Mass Shootings Are Not What You Think They Are

 

It is difficult to write about mass shootings in the shadow of the heinous acts committed in Uvalde, Texas. My wife can barely listen to talk radio right now because she cannot stand hearing about what happened to those precious children trapped mercilessly in that classroom.

The acts of that evil lunatic, however, are being used to advance certain false narratives. So, it requires us to understand what school shootings really are. Indeed, we need to understand what mass shootings really are. Examining the truths about school shootings and mass shootings is not to belittle what happened in Uvalde or anyplace else, but we must know.

The fact is that a crazy, amped-up white guy entering a school blasting away is not the typical mass shooting, not even remotely. Education Week has kept track of school shootings since 2018 and has found a frightening 119 since then. They say there have been 27 so far this year, 34 in 2021, 10 in 2020, and 24 each in 2019 and 2018. You may be led to conclude that each of these were school invasions similar to Uvalde, Sandy Hook, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas. You would be wrong.

Most of these shootings seem to be based on heat-of-the-moment arguments and not deliberate targeting.

  • On February 4, a 16-year-old was struck in the leg in the parking lot after a basketball game at Wenonah High in Birmingham, Alabama.
  •  On January 2, two people were shot while sitting in the Auburn High School parking lot in Rockford, Illinois.
  • On December 14, at Menchville High School in Newport News, Virginia, a 17-year-old was shot and killed in the parking lot after a basketball game. The shooter was from a rival school.
  • On December 8, gunfire erupted in the parking lot of Ewing Marion Kauffman School in Kansas City, Missouri, during a basketball game. Two were injured.

Almost all school shootings are like this. Again, this is not to downplay these tragic shootings, but these shootings are not invasions by killers set on Columbine-type mass murder. These are not the deliberate targeting of schools. They are the result of what appear to be rivalries or differences of opinion that turn violent; things that no amount of school hardening or teacher arming would necessarily prevent.

The panic about mass school shootings seems similar to the daycare sex abuse scare from many years ago and the ongoing stranger-danger scare. There was never an epidemic of child abuse in daycare centers. And most child abductions are carried out by estranged family members and not by drive-by strangers. Yet you still see parents driving their kids to the end of the block and waiting with them to catch the bus.

In the same way, mass shootings are not the story of public schools, even now. Most shootings in or around schools are arguments that turn violent. Though I would never send my kids to government schools, it’s not over fear of mass shootings.

Back to the question of mass shootings, according to Statista, “Between 1982 and June 2022, 68 out of the 129 mass shootings in the United States were carried out by white shooters. By comparison, the perpetrator was African American in 21 mass shootings, and Latino in 11. When calculated as percentages, this amounts to 53 percent, 16 percent, and 8.5 percent respectively.”

This is wrong in so many ways.

This vastly undercounts the number of mass shootings. If you define mass shooting as any that claims four victims, public reporting shows there were 637 mass shootings in 2021 alone. What’s more, 74 percent of them were carried out by blacks. Only 12 percent were carried out by whites. Latinos were accused of 12 percent and Asians only 2 percent. The numbers may be different since the overwhelming number of shooters go unidentified. Of the 637 mass shootings in 2021, only 227 perpetrators are known. I suspect the demographic breakdown would be similar.

The typical mass shooting does not comport with the dominant narrative. He is not a white guy invading a school or business, killing as many people as he can, and then killing himself. The perpetrator in most mass shootings aims wildly, mostly wounds rather than kills, then runs away.

According to mass-shootings.info, which relies exclusively on newspaper and television reporting, 20 percent of mass shootings in 2021 took place on a street or road, 19 percent at parties, 17 percent in parking lots, 15 percent at houses, 11 percent unspecified, 10 percent at bars or nightclubs, 5 percent at parks/playgrounds/beaches, and 3 percent at memorial vigils. Schools are not mentioned because, according to Education Week, the victim count is usually quite low and mass shootings, like Uvalde, are quite rare.

Among the many problems with undercounting and getting the race wrong is they ignore the fact that most victims of mass shootings are black, not white. Even the New York Times recognized this in a 2016 story called “A Drumbeat of Multiple Shootings, but America Isn’t Listening.” These are the shootings that take place practically every single day in America. The streets of Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, really any big city, are the scenes of bloody carnage that the Left does not want us talking about.

When the Left is driving a narrative, they almost always have us looking the wrong way. In this case, they want us looking away from the inner cities and toward the deliberate targeting of schools that are, in comparison, quite rare. The danger is that public policy made in the glare of tragedy and lies is almost always wrong.

Previously published in Crisis Magazine.

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There are 9 comments.

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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Thank you for these enlightening statistics. It confirms what I suspected to be the case.

    I do want to expand on your discussion here:

    Austin Ruse: Among the many problems with undercounting and getting the race wrong is they ignore the fact that most victims of mass shootings are black, not white. Even the New York Times recognized this in a 2016 story called “A Drumbeat of Multiple Shootings, but America Isn’t Listening.” These are the shootings that take place practically every single day in America. The streets of Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, really any big city, are the scenes of bloody carnage that the Left does not want us talking about.

    Black inner city communities are frustrated, and they keep trying to frame these issues of violence as racially oriented. It’s human nature to try to blame someone else for our seemingly intractable problems. And it creates a story with a bad guy that people enjoy listening to. Meanwhile, the left sees these communities only as lucrative voting constituencies that the politicians can nurture by simply listening to the aggrieved. So the problems of our large cities never get solved.

