Author Topic: What is a mass shooting?  (Read 6721 times)

OrneryMod

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What is a mass shooting?
« on: December 12, 2015, 12:16:38 AM »

Pete at Home

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2015, 08:55:54 PM »
In the shooting where I was injured (not shot, but trampled  and abdomen punctured by folks running from the shooter) there were three officers shot, plus the shooter himself. One of the officers lived. Is that a mass shooting or does the shooter not count?


Fenring

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2015, 10:56:19 PM »
I think if the shooter was in the process of initiating a murder spree and the police stopped him just in time, culminating in a shoot-out, then I'd count it as a mass shooting on the grounds of the intent of the perp regardless of whether any bystanders were shot. Let's change the scenario, on the other hand, and say the perp got into a scuffle with the law irrespective of any prior motive for violence, and this escalated into him drawing arms and initiating a gunfight. Despite multiple casualties in this latter case I would not call it a mass shooting in the colloquial sense. My reasoning is that the general public accepts the term as designating someone who sets out to inflict mass casualties for some reason or another; a murderous maniac in other words. Many incidents occur that are not of this nature but result in multiple casualties or fatalities, and when these are counted among "mass shootings" they yield wildly inaccurate numbers of how many people are actually out there looking to shoot up a school or an office. The real number of active shooters is still bad (~14-20 per year), but when we hear talk of 363 'mass shootings' per year it's about time to define one's terms a little more clearly. "Mass shooting" doesn't mean the same as "active shooters", but for the sake of comprehension by the public I think these terms should be used synonymously. The FBI stats on the subject are about active shooters, which is the thing people are actually thinking about when they think of Columbine, the movie theater, and San Bernardino. For the purposes of this topic listing multiple killings in gang or mob incidents is plainly ridiculous but is used to engender fear about the current gun laws.

Pete at Home

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2015, 11:16:29 PM »
In the case I speak if, shooter brought two shotguns to kill an appellate judge and then opened fire when he got to the courthouse and realized he would not get through the metal detector unnoticed. He just went after armed guards who in his eyes stood between him and the judge.

Fenring

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2015, 12:01:00 AM »
In the case I speak if, shooter brought two shotguns to kill an appellate judge and then opened fire when he got to the courthouse and realized he would not get through the metal detector unnoticed. He just went after armed guards who in his eyes stood between him and the judge.

I was mostly offering definitional terms to make conversation like this clear. I can't actually assess motives of someone like that personally, although from what you say it sounds like a botched assassination attempt. I'm not sure how that should qualify, but at least there's clear intent to do mayhem, so "active shooter" seems to describe him adequately.

Pete at Home

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2015, 01:59:45 AM »
Agreed as to botched assassination. Wonder if the government dead bean counters treat an accidental surefire discharge as a mass shooting.

You'd think with all the terrorism that's being attributed to disgruntled employees that there would be more focus on re-gruntling them :)

Fenring

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2016, 04:29:15 AM »
The conversation from the previous incarnation of Ornery may be a pain to go find, but as a recap I found out that the so-called 363+ 'mass shootings' that were being claimed for 2015 were, in fact, not what people think they are. Rather, many 'sources' of this figure all refer back to one sketchy-as-heck website called shootingtracker.com, which provides no explanations or citation. Regardless, it was evident upon even simple inspection that while the figure was being used as 'proof' that regular Americans are using guns recklessly it turns out, in fact, that this figure includes events such as gang-related shootings to accidents to altercations with the police. In one case a 'mass shooting' was someone who shot one single bullet that wounded multiple people! Even the FBI's own report on 'active shooters' over a decade viewed as relevant shooters who had intent to kill and who killed multiple people, and specifically did not include accidents or organized crime. The number then became something more like 10-20 per year on average (still very bad), and I realized that the figure given out of 363+ was meant to scare people into clamoring for gun control legislation because of the "out of control" mass shootings, which people take to mean active shooters who are firing into a crowd or a school, but does not actually mean that. With that recap being said, I just came across a headline about Chris Murphy, junior senator from CT (D), who just made a Twitter campaign to raise awareness of the "372 mass shootings" in 2015. Needless to say it shouldn't take a detective to realize that he got his figure from the same old single website everyone else did - shootingtracker.com (a website that in addition to its other flaws doesn't even work properly).

