Have mass shootings become more common?
Slightly. The average number of mass shootings was a little bit higher in 2009–2013 than in either of the previous five-year periods, and the average number of casualties was more substantially higher. (*) The study attributes both increases essentially to one outlier year, reporting that they “were largely driven by a few incidents in 2012. If 2012 were excluded, the averages would actually have been lower than the preceding five-year period.”
James Alan Fox, an expert on mass murders who teaches criminology at Northeastern University, says the clearest pattern in the study’s data is simply “a great volatility in the numbers. There’s no solid trend.”
Do most of these shootings look like Columbine?
There’s a number of different definitions of “mass shooting” floating around out there, but the CRS report defines it as any gun crime where four or more people are murdered in a single incident. Most Americans process the phrase more narrowly than that: They think of random shootings in schools, at work, and in other public places. The CRS describes these as “mass public shootings,” and it distinguishes them from two other categories: “familicide mass shootings,” in which the murderers kill family members, usually in private spaces or in remote and secluded settings; and “other felony mass shootings,” which are committed in the course of another crime (such as a robbery) or common circumstance (such as an argument that gets out of hand). In theory, these categories can overlap, but the CRS researchers assigned each incident to just one category. (**)
Just as most shootings are not mass shootings, most mass shootings are not public shootings. There have been an average of 4.4 mass public shootings per year since 1999. The figure for familicides is 8.5 and the other-felony count is 8.3.
Have mass public shootings become more common?
Using Duwe’s data, the CRS found an increase in the number of mass public shootings since the 1970s: There was an average of 1.1 incidents per year in that decade, 2.7 per year in the ’80s, 4 in the ’90s, and 4.1 in the 2000s. The shootings also became a bit more deadly over the same time period, with ’70s shootings killing an average of 5.5 people per incident and ’00s shootings killing 6.4. (***)
Those are raw totals, without taking population growth into account. If you look at the number of victims per capita, the average has gone up a little from 1970 to today but the numbers are so small that the fluctuations are essentially statistical noise. “Basically, there is no rise,” says Fox, the Northeastern criminologist. “There are some years that are bad, some that are not so bad.”
Many politicians expressed concern over Kathryn Steinle’s death, which they generally represented as aberrational — a mistake, a breakdown in the system — but which some portrayed as anything but aberrational:
The system didn’t break down for Steinle. It functioned as it all too often does. As Senator Ted Cruz pointed out during a July 21 Judiciary Committee hearing on crimes by illegal immigrants, in 2014 alone, immigration authorities released into American communities 193 illegal immigrants with homicide convictions, 426 people with sexual-assault convictions and 16,000 with drunk-driving convictions. Altogether, 104,000 people who by law should have been deported were instead allowed to remain on American soil. The director of the agency in charge of the removals offered as a partial excuse that immigration courts faced a backlog of 500,000 cases.
Whatever the cause, there’s no doubt that removals of immigrants convicted of criminal acts have tumbled in Obama’s second term, after a sharp rise in his first term. Federal immigration authorities removed more than 216,000 such immigrants from the United States in fiscal year 2011, more than double the removals of fiscal 2007. But in fiscal 2014, only 178,000 were removed — a 17 percent drop from the 2011 peak.
Yet even as deportations drop, the flow of new illegal immigrants appears to be accelerating. Since illegal immigration is difficult to measure, many experts use the rate of apprehensions at the border as a rough proxy for the overall flow. After a recession-induced pause in 2008-2010, apprehensions of would-be border-crossers jumped 15 percent in fiscal 2013 over fiscal 2012 — and then spiked 16 percent further in fiscal 2014 over fiscal 2013.
In 2011, the Government Accountability Office delivered a major report on criminal activity by unauthorized immigrants. The GAO was able to locate the arrest and sentencing records of roughly half the immigrants in local jails and state and federal prisons, and then sampled them to estimate what they contained. Here’s what it found:
- An estimated 25,000 of these undocumented immigrants serving sentences for homicide
- A cumulative total of 2.89 million offenses committed by these undocumented immigrants between 2003 and 2009 (although half a million of these were for immigration-related offenses)
- Among those offenses: An estimated 42,000 robberies, 70,000 sex crimes, 81,000 auto thefts, 95,000 weapons offenses, and 213,000 assaults
Second, crime by the unauthorized, like the population of illegal immigrants itself, appears to be disproportionately concentrated in border states. A Texas Department of Public Safety report obtained by the PJMedia estimated that the illegal immigrants in Texas prisons had committed a total of 2,993 homicides in a state that typically suffers between 1100 and 1400 homicides per year. After years of welcome decline, crime rates are rising in immigration hubs including Houston, Milwaukee, Phoenix, and San Diego.