    The one thing I know for sure is that race is not the problem in these violent neighborhoods. I know that because I watched Boston be transformed within a decade by a brilliant police commissioner, Paul F. Evans, who simply raised his own expectations for how good life could actually be in these troubled neighborhoods:

    During his tenure as Police Commissioner, Evans built coalitions with other community organizations, academics, businesses, law-enforcement agencies to develop programs, one example being a program that provided summer jobs for at-risk city youth. While Evans was Commissioner, Boston saw crime rates drop in most categories, including a dramatic drop in gang-related violence and homicides. This period of peace was known as the “Boston Miracle.” In 2002 the city experienced a 31-year low in violent crime.

    Evans accomplished what everyone around him was saying couldn’t be done. His success was the result of his attitude. He did not view the poor neighborhoods as hopeless. He worked to improve them. For example, his afterschool program was really impressive. He raised money from the Boston business community and churches saying, “Almost all of the crimes we see are being committed by kids.”

    There’s so much that can and should be done in our big cities. For starters, people need to spread out. We need more and better housing, and we can get that if we can convince the environmentalists to back off from their onerous “open-space” politics.

    We have allowed the left to frame the issue of violence as a black-white issue. We need to take that off the discussion table. Instead, it’s an urban government problem. Paul Evans proved that our big-city problems are about municipal services and management, not race.

    • #1
  2. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Austin Ruse: When the Left is driving a narrative, they almost always have us looking the wrong way. In this case, they want us looking away from the inner cities and toward the deliberate targeting of schools that are, in comparison, quite rare.

    I believe it.  Who runs these cities?  Democrats who’ve enacted strict gun control laws . . .

    • #2
  3. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    You’re making a category error.

    There are two types of mass shooting:  By far the most common are the ones where the gunfire is a result of a fight or a gang dispute or whatever and the casualties are either specifically targeted or just accidentally caught in the crossfire.  

    The second type is the mass shootings where someone sets out to deliberately kill as many random people as possible.  

     

    It’s the difference between someone accidentally getting hit by a car while crossing the street, and someone driving their car up on t\he sidewalk and mowing down pedestrians.

     

     

     

    • #3
  4. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    The statistics don’t interest me as much as the social pathogens leading up to mass shootings, and to their source. It’s about time the Right started pushing back against the leftist bullies who deflect from their responsibility in all this to some obscure, undetectable “systemic racism,” or even “climate change” bogeyman (see Irish prime minister on Nigerian mass killings of Catholics). 

    It’s the same problem we have with our pope. He looks around at the sorry state of the world and he blames traditional, faithful — dare I say, conservative Catholics. People who advocate one-man, one-woman, permanent, monogamous marriage with an emphasis on family. People who try, with the grace conferred in the sacraments, to lead virtuous, self-sacrificial lives. 

    No. The Left is the source of our dysfunction. The Left is murderous from womb to Uvalde to “assisted suicide” and more. Broken homes, drugged up kids (both prescribed and illicit drugs), pornographic, perverted sexuality everywhere — even in the school library (drag queen story hour). . .  The Left is demonic.

    Where are the good Christian men who will stand up to leftists? I read recently that when faced with demons, make the sign of the cross and turn your love to Jesus. If that’s all that’s needed to turn back the tide of evil, we better get busy, ’cause it looks like evil is winning at the moment.

    • #4
  5. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    If you have an agenda, you require a crises.

    • #5
  6. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Not included in these statistics:  Mass killings by driving into people.  

    All of these events have root causes, but that’s not even the point.  It’s the ones that fit the narrative that get seized upon, and you get political responses through legislation that will literally do nothing to address the issue, because they’ve defined the problem as a gun, not the person.  We already have laws on the books.  These events happen despite them.

    They don’t outlaw fists, or knives, but thousands of people are murdered annually with those.  Where’s Adam Schiff when you really need him?  Where’s the investigation?  When are we outlawing hammers?

    https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8.xls

     

    • #6
  7. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    We have to keep putting forward these numbers and analysis of the what’s going on.   The far left is winning the PR. While most folks find the process boring and don’t watch, it still wins because it’s all that’s out there on mainstream media.  We have one shot, the next election and I have no sense that even most Republican know just how terminal the whole process is.  Democrats don’t know what they’re doing nor what the result will be.  Even those who know what they’re doing don’t.    Few people have lived in many other countries and even fewer have studied them so don’t fully grasp how unique and fragile the US system is nor how dependent on us the rest of the world’s competitive economies are.   We all need to understand that if we lose the next election, which will contain massive fraud, it’s over, not just for a few years, but forever.  Our only choice will be to leave before totalitarians complete their consolidation.   We can survive with chaos not with consolidation of the top.

    • #7
  8. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Gazpacho Grande' (View Comment):

    Not included in these statistics: Mass killings by driving into people.

    All of these events have root causes, but that’s not even the point. It’s the ones that fit the narrative that get seized upon, and you get political responses through legislation that will literally do nothing to address the issue, because they’ve defined the problem as a gun, not the person. We already have laws on the books. These events happen despite them.

    They don’t outlaw fists, or knives, but thousands of people are murdered annually with those. Where’s Adam Schiff when you really need him? Where’s the investigation? When are we outlawing hammers?

    https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2019/crime-in-the-u.s.-2019/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8.xls

     

    I guarantee you if a perp killed a classroom full of kids and teachers with a knife or baseball bat, the left would still call for more gun control . . .

    • #8
  9. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Fine article. Very insightful. Thank you. 

    • #9
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