Here's an article about Murphy's stunt:

http://wtnh.com/2016/01/01/murphy-tweets-300-mass-shootings/

It seems to me that this isn't merely a social media meme but is actively being pushed by members of Congress to shove through gun control legislation on a basically false premise by scaring people through a term that they're meant to misinterpret (mass shooting). I am all in favor of some additional kinds of gun control, including the sort of thing Sanders suggests in his campaign, but it strikes me as both hypocritical and ill mannered to push for something that is meant to help people while lying to them to achieve it. It puts anyone pushing this agenda in this way squarely in the camp of their GOP counterparts who lie to achieve other ends. If the Democrats want to claim the moral high ground this isn't the way to do it.

AI Wessex

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2016, 07:37:03 AM »
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it was evident upon even simple inspection that while the figure was being used as 'proof' that regular Americans are using guns recklessly it turns out, in fact, that this figure includes events such as gang-related shootings to accidents to altercations with the police.
I can't verify the number of "mass shootings" that happened in 2015, but I have a few problems with your rejection of the reports claiming >1/day.  The FBI doesn't include gang shootings or other events (like the theater shooting in Alabama that left 2 people dead) unless the shootings occurred during the commission of some other crime and at least 3 people are killed.  No surprise that the number drops precipitously with that kind of definition, since the bad actors *usually* set out to rob or kill, but not do both at the same time.
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In one case a 'mass shooting' was someone who shot one single bullet that wounded multiple people!
OK, knock that one off the total.
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Rather, many 'sources' of this figure all refer back to one sketchy-as-heck website called shootingtracker.com, which provides no explanations or citation.
...
Needless to say it shouldn't take a detective to realize that he got his figure from the same old single website everyone else did - shootingtracker.com (a website that in addition to its other flaws doesn't even work properly).
Actually, I went to the web site and navigated (without difficulty) to the page that lists all of the mass shootings they counted for the year.  I flipped through several pages of the listing and viewed a handful of the "Incident" reports, all of which contained URLs pointing back to the local news reports about the shootings.  As near as I can tell, their reporting is honest and verifiable.  You can't download the full result set directly from the web site, but you can request the report from them.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 07:39:16 AM by AI Wessex »

AI Wessex

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2016, 07:45:51 AM »
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...but you can request the report from them.
Oops, don't click on that link, but send an email to them instead.  The address is: inquiry@gva.us.com.  Soriboudat.

Fenring

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2016, 11:31:30 AM »
No, Al, the FBI report does not only include cases where the shooter was committing some other crime. Did you read the report? Go read it again and come back. They quite clearly say what their criteria are: Someone with the intent to kill multiple people, where at least three people die, and they exclude accidents and gang-related things. They absolutely do not specify it has to be part of some other crime. I'm not sure why they wouldn't have included the shooting in the theatre, but do note their study covers the years of (off the top of my head) something like 2000-2010, and does not itself cover the most recent events such as that one. Perhaps they've done a treatment of recent shootings elsewhere, but the document I mention, whose purpose was to track levels of active shooters over a decade (and which does note a slight increase by a few a year), stops several years ago in its data.

And yes, shootingtracker.com isn't completely nonfunctional and I never said it was. But some of its features are incomplete, making it look slapdash, like someone's home project. I will note again that this sad-looking site is the single source for ALL claims about mass shootings in the hundreds per year, cited all over the internet and elsewhere. By contrast, when I did a search for mass shootings articles, ALL other articles (no exception, not one) mention around 20 for 2015, including sources such as the NYT and other MSM publications, and some articles including the NYT even refute outright the silly "363" number cited all over the place (and sourced from that one site, a massive echo chamber propaganda machine). ZERO independent sources came to the same conclusion as that one website, and when pouring through the data on that website back when I looked into it I concluded to my satisfaction that the intent of whomever compiled it was to accumulate the maximum number of incidents possible in order to beef up the number. The author had an agenda, that being to show how had things are in America. Do you want to place bets on whether this person is a Republican or a Democrat?