Third, statistics on contemporary immigrant crime likely contain a downward bias. When most studies report that immigrants commit fewer crimes than natives, many rely — as I did above — on incarceration rates. Prison populations are the most authoritative source of data on immigrant crime. It’s much easier to assess the immigration status of a person in custody, after all.
But because U.S. prison sentences are so long, prisons house many people whose criminal activities occurred years, or even decades, in the past. Many of the people in prison today were sent there at a time when the foreign-born population was smaller and crime rates were higher. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 20 percent of the U.S. prison population is foreign born. That does not imply that foreign-born persons are committing only 20 percent of crime right now. Yet that is how the statistic is often used.
Fourth, the native-born crime rate is an aggregate of every sub-population in the country, some of which have low crime rates, some much higher. Among those native-born groups with higher rates of crime: children of immigrants, who offend at rates substantially higher than their parents. Because the children of recent immigrants account for so much of U.S. population growth, higher immigration of groups with higher crime rates must drive crime levels higher than they otherwise would have been. That’s just arithmetic.
For the study, teachers rated 700 children on eight criteria, using a five-point scale assessing how each interacted socially with others.
For every one-point decrease in the child’s score, he or she had a 67 percent higher chance of having been arrested and an 82 percent higher chance of being in or on a waiting list for public housing at age 25.
Bruce Schneier shares some details from a bizarre high-tech kidnapping. Were it an episode of CSI: Cyber, he says, you would never believe it:
FBI court filings unsealed last week showed how Denise Huskins’ kidnappers used anonymous remailers, image sharing sites, Tor, and other people’s Wi-Fi to communicate with the police and the media, scrupulously scrubbing meta data from photos before sending. They tried to use computer spyware and a DropCam to monitor the aftermath of the abduction and had a Parrot radio-controlled drone standing by to pick up the ransom by remote control.
The FBI reached out to Tracfone, which was able to tell the agents that the phone was purchased from a Target store in Pleasant Hill on March 2 at 5:39 pm. Target provided the bureau with a surveillance-cam photo of the buyer: a white male with dark hair and medium build. AT&T turned over records showing the phone had been used within 650 feet of a cell site in South Lake Tahoe.
In the Old West there was a clear demarcation between Dodge and Indian Country, James LaFond says, but there’s no such line in modern Baltimore:
For instance, on the bus I am in Dodge, a policed coach with government recording devices abundant and in plain sight. And, in most cases, as soon as I get off the bus I am in Indian Country, surrounded by propertiless humanity of the lowest order.
The absence of ownership, of being tied to a house, a vehicle, a law suit-friendly portfolio, or a garnish-ready wage, all makes a person more belligerent than they would otherwise be. The liberal slave masters have made of their urban slaves a ready force of aggressors. For they have tasted of abundance beyond the dreams of most working class people for two weeks of every month, and have also been deprived of a regular income, with monthly income distributions insuring times of want through the very lack of disciplined self-sufficiency denied the slave on the dole. Since a person raised on the welfare plantation is put in a position that weakens impulse control, inculcates a sense of entitlement only rivaled by medieval nobility, and at the same time denies property, he is uniquely prone to violent action of both the predatory and social variety.
Therefore, unlike the savage Indian who had excellent impulse control, the savage urbanite is likely to engage in escalated anger-based combat due to perceived insults to his entitled status, making him a dueling or brawling risk on the order of a medieval knight. At the same time, his condition of moral want and social isolation make him a predatory threat due to his purposeful alienation at the hands of his duplicitous slave master. In one person the hoodrat represents the risk of being hunted by an aboriginal savage in his native habitat, and of running afoul of the belligerent medieval dimwit on the road to his drawbridge.
James LaFond offers his own colorful explanation for why yuppies are protesting the new Super Wal-Mart in the Baltimore suburbs:
[I]n light of the unwillingness of the Baltimore City government and police to lift a single finger to protect citizens from rampaging hoodrats and prowling gangbangers during our recent urban unpleasantness in Harm City, the suburban appetite to homestead in a hipster city enclave is suddenly on the wane just as the impetus to urban flight is on the rise among decent urban poor. Unfortunately these decent folks are the hosts for the social parasites that will ride them like ticks on a dear’s back out into Harford County. And the government has designed society so that the children of these decent fleeing urban folks will become that which they fled from!
