The Washington Post just reported that there have been a staggering 355 mass shootings this year alone. That’s well over one mass shooting per day. So why haven’t we heard about even a fraction of these shootings?
The reason is simple: the media is manipulating us.
So far in 2015, there have been a lot of mass shootings – to be sure. But the precise number has yet to be arrived at in any meaningful sense. That’s because the grand total of 355 includes any incident involving a weapon – including BB guns – regardless of whether or not there were fatalities or even any serious injuries.
So what is the purpose of manipulating the figures like this? Fear.
The exact figure of how many mass shootings there have been this year depends entirely on who is calculating the statistics, and what they are regarding as a “mass shooting.”
Law enforcement agencies have traditionally evaluated mass shootings by very different criteria than what mainstream media outlets like the New York Times now using to tally the number of “mass shootings” annually.
The source of the stats is an unofficial, crowd-sourced compilation of news articles of shootings by members of the anti-gun Reddit sub-forum GunsAreCool which is also mirrored on the Mass Shooting Tracker website.
Ben Swann’s Truth In Media, notes that Mass Shooting Tracker website states:
The most obscene incidents of gun violence usually do not make the mainstream news at all. Why? Because their definition is incorrect. The mainstream news meaning of ‘Mass Shooting’ should more accurately be described as ‘Mass Murder.’ The old FBI definition of Mass Murder (not even the most recent one) is four or more people murdered in one event. It is only logical that a Mass Shooting is four or more people shot in one event. Here at the Mass Shooting Tracker, we count the number of people shot rather than the number people killed because, ‘shooting’ means ‘people shot.’
TIM notes that the “Mass Shooting Tracker’s definition of a mass shooting as any gun violence event in which 4 people including the shooter are injured would include gang shootouts, robberies and drug deals gone wrong, suicide-by-cop incidents in which bystanders were inadvertently injured by police, and other incidents that deviate drastically from the Columbine and Sandy Hook type events that most Americans think of when talking about a mass shooting.”
Mass Shooting Tracker even included so-called “mass shootings” like a “relatively harmless incident involving no serious injuries in which two boys aged 11 and 12 allegedly shot four people with BB guns.”
Is this what we want to consider a “mass shooting”?
“Using 2013, the most recent year for which federal data is available, the Congressional Research Service found 25 mass shooting incidents — far less than the 363 counted by Mass Shooting Tracker.”
The Congressional Research Service defines a mass shooting more narrowly as a gun violence incident in public in which 4 or more people are killed in a single event and excludes incidents in which the violence is a “means to an end such as robbery.”
PolitiFact’s Amy Sherman broke it down even further, saying that, “Mass Shooting Tracker showed 294 mass shootings [in 2015] as of Oct. 1. About 122 of those incidents — or about 42 percent — involved zero fatalities.”
So how many real mass shootings have their been this year? Far less than 355. USA Today’s analysis defines the term as “incidents in which 4 or more people are killed by a firearm in a single event.” That analysis “found that there have been 29 cases so far this year.”
But that’s not quite as scary as what the mainstream media was selling, so don’t expect to hear that on the evening news any time soon.
(Article by M. David and Jackson Marciana)
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