Mass Killings Haven’t Become More Frequent

After a mass shooting two things can always be counted on. First the victims will be forgotten while the shooter will live on in infamy. Second politicians will start demanding more gun control. As if on queue a politicians by the name of Jerrold Nadler is claiming that these shootings are becoming more frequent and therefore stronger gun control laws must be implemented:

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who represents portions of New York City, said he was encouraged by Mr. Obama’s statement on Friday afternoon that the mass shooting, which claimed the lives of 20 young children, requires “meaningful action” by Congress, but hopes those words turn into concrete legislation.

“These incidents, these horrible, horrible incidents … are happening more and more frequently. And they will continue to happen more and more frequently until someone with the bully pulpit, and that means the president, takes leadership and pushes Congress,” Mr. Nadler said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz.

Fortunately his statement is unfounded:

Even before Portland and Newtown, we saw a former student kill seven people at Oikos University in Oakland, Calif. We saw gunmen in Seattle and Minneapolis each kill five people and then themselves. We saw the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” at a theater in Aurora, Colo., devolve into a bloodbath, as 12 people died and 58 were wounded; 24-year-old James Holmes was arrested outside.

And yet those who study mass shootings say they are not becoming more common.

“There is no pattern, there is no increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Boston’s Northeastern University, who has been studying the subject since the 1980s, spurred by a rash of mass shootings in post offices.


Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, said that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s. And mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century.

Once again we find those demanding more gun control either playing fast and loose with the facts or deliberately lying in order to advance their agenda. The truth of the matter is that these mass killings aren’t becoming more frequent, they have always been a rather random anomaly. The chances of being killed in one of these mass shootings is very rare as the occurrences of mass shootings themselves are very rare. These facts matter not to the politicians demanding more gun control laws because they know exploiting mass shootings can lead to political gain. By clamoring for more gun control legislation Mr. Nadler is getting his face on television and making it appear as though he cares about the children who were murdered. In reality Mr. Nadler is likely unable to name a single victim of the shooting.