the day if only given the chance?

Just curious.

Even the article that you posted said that proposition was dubious.

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:44 PM

21. No - CCW is for personal protection nt

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Response to hack89 (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:19 PM

15. So What Do You Support Doing, Sir?

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:47 PM

23. I would accept magazine limits

I would fund states so that they can properly support the databases used for background checks - there is a lot of missing or inaccurate data.

I would support making background checks mandatory for all private sales.

I would support enhanced mental health care for all.

I would refocus the justice system away from the war on drugs and onto violent crime.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #23)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:55 PM

27. We Would Seem To Have Some Over-Lap Then, Sir

I recall some months back we went several rounds on an NRA checklist, and you hewed pretty close to their screed. I welcome the apparent change. Throw in limits on amounts purchased ( which relates of course to criminal trafficking rather than mass shootings ) and we would probably have a hard time finding things to scrap about on this subject, at least scrap with any heat....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #27)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:57 PM

28. This is not the time for heat, just for solutions. nt

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Response to hack89 (Reply #28)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:58 PM

29. I Agree, Sir

I hope more on both sides can take that attitude.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:19 PM

14. Just like having speed limits & rules of the road do not stop all accidents, gun legislation won't

stop all nuts from going on a murder spree -

B U T

if legislation stops just one Columbine or Newtown or Tucson or VA Tech or a shooting in the southside of Chicago~

isn't it worth it????


I mean, isn't this the REAL pro-life position?

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:39 PM

19. And THAT is why ALL guns need to be regulated

every.single.one.

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Response to JanMichael (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:55 PM

26. Every gun can be regulated

but that does not mean it will stop mass killings.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:41 PM

20. Fox's "reality" appears to be inaccurate.

 

Fox's first "myth":

Myth: Mass shootings are on the rise.

Reality: Over the past three decades, there has been an average of 20 mass shootings a year in the United States, each with at least four victims killed by gunfire. Occasionally, and mostly by sheer coincidence, several episodes have been clustered closely in time. Over all, however, there has not been an upward trajectory. To the contrary, the real growth has been in the style and pervasiveness of news-media coverage, thanks in large part to technological advances in reporting.


Maybe he's using some tricky definition, but according to an extensive investigation of mass murders -- defined as 4+ deaths not including shooter's in a public place -- led by Mother Jones editor Mark Follman and recently updated, there have been 61 such shootings in the last 30 years, and 2012 has been the deadliest so far:

Follman, in an NPR interview last Friday:

(We) looked to see how often this type of event had happened in the last 30 years and we found 61 cases. This is the seventh this year alone and this year is the worst in the 30 years. The worst year yet in terms of both the frequency of the events and the number of casualties.

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/14/167287385/u-s-has-had-seven-mass-killings-this-year


The updated MJ article is here:

"A Guide to Mass Shootings in America" - http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map#13560246258941&action=collapse_widget&id=9254390

And a very chilling guide it is.

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Response to allrevvedup (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:53 PM

25. There are other criminologists that agree with Fox

Mass shootings make up only a small fraction of the country's overall gun crime. Between 2007 and 2011 -- which saw an almost unprecedented drop in violent crime -- the U.S. experienced an average of 13,700 homicides, with guns responsible for 67% of the killing, according to the FBI's crime reports.

But experts say it's the spectacular nature of the attacks that give public mass shootings such impact beyond the affected communities, with intense media coverage lending extra piquance: five or six or even seven attacks in one year may not be statistically significant, but they're emotionally resonant.

"What we’ve seen after Aurora and what we’ve seen after Newtown is kind of the typical response that we’ve seen over the last 50 years following high-profile mass public shootings," said Grant Duwe, a criminologist for the Minnesota Department of Corrections who's written a book on the history of mass murders since 1900.

The country saw an increase in mass public killings during the 1980s and '90s, but Duwe's tallies showed that mass shootings had decreased since then. The 26 public shooting massacres he tallied between 2000 and 2009 were significantly down from the 43 cases he counted in the 1990s. (Duwe counts shootings in public places that result in four or more dead, but he excludes robberies and gang violence.)



http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-mass-shootings-common-20121218,0,6511082.story

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Response to hack89 (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:04 PM

32. They agree with his spin, but the fact remains that mass shootings

 

are on the rise, and 2012 has been the worst in 30 years. Basically this article spins it by saying it doesn't really matter:

But experts say it's the spectacular nature of the attacks that give public mass shootings such impact beyond the affected communities, with intense media coverage lending extra piquance: five or six or even seven attacks in one year may not be statistically significant, but they're emotionally resonant.


