Mass shootings are a bad way to understand gun violence

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Mass shootings are a bad way to understand gun violence:

First, they’re rare, and the people doing the shooting are different. The majority of gun deaths in America aren’t even homicides, let alone caused by mass shootings. Two-thirds of the more than 33,000 gun deaths that take place in the U.S. every year are suicides.

And while people who commit suicide and people who commit mass shootings both tend to be white and male, suicide victims tend to be older. The median age of a mass shooter, according to one report, is 34, with very few over 50. Suicide, however, plagues the elderly as much as it does the middle-aged.

Second, the people killed in mass shootings are different from the majority of homicides. Most gun murder victims are men between the ages of 15 and 34. Sixty-six percent are black. Women — of any race and any age — are far less likely to be murdered by a gun. Unless that gun is part of a mass shooting. There, 50 percent of the people who die are women. And at least 54 percent of mass shootings involve domestic or family violence — with the perpetrator shooting a current or former partner or a relative.

The historical trends for different kinds of gun deaths don’t all follow the same course. While data suggests that the number of mass shootings similar to the Las Vegas event has gone up, particularly since 2000, homicide rates have fallen significantly from their 1980 peak and continued on a generally downward trajectory for most of the 21st century. Meanwhile, suicides are way up, with the biggest increases among women. The trends are different because the situations are different and the people are different. Maybe different solutions are warranted, as well.


  1. Slovenian Guest says:

    Good luck with that against feelz.

    In 2016 a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer, but Black Lives Matter keeps on moving!

    via Hard Data, Hollow Protests
    by the lovely Heather Mac Donald

  2. Sam J. says:

    Maybe we should pass a law demanding safety locks on Negros.

  3. Sam J. says:

    Las Vegas style massacre every month in Chicago. Not on the same day but what’s the difference?

Leave a Reply