Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mother Jones' Interactive Map of Mass Shootings

We used the following criteria to identify cases of mass murder:
  • The killings were carried out by a lone shooter. (Except in the case of the Columbine massacre and the Westside Middle School killings, both of which involved two shooters.)
  • The shootings happened during a single incident and in a public place. (Public, except in the case of a party at an apartment complex in Crandon, Wisconsin.) Crimes primarily related to armed robbery or gang activity are not included.
  • The shooter took the lives of at least four people. An FBI crime classification report identifies an individual as a mass murderer—as opposed to a spree killer or a serial killer—if he kills four or more people in a single incident (not including himself), and typically in a single location.
  • If the shooter died or was hurt from injuries sustained during the incident, he is included in the total victim count. (But we have excluded cases in which there were three fatalities and the shooter also died, per the previous criterion.)
  • We included six so-called "spree killings"—prominent cases that fit closely with our above criteria for mass murder, but in which the killings occurred in multiple locations over a short period of time.


  1. Wow, you'd think with Cali's restrictive gun laws and 'assault weapons' ban it would be a safe place to live, but Cali seems to have a higher rate of rampage killing than any other state.

    1. For two reasons:

      1. although they're Brady's number 1, their laws are not strict enough.

      2. within a half-day's drive you've got some of the laxest states in the country.

    2. So why aren't there many more mass shootings in those states with good gun laws? If guns are responsible, there should be a lot of this sort of killing in states with lots of guns in the hands of many people. Instead, I see many states where mass shootings haven't even happened, and many states that have only one such incident. Those, despite those states being gun friendly.

      What you're arguing here is that guns and crazies naturally migrate to the places where killing large numbers of people is theoretically the most difficult. The opposite appears to be true. Mass killers gravitate toward places where the victims are likely to be unarmed.

  2. Yup, California, New York, Connecticut, and Illinois all have more than one. But let's also note that these killings are concentrated in areas with a large population. Shall we pass a ban against population densities of greater than five hundred per square mile?

  3. Colorado seems to have a high rate of them as well, so Campy, unless you can come up with a causastion connection between the two, that's a dumb comment.

    B3, you have to take into account neighboring areas and the source of the assault style weapons. I'm pretty confident that those were NOT purchased in California, so it would seem that CA is successful, and the gun culture in those adjoining states were failures.

    Ya got an answer for that, B3? I'm guessing NOT.

    1. DG said..."B3, you have to take into account neighboring areas and the source of the assault style weapons."

      So let me get this right, the 'assault style weapons' in Nevada don't cause people to go on a killing rampage, but once they cross the state line into Cali, where everyone is disarmed, suddenly those evil black rifles cause their owner to go on a rampage. I think not.

      Let's look at those rampage killings

      1984 handgun, shotgun, Uzi
      1988 Shotgun, handguns, hunting rifle
      1989 handgun and AK
      1992 shotgun and rifle
      1993 handgun 2 Intratec DC9
      'assault weapons ban'
      1997 AK
      2006 Handgun
      2011 Handguns
      2012 Handgun

      in four of the nine rampage killings an 'assault weapon' was used and an 'assault weapon' was used in one of the four after the AWB and apparently the 'assault weapon' was purchase legally. The assault weapons ban apparently didn't stop rampage killers.

      " it would seem that CA is successful, and the gun culture in those adjoining states were failures."

      Ah, yes, but why was there only one rampage killing in each of the bordering states if those states' evil gun culture is to blame for Cali's death toll? Are you suggesting that perhaps people move to Cali just to go kill people?

    2. Apparently, geography is another subject about which Dog Gone is confused. Note that its two incidents happened around Denver--a populated area, no? But I see that you still can't account for California...

  4. Speaking of critical thinking skills, let's note how this fails at rational risk analysis. The article names fifty-six such incidents since 1980. That's a period of twenty-two years--about two and a half a year. The numbers of killed and injured varies, but let's say about ten per incident. When you consider that number compared to the number of gun owners, guns, and total population in this country, you'll see that the risk of being in such an event is exceedingly low.

    Control freaks often go histrionic whenever something like this happens, but the country isn't a bomb on a short fuse. Crazies who use guns to kill lots of people are rare. Gun violence is mostly an act of someone who is legally sane and can therefore be held accountable. If we were to spend more time focusing on violent criminals and less on drug offenses, we could shove the gun violence numbers even lower--without violating the rights of good citizens in the process.