Nice debate strategy, but no cigar.

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Response to allrevvedup (Reply #32)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:19 PM

35. Why would expert academics need to spin anything?

you simply disagree with them and this is your way to dismiss differing opinions.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #35)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:21 PM

36. Isn't that what you're asking us to do?

 

I'm pointing out that this academic's spin is based on horseshit.

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Response to allrevvedup (Reply #36)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:26 PM

37. This professor is an internationally recognized expert

that is why President Clinton used his expertise.

You, on the otherhand, are another angry internet poster. I know who I would believe.

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Response to hack89 (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:43 PM

38. His facts are wrong, sorry. Case closed. n/t

 

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Response to allrevvedup (Reply #38)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:50 PM

40. Only closed thing I see is your mind. nt

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Response to allrevvedup (Reply #38)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:44 PM

48. well, allrevved said case closed so I guess it's case closed!

LOL

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:46 PM

22. So he seems to be saying there's not a damn thing we can do

We need laws like those in other countries. Nobody has a gun without a license and only for hunting or self defense for people far from police protection.

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Response to treestar (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:49 PM

24. I think he is simply laying out reality

so what ever decisions are made are grounded in reality. So they can be effective.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:14 PM

33. Nope. Sorry, I'm not buying it.

There is no damned way on earth anyone is going to convince me that more guns, or at least preserving the status quo, is the answer to less gun violence. "I have a flea infestation at my house. Oh I know, the answer to that is bring in more fleas!" It's simply stupid and insane. SO WHAT if HE SAYS none of the alleged mass-murderers had a record, or had a know mental illness? They still had access to a gun and they committed mass murder. You can't legislate against insanity but you can take the fucking guns out of their hands. I'm so tired of this justification nonsense. Other countries live without everyone stockpiling weapons, so can we.

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Response to rivegauche (Reply #33)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:17 PM

34. Who is arguing that the answer is more guns?

the OP is simply laying some facts that gain be used to guide the conversation over the next month or so.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:45 PM

39. Unrec for NRA propaganda.

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Response to Chorophyll (Reply #39)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:51 PM

41. So you can link Dr Fox to the NRA?

or are you simply looking for a way to ignore inconvenient facts?

Can you actually refute them?

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:03 PM

44. Too long, didn't read. Gun control is coming, whether you think it works in your lil' bubble or not.

 

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Response to Comrade_McKenzie (Reply #44)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:05 PM

45. It is not an anti-gun control op-ed

it simply debunks myths and lays out facts so that informed decisions can be made.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:08 PM

46. So this expert is pointing out that something much more drastic has to be done.

Couldn't agree more.

"...mass killers could always find an alternative way of securing the needed weaponry, even if they had to steal from family members or friends."

Unless of course their family and friends didn't have those weapons either.


He is right - to accomplish something meaningful, we would need stop the BS, and enact much more stringent restrictions & bans then the weak AWB...the only way to severly reduce unwanted access to guns is to substantially reduce the number of guns. And of course there is need to limit those types that are available at the same time.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:06 PM

50. So, why is it do we think that other countries don't have this problem

if it isn't the guns?

Cause, you know, I am thinking that American society isn't 32 times more corrupting than Australian society, and yet we have 32 times more gun deaths.

And if guns are so GREAT why does the NRA lobby like crazy to have the ATF restricted from releasing gun data on specific guns used in crimes and to keep the CDC from doing research into the causes of gun fatalities?

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:27 PM

52. This what pisses me off about gunners

I can support RKBA but I hate these fucking propaganda types of posts. Using words and any kind of stat you can make up to support your position sucks!
If I look at mass killing over some fucking period I pick I'll bet I can prove they are deminishing.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #52)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:33 PM

53. This guy is not a "gunner"

did you look at his credentials?

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Response to hack89 (Reply #53)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:07 PM

54. I am not talking about the writer of the "myths"

The intro is also a propaganda kind of thing to add credence to what follows.
Someone with a lot of time could make a similar statement proving the opposite.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #54)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:18 PM

56. Dr Fox wrote the intro and the myths

so explain to me how he is a gunner.

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