Don Lemon of CNN said the “Biggest Terror Threat in This Country Is White Men.” Snopes agrees, but this agreement is all in how the threat is defined. Lemon cherry-picked his data for his narrative. Using the narrow definition of the FBI, it is true that mass shooters are predominately white males (this article is U.S. centric). However, on a per-capita basis and with a broader definition, in fact, the meme pictured in this article is true – it’s people of color?
Notwithstanding cherry-picked data to satisfy an agenda, let’s stick with the FBI’s definition for the purposes of this article. The FBI defined what they call “active shooter incidents” as those that result in four (in 2013 dropped to three) or more people (not including the attacker) being shot dead in public through actions not related to terrorism, gang activity, or the commission of other crimes (such as robbery). Hence, Snopes calls the meme shown by the featured photo of this article as – Mixture.
Axios, with their ever-present bias, proudly proclaimed their problem analysis of mass shooters as being the semi-automatic (AR15 like) rifle – hence the need for gun control. They cited a rather nice data complication from Mother Jones. News Forecasters took this data compilation of Mother Jones and did further analysis by adding more data to it, to understand better this issue. This includes the state’s political bias on where the shooting occurred (Blue or Red state as defined here), population size (defined here) and wealth dynamics (defined here – deviation from the state’s norm in terms of median income and housing values). Understanding the environment where a mass shooter comes from can help understand, prevent, or avoid this issue. Here is the News Forecaster data – click here.
Some believe that a full gun ban will never happen in the U.S. due to constitutional protections. So after taking this solution off the table, News Forecasters helps our readers on how to avoid being a victim of a mass shooting in the future. Here is our analysis of the 116 FBI (Mother Jones) defined mass shootings since 1982 (total dead 941 and 1431 injured):
- Most guns used in the mass shooting were purchased legally – 83 events. Evidently, current gun laws either don’t work or insufficient.
- Mass shooters are generally mentally unstable – 59 events … really, that’s a shocker. More analysis is needed here.
- Mass shooters are generally white males (111 events) – as defined by the FBI.
- A little less conclusive, but there are more mass shootings in small towns (63 events) vs. bigger cities (52 events). Not defined in our analysis, but many of these small towns would be in suburban locations near bigger cities. Our conclusion is that mass shootings happen in higher densely populated areas.
- Most mass shootings occur in Blue States – 73 events (572 killed). Adding in Purple states, this rises to – 85 events (689 killed). Are Red state mass shooters going over to Blue states to attack, or do Blue states make people mentally unstable? In general, mass shooters kill in their own area.
- Most mass shootings occur in wealthier areas – Rich areas 53 events (379 killed) vs. Poor areas 25 events (181 killed). The rest are defined as average wealth areas – 33 events (324 killed). It should be noted, that since most mass shooters are white men, and the median income of white men are higher – this data point would be consistent.
The exact data is hard to come by, but it should be noted that about 8,000 to 12,000 people die every year due to gun-related homicides. The focus on a mere 941 people killed in mass shooting since 1984 out of the total (around 350,000 total) is irrational. If you are worried about being murdered by a gun, one should look at the vast majority of other shootings.
A simple view of the News Forecasters’ analysis to stay safe from “these FBI defined” mass shootings would be: Stay away from white men, Blue states, and wealthier areas. Banning Democrats (Blue States) may be more effective than banning AR15s from stopping mass shootings. Is News Forecasters also cherry-picking data? We will let you decide this, but the point here is that one needs to be careful using data to draw conclusions.
One understands the emotions behind gun control – News Forcaster is not making an opinion here. Cherry-picking data to satisfy an agenda seems to be the state of play in our society – good policy is not likely to come – it will just make it worse.
A video presentation of this subject: