Criminologist: No, Mass Shootings are not on the Rise

Following the shooting at an Oregon community college, Obama took to the podium to voice his disgust for gun laws and how these incidents seem all too routine, and how Americans have grown “numb” to mass shootings. Predictably, he blamed lax gun laws, as in his routine, and he said, as many on the left insist, that mass shootings are on the rise. And things like, “We’re the only developed country that has to deal with mass shootings.” Every other developed country has eradicated mass shootings by enforcing heavy controls on guns, such as national confiscation as in countries like the UK and Australia. They might have extremely high rates of violent crime, but at least most of their violent crimes and murders don’t involve guns. As to why a mass shooting which resulted in nine fatalities is worse than Chicago violence which results in far more fatalities, I have no idea:

As widely reported in the mainstream media, in a 15-hour period between Monday night and Tuesday morning a total of 14 people were shot in Chicago, including two young boys. Six of those people died.

Indeed, the stats show that in the last two weekends in Chicago, 98 people were shot and 13 people were killed. This is going on every single day.

Apparently, last month was Chicago’s deadliest month since 2002 with at least 60 murders. But Obama never seems to care about those shootings and killings. It’s like he doesn’t even consider them. They don’t count. Black gang violence isn’t newsworthy to him.

According to criminologist James Alan Fox, mass shootings aren’t on the rise. What is on the rise is media-fueled hysteria and hype:

Notwithstanding the sadness caused by each of these tragedies, nothing has really changed in term of risk. One can take virtually any period of months or years during the past few decades and find a series of shootings that seemed at the time to signal a new epidemic. The ‘80s were marked by a flurry of deadly postal shootings, which gave rise to the term “going postal.” The ‘90s witnessed a string of mass shootings in middle and high schools carried out by alienated adolescents with access to borrowed guns, prompting the venerable Dan Rather to declare an epidemic of school violence.

More recently, the “active shooter” has become the new boogeyman armed with a gun. Of course, there were shootings in public places long before this frightening catchphrase was created. Nowadays, any time someone shows up with a gun in a school, a church, a movie theater, a shopping mall or a restaurant, twitter becomes alive with messages of alarm.

I certainly don’t mean to minimize the suffering of the Oregon victims and their families, but the shooting spree is not a reflection of more deadly times. Consider the facts.

According to a careful analysis of data on mass shootings (using the widely accepted definition of at least four killed), the Congressional Research Service found that there are, on average, just over 20 incidents annually. More important, the increase in cases, if there was one at all, is negligible. Indeed, the only genuine increase is in hype and hysteria.

In order for the media to stay in business, they’ve got to keep inventing new fears. Can you imagine if they told the truth about things like mass shootings? People wouldn’t watch them as much. They’re ratings would go down. Their ad revenue would start to dry up. Networks would have to downsize.

They’ve got to make it seem like this is the worst it’s ever been. It’s like every four years, “this is the most important presidential election in history.” They’ve got to keep people hooked up to the tube. If people can be convinced that this really is the most important presidential election, people will stay tuned in.

If people can be convinced that gun-wielding maniacs are everywhere, and times are more dangerous today than they ever have been, people will stay tuned in out of fear. People will get the impression that mass shootings really are on the rise.

In reality, they’re not. Just the media’s hype and hysteria.