First off, you must understand that this suburban blight drive is directed by the superrich who live in rural and urban enclaves. Suburbia is the slave quarters of the postmodern plantation, where most of the people that create wealth live. The liberal elite, and the criminal class that serve the superrich reside in the urban centers draining suburbia dry like a vampire coven hanging on the necks of a bovine herd.
You will notice In Baltimore, that the wealthy have enclaves and that vast stretches of vacant housing are left to ruin, to be snapped up later by developers, as the hoodrat hordes are lured out into suburbia along expanded bus lines, to virgin areas serviced by mega retailers which pay wages so low that the only people who will work there are the poor who want to get out of the urban drug war zone.
Of those 300 jobs provided by a super Wal-Mart one will be in the low six figures, and four will pay enough to permit that assistant manager to rent an apartment or go in together with a spouse in the purchase of a house. The other 295 employees will work at or below the poverty line under poor conditions with no benefits, and will require subsidized housing, home sharing, apartment crowding, food stamps, and, most ominously for you, public transportation which will permit youths to transport drugs and violence as low risk mules and insurgent pioneers into your area. As Wal-Mart gets the lion’s share of food stamp transfers [EBT cash and food] than this operation amounts to a 19th century Appalachian coal mine with its own company store, with over half of the employees spending most — or even more than — their salary at the Wal-Mart register, literally a captive market and labor force in one.
These employees will bring their families to the area. There will also be an influx of welfare families fleeing the city ahead of the drug gangs and predatory police along the bus lines set up at tax payer expense so that you can save 25 cents on a dozen eggs, which requires some schlep to stock them in that upright cooler on a wage that cannot support an automobile. These families — by law — may not have a father. Therefore, 15 years from that Wal-Mart going up, you will have a full generation of violent, rootless, fatherless youth grown up with no sense of community, responsibility, or decency, who will instead be infused with a sense of entitlement, righteous oppression, and slave class envy for you, the guy buying the house down the street as its value plummets.
Dull minds and criminal acts go together, Finnish researchers have confirmed:
Finland is the sort of place where they do things thoroughly, things like testing the intelligence of a total population cohort of Finnish males born in 1987 and following up the results. Gold dust.
Joseph A. Schwartz, Jukka Savolainen, Mikko Aaltonen, Marko Merikukka, Reija Paananen, Mika Gisslerd. Intelligence and criminal behavior in a total birth cohort: An examination of functional form, dimensions of intelligence, and the nature of offending. Intelligence, Vol 51, July–August 2015, Pages 109–118.
They found that lower levels of intelligence are associated with greater levels of offending, that the IQ-offending association is mostly linear, with some curvilinear aspects at highest and lowest levels, and that the pattern is consistent across multiple measures of intelligence and offending. In some ways this is exactly as predicted and already observed, since the available literature shows that individuals with lower IQ are more likely to engage in criminal behaviour. Criminal offending was measured with nine different indicators from official records and intelligence was measured using three subscales (verbal, mathematical, and spatial reasoning) as well as a composite measure. The results show consistent evidence of mostly linear patterns, with some indication of curvilinear associations at the very lowest and the very highest ranges of intellectual ability.
However, the advantage of these data is that they deal with an entire birth cohort, so there are no distorting effects caused by the loss of a few miscreants who might account for lots of crimes. The population is restricted to males n = 21,513 because only males in Finland do military service and sit the intelligence tests. Offending is judged from real documentary data, not from fallible self report, even more fallible when painful memories are involved. Lastly, they have verbal, mathematic and spatial IQ measures, so can investigate whether verbal intelligence has a particular effect, as some have argued.
Note that violent crime is an order of magnitude higher in the bottom 20% of the population by ability than the top 20% of population by ability.
Black students in Seattle cause four times more trouble than their white classmates, based on their suspension rates — and that’s simply inconceivable:
More than 800 black students were sent home last year, many missing weeks of instruction for comparatively low-level offenses like “disruptive conduct” or “disobedience” or “rule-breaking.” At some schools such as Seattle’s Washington Middle — where, despite comparable populations, 94 African-American kids were disciplined and just seven whites — the data is so lopsided that confrontation with uncomfortable questions becomes difficult to avoid.
As striking as the racial split is the age at which it begins: kindergarten.
