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(68,644 posts)
5. Indeed. Here's another graphic covering those 35 years.
Sat Jan 4, 2014, 04:46 PM
Jan 2014

Journalistic integrity, when it comes to certain issues, is embarrassingly absent.

Mass Murder Shooting Is Not Increasing – Piers Morgan and Mother Jones Proven Wrong

Published On: Tue, Sep 17th, 2013
By Matt MacBradaigh

Mass murder shootings are not increasing. Disingenuous media outlets and personalities like Piers Morgan and Mother Jones falsely claim they are. Academic criminologists that study mass murder prove them wrong.

At least 13 people are dead and several others were wounded after a gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.. Police have identified the suspect and cleared a possible second one. And while the dead have barely been identified, already the anti-gun talking heads are calling for more gun control. The who’s-who is predictable. Piers Morgan is, once again, claiming that mass shootings are on the rise in the United States. On his twitter feed he cites Mother Jones calling it “incontrovertible proof” that this is so. The Mother Jones page, A Guide to Mass Shootings in America states that the shooting at the Washington Naval Yard is the 5th one in 2013. If accurate (and it’s probably not), then that makes 2013 one of the lowest years for mass shootings since at least 1976 – or 37 years

James Alan Fox, a widely respected criminologist from Northeastern University in Boston who researches mass shootings says that they are not increasing. Dr. Fox’s analysis of the Mother Jones‘ study indicates they left out mass murders which made it seem there was an increase after the Federal assault weapon ban expired (they’ve updated their story since). Some mass murders receive more media attention than others, however the number has been consistently about 20 annually since 1976. Dr Fox states: “What is abundantly clear from the full array of mass shootings, besides the lack of any trend upward or downward, is the largely random variability in the annual counts. There have been several points in time when journalists and others have speculated about a possible epidemic in response to a flurry of high-profile shootings. Yet these speculations have always proven to be incorrect when subsequent years reveal more moderate levels.”

Dr. Fox specifically rebuts Mother Jones findings saying: “So how does the Mother Jones report of a rise in mass shootings stand up when considering the full range of cases? Simply put, not very well.” He uses instead, the academically accepted definition of mass murder set by the FBI, which is defined as: “as a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders. These events typically involved a single location, where the killer murdered a number of victims in an ongoing incident.

Time Magazine printed a chart of all mass shootings, citing Dr. Fox’s research following the Aurora Colorado, movie theater shooting (see below). The number of mass shootings varies from a low of 7 incidents in 1985, to a high of 30 incidents in 2003 (incidentally, when the federal Assault Weapons Ban was still in effect). The number of dead from these mass murder incidents varies from a low of 29 dead in 1985, coinciding with the lowest shootings – to a high of 135 in 2003, again coinciding with the highest number of shootings. In 2012, it was less than 100.

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