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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:04 PM

Top 10 myths about mass shootings [View all]

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.

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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
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The Magistrate Dec 2012 #15
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