Statewide, more than 8,716 students younger than sixth grade were suspended or expelled in 2012-13, and patterns in Seattle suggest that a disproportionate number were children of color. (The state has not released breakdowns by race in students that young.)
The reason given for these sanctions speaks to the enormous role that individual judgment plays in disciplining kids. While there were only 119 suspensions for clear-cut violations like alcohol, tobacco or drugs, schools logged a whopping 7,479 incidents for “other behavior.”
The meaning of this data confounds African-American parents, who wonder whether white teachers are targeting their children and has made educators increasingly uncomfortable.
Steve Sailer dubs this the racist nice white lady menace.
To see the real truth of the matter, let us take a look at the Department of Justice document Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2005. (Go to the linked document, and under “Victims and Offenders” download the pdf file for 2005.)
In Table 42, entitled “Personal crimes of violence, 2005, percent distribution of single-offender victimizations, based on race of victims, by type of crime and perceived race of offender,” we learn that there were 111,590 white victims and 36,620 black victims of rape or sexual assault in 2005.
(The number of rapes is not distinguished from those of sexual assaults; it is maddening that sexual assault, an ill-defined category that covers various types of criminal acts ranging from penetration to inappropriate touching, is conflated with the more specific crime of rape.)
In the 111,590 cases in which the victim of rape or sexual assault was white, 44.5 percent of the offenders were white, and 33.6 percent of the offenders were black. In the 36,620 cases in which the victim of rape or sexual assault was black, 100 percent of the offenders were black, and 0.0 percent of the offenders were white. The table explains that 0.0 percent means that there were under 10 incidents nationally.
The Charleston mass-murderer’s alleged manifesto is short — and not especially angry, although it does have its moments:
I was not raised in a racist home or environment. Living in the South, almost every White person has a small amount of racial awareness, simply beause of the numbers of negroes in this part of the country. But it is a superficial awareness. Growing up, in school, the White and black kids would make racial jokes toward each other, but all they were were jokes. Me and White friends would sometimes would watch things that would make us think that “blacks were the real racists” and other elementary thoughts like this, but there was no real understanding behind it.
The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?
From this point I researched deeper and found out what was happening in Europe. I saw that the same things were happening in England and France, and in all the other Western European countries. Again I found myself in disbelief. As an American we are taught to accept living in the melting pot, and black and other minorities have just as much right to be here as we do, since we are all immigrants. But Europe is the homeland of White people, and in many ways the situation is even worse there.
There’s more, if you’re curious.
From The Guardian, an article about a public official telling the truth:
“We have a significant population gap among African American males because so many of them have spent time in jail and, as such, we can’t hire them,” Bratton said in an interview with the Guardian.
So far, Steve Sailer says, William Bratton has remained strikingly invulnerable to social justice hate mobs over the decades:
This is probably because he has presided over crime declines as top cop in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. Those are cities where important citizens live. They are not podunk burghs like Ferguson. So leftist Bill de Blasio hired him to run the NYPD again.
Bratton is both a slick politician and rather more of a straightshooter than we’re used to these days.
Sailer cites this blunt, wise 2006 interview:
Q. [Frum] So you know a little bit about our city? You know about our problems? A 27-per-cent increase in the number of homicides from 1995 to today. A Boxing Day slaying where a 15-year-old innocent bystander was gunned down during a gang shootout on a major shopping street. Can I tell you — it would be nice if you were our police chief.
A. [Bratton] Well, thank you. Tell me, the gang violence that you are experiencing, what is the racial or ethnic background of the gangs?
Q. That’s a refreshingly blunt question. Some say it may be as high as 80 per cent Jamaican. But no one knows for sure, because people here don’t like to talk about that.
A. You need to talk about it. It’s all part of the issue. If it’s Jamaican gangs that are committing the crimes, well then, go after the Jamaican gangs. And don’t be afraid to go after them because they’re black. That’s the last thing you need to be concerned with.
Q. Oh boy, I can see the complaints coming in already. You have to understand the climate here. The major local daily in Toronto, the Toronto Star, says it doesn’t believe in “gratuitously” labelling people by ethnic origin.
A. Well, that really helps identify who they are, doesn’t it? The next step will be to refuse to allow the police to identify people by their race or ethnic origin. That type of societal consciousness really goes to extremes.
James LaFond describes a horrific crime in his Baltimore neighborhood that reminds him of Indian Country in the Old West:
Is that not precisely the kind of attack a community can expect from bands of parentless young would-be warriors set loose among the working communities of the city as the dependents of subsidized two-legged bitch-egg hatcheries with $90 per month housing vouchers?
