It seems like we can’t go a day without the media hyping up yet another story about yet another mass shooting. The media loves to make evil people famous. And when they start sharing numbers and stats about these shootings, a distracted populace believes them without question.
On November 8, 2018 – the day after the heartbreaking Thousand Oaks shooting – Denver Channel 7, USA Today, Yahoo, and several other mainstream news outlets released articles claiming that there have been 307 mass shootings in the United States during 2018. Rally for our Rights decided to look into this and what we found surprised even us. The American public is being grossly lied to – and they should care.
In order to determine how many mass shootings there are, we need to know the definition of a mass shooting. Finding that definition seems easy enough, right? Think again. There are actually many definitions of “mass shooting” and most seem to be arbitrarily made up to fit the narrative an organization or publication wishes to push.
Mother Jones defines mass shooting as: “Indiscriminate rampages in public places resulting in four or more victims killed by the attacker, excluding the death of the attacker.”
The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as: “Four or more shot or killed, not including the shooter. They also do not remove any subcategory of shooting – meaning they don’t exclude, set apart, caveat, or differentiate victims based upon the circumstances in which they were shot – including crime, gang activity, and domestic/familial incidents.”
The “experts” at Reddit have decided to make up their own definition, therefore Reddit defines a mass shooting as: “Four plus people injured or killed by firearm, including the gunman.”
Finally we come to the Congressional Research Service’s definition: “The incident takes place in a public area involving four or more deaths—not including the gunman, the shooter selects victims indiscriminately, the violence in these incidents are not a means to an end.” It should be noted that CRS breaks up shootings involving four or more individuals as public, familial, and felony (robbery, gang activity, etc). This is because the motives behind each vary greatly.
To make matters even more confusing, the FBI has separate definitions for “mass murder” and “active shooter”.
There are several inconsistencies between each of these definitions. For such a severe issue that allegedly only occurs in the United States, why do we not have a universal definition for this type of event? And why is it the government can agree on the definition, but the gun grabbers won’t use it?
For the sake of this investigation, we used the definition put forth by the Congressional Research Service. The CRS’s website explains that it “works exclusively for the United States congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and members of both members of the house and senate, regardless of party affiliation.” The website further explains that the CRS is a “shared staff to congressional committees and members of congress. CRS experts assist at every stage of the legislative process.” To put it simply, congress uses the CRS’s research to develop policy and create laws.
Now that we’re “armed” with the facts we need, lets dissect the statistics being pushed by the media.
The stats used in the news sources cited above stating there have been 307 mass shootings thus far in 2018 are from the Gun Violence Archive. Okay, let’s look a little deeper into the GVA. The mission statement on their website states it is a “non-profit corporation formed in 2013 to provide free online public access to accurate information about gun related violence in the United States.”
We dug into the website’s “mass shooting” report for 2018. We filtered the list by lowest deaths to highest. Immediately 11 out of the 13 pages were disqualified, as there were between 0 and 3 deaths per incident. That means right away, 287 incidents out of 307 do not qualify as a mass shooting by definition. In fact, 155 of these incidents resulted in zero deaths. This is unbelievable.
That leaves only two pages to dig through. The most common theme with the remaining list of incidents is that they were primarily either family or domestic violence related. Using the definition used by the CRS, that removes all but six shootings that actually count as a public mass shooting. Yes folks, there have only been SIX mass shootings this year in the United States – not 307.
Here are the six qualifying incidents:
- February 14, 2018, Broward County Florida (Parkland), 17 dead, 17 injured.
- April 22, 2018, Antioch, Tennessee, 4 dead, 3 injured.
- May 18, 2018, Santa Fe Texas, 10 dead, 13 injured.
- June 28, 2018 Annapolis, Maryland, 5 dead, two injured.
- October 27, 2018, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 11 dead, 7 injured.
- November 7, 2018, Thousand Oaks, California, 13 dead, 2 injured.
Six mass shootings compared to 307 is a substantial difference. The media easily plays off the ignorance of the public, taking advantage of the fact that there is not a universal definition of “mass shooting”, and blowing up an issue that, although very tragic, is only part of a larger picture of violent crime, most of which does not involve firearms.
WHY THIS MATTERS
This clearly shows that the media has a blatant disregard for the truth. They either have an ulterior motive in what they report, or they are too lazy to verify what is being given to them. It’s likely a bit of both, but the former is rather frightening. They are manipulating the general populace by creating hysteria through a skewed mass shooter narrative. This in turn will influence public opinion, and ultimately public policy.
Rally for our Rights founder, Lesley Hollywood, released a poll on her Facebook page in coordination with this article. Lesley was curious what the general public thought had happened when they heard the term “mass shooting.” Out of 508 votes, nearly half of the individuals who participated thought a mass shooting was like what happened in Parkland, FL or Thousands Oaks, CA – not the definition being used by the Gun Violence Archive or many of the others.
This manipulation of perception and public opinion will ultimately be used to conjure up reasons to demonize guns – portraying the objects as evil, with the means of using a lie to go after your ability and your right to keep your family safe and yourself safe. It also misses the mark terribly at addressing WHY these tragic incidents are happening, and how we can prevent them without infringing on the rights of the law abiding.
*This article has been updated to include the Annapolis, MD incident on June 28, 2018.