The statistical analyst, Nate Silver, has some thoughts on the phenomena of mass shootings in the United States, especially important in the wake of yesterday’s attack by what appear to be radicalized Muslims in San Bernardino. Among his observations:
The long-term trend is clear: There have been more total mass shooting incidents and deaths in the 11 years starting with 2005 than there were in the previous 23 years combined.
The shooting in San Bernardino on Wednesday was also labeled as an “active shooter” incident. The FBI defines an active-shooter incident as an individual or individuals “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” The agency counted 160 such incidents from 2000 to 2013 in which a total of 557 people were wounded and 486 killed. And the FBI found that these shootings were on the rise: There were 115 active-shooter incidents in the last seven years of the data set, up from 45 in the first seven years.
I wonder what changed after the turn of the millennium? Did something happen? Did one part of the world declare war on America, or something? If you look at the table compiled by the leftist Mother Jones magazine, you’ll notice the near-complete absence of shootings described as “religious” before 2001. You’ll also note that the murderous rampage by the “Soldier of Allah” at Fort Hood is listed under “military” violence, as is the attack on the military recruiting station earlier this year by Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez.
And now we have Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik in San Bernardino. To be filed under “violence, workplace,” no doubt.
So the whole discussion of “mass shootings,” which used to signify such domestic atrocities as Columbine and, latterly, Sandy Hook, now must distinguish between criminal acts and acts of war. The Left, led by President Obama, is doing its best to blur the distinction, and make this about “gun control,” but it’s one that’s crucial to understanding what is going on in real time, right before our eyes. We shouldn’t let them get away it. Because:
However mass shootings are defined, the deaths they cause represent a small proportion of all homicides committed with firearms in the U.S., which have declined from a decade ago, as has the overall murder rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Remove the Muslim attacks on American soil and you have a very different picture of “mass shootings” emerging.