Does the tragic end of that girl’s promising life not read like a lurid 19th Century ‘blood and thunder’ dime novel tale of an Indian raid?
When Liver-eating Johnson [before he became the Liver-eater] went hunting for the winter and left his pregnant wife, The Swan, alone, and she was butchered by young untried Crow warriors operating on what was essentially their home range, they were acting no differently than these black savages, who were also seeking to literally carve their own tribal identity from the body of an innocent person.
On a strategic level, just as young Crow scouts — who were unable and unwilling to take on the Liver-eater when he went on the vengeance trail — watched his movement, and even spied on him when he returned to her bones to leave the scalps of his Crow victims, so do the savages in your home range spy on you. The unemployed, government subsidized, innocent, unarmed black teens in your community know when the dangerous man comes and goes and who he leaves in his lair. They must be convinced that you are not only too dangerous to attack, but that you are too dangerous for them to attack those you care about when you are absent. I guarantee that your worshipped government that you pay tithe and homage to is even now taking money that it has stolen from you, and is using it to plant violent criminal teens in your community. You might wish to act accordingly.
Young men — even innocent unarmed black male youth — are inherently, biologically, tribal, and will seek their own violent tribal expression in the absence of a true tribal order complete with manhood rituals. Is it any surprise, that, in a womanly society run along female lines, where manhood is essentially outlawed, that boys will appeal to the god Death in their pathetic attempts to become men, and that these appeals — coming as they are from boys — will naturally come at the expense of the weak and innocent?
Postmodern Urban America is reaping the sour harvest that it’s greedy mothers and absent fathers has sown, and Death is grinning.
We are seeing a Ferguson effect in Baltimore, Alex Tabarrok notes — or, rather, a Freddie Gray effect:
Arrests in Baltimore have fallen by nearly 40% since Freddie Gray’s funeral and the start of the riots on April 27. In the approximately 3 months before the Gray funeral police made an average of 87.7 arrests per day, since that time they have made only 54.6 arrests a day on average (up to May 30, most recent data).
Not all arrests are good arrests, of course, but the strain is cutting policing across the board and the criminals are responding to incentives. Fewer police mean more crime. As arrests have fallen, homicides, shootings, robberies and auto thefts have all spiked upwards. Homicides, for example, have more than doubled from .53 a day on average before the unrest to 1.35 a day after (up to June 6, most recent data)–this is an unprecedented increase–and the highest homicide rate Baltimore has ever seen.
With luck the crime wave will subside quickly but the longer-term fear is that the increase in crime could push arrest and clearance rates down so far that the increase in crime becomes self-fulfilling. The higher crime rate itself generates the lower punishment that supports the higher crime rate (see my theory paper). In the presence of multiple equilibria it’s possible that a temporary shift could push Baltimore into a permanently higher high-crime equilibrium.
Texas lawmakers have passed a bill allowing those already licensed to carry a concealed handgun to carry one on campus — and the New York Times does not approve:
At the University of Texas at Austin, interviews with more than a dozen students Tuesday found little support for campus carry. The university was the scene of the nation’s first campus mass shooting on Aug. 1, 1966, when a sniper, Charles Whitman, fired at people from the school’s clock tower in a day of violence that left 16 people dead. The campus-carry law will take effect there Aug. 1, 2016, exactly 50 years later.
I suppose the Times writers consider themselves clever, only they don’t realize that the Whitman shooting was brought to an end with extensive help from civilian shooters:
What struck me as most fascinating were the accounts from several sources of how the police dealt with the lack of covering fire that a SWAT team would provide today. They just went to citizens in the area and asked them to bring their rifles and shoot at the tower, and they all went to their pickups, got their deer rifles and did what they could to help. Their covering fire kept Whitman down and limited him to shooting through a drain opening, pretty much stopping the killing and giving officers the opportunity to get into the building. The officers also deputized one of the citizens to go with them into the tower to give them a bit more firepower, although he didn’t end up facing Whitman.
What a different world. First, it was taken for granted that a bunch of people in the area would be carrying powerful rifles openly in their trucks in the middle of the state’s capitol city. What’s more, the police felt no hesitation in asking those citizens to help out in a dangerous situation and the citizens were eager to do their part. None of this was seen as out of the ordinary or unexpected at the time. Everyone had guns openly in public and they were willing to take responsibility and use them when asked. Perhaps most remarkably, the police saw armed citizens as an asset rather than as a threat.