Al, the GOP does lie frequently about things, and wills say anything to further their agendas. I hope you won't be caught in the same trap and stoop to this level. shootingtracker.com is a partisan farce meant to trick the public.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 11:42:33 AM by Fenring »

AI Wessex

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2016, 08:34:56 PM »
Help me out here.  When you said,
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Rather, many 'sources' of this figure all refer back to one sketchy-as-heck website called shootingtracker.com, which provides no explanations or citation.
You were wrong about that, right?  If they recorded only 10-20 "mass shootings" this year, then they use a very narrow definition that doesn't account for the hundreds of documented "multiple shooting victim" incidents on the shootingtracker website. I'm not sure what specific report you are talking about, but the FBI report I read did say that gang related and other shootings weren't covered if they didn't occur during the commission of another crime.  If you need me to find that again, I'll give it an effort tomorrow.  It took a while to get to it by following links.  I'm not sure what virtue there is in ignoring whole categories of mass shootings, if in fact multiple people were shot during the same incident.  Does it seem like the country is safer if we ignore all of those other cases?

Fenring

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2016, 10:02:18 AM »
Yes, shootingtracker.com has links to online news articles, so if you are talking about that it has citations of that sort. What I meant was that it doesn't have any citation from official sources such as police or FBI corroborating the facts mentioned in the articles (which we know are not always reliable). The site itself, more damningly, doesn't offer details about each shooting it lists and dares you to click on all the links to figure out for yourself what the nature of each entry consists of. If one has some time on one's hands one can pour through all the articles figuring out the details of each shooting, but that's not a fast process on a site apparently designed to give you a quick glance at all the shootings in one go.

Here's the link to the FBI report I mentioned previously:

And here's the quote from it I mentioned:

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This is not a study of mass killings or mass shootings, but rather a study of a specific type of shooting situation law enforcement and the public may face. Incidents identified in this study do not encompass all gun-related situations; therefore caution should be taken when using this information without placing it in context. Specifically, shootings that resulted from gang or drug violence — pervasive, long-tracked, criminal acts that could also affect the public - were not included in this study. In addition, other gun-related shootings were not included when those incidents appeared generally not to have put others in peril (e.g., the accidental discharge of a firearm in a school building or a person who chose to publicly commit suicide in a parking lot). The study does not encompass all mass killings or shootings in public places and therefore is limited in its scope. Nonetheless, it was undertaken to provide clarity and data of value to both law enforcement and citizens as they seek to stop these threats and save lives during active shooter incidents.

As a result, the FBI identified 160 active shooter incidents that occurred in the United States between 2000 and 2013. Though additional active shooter incidents may have occurred during this time period, the FBI is confident this research captured the vast majority of incidents falling within the search criteria. To gather information for this study, researchers relied on official police records (where available), FBI records, and open sources.

It says nothing about discounting shootings that didn't occur during the commission of another crime, I don't know where you got that. What it does say is that its sole focus is on protecting the public from active shooters (school shootings, San Bernardino, etc.) and not on listing events that pertain to other types of law enforcement (such as tracking known criminal organizations) or accidents. The reason to 'ignore' other kinds of mass shootings is precisely because the term "mass shooting" is being sold to the public as basically meaning someone who takes a gun into public with the intent to shoot the place up, and that is not what things listed as "mass shooting" actually consist of. It's a lie of omission, where what the term really means is never disclosed when figures about '370 shootings' are bandied about. It's dishonest propaganda, pure and simple. The FBI report focuses on exactly what people think of when they think of the term "mass shooting", which is an active shooter scenario. The fact that you would want to include accidents and organized crime in your list of shootings rings of a desire to puff up the number in order to create alarmism against gun ownership - which, surprise surprise, is exactly what's happening right now among Democrats and in the White House.

AI Wessex

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2016, 05:57:17 PM »
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What I meant was that it doesn't have any citation from official sources such as police or FBI corroborating the facts mentioned in the articles (which we know are not always reliable).
Is that why you call the site "sketchy as heck"?  I looked at several links on the site back to police reports, though they weren't always available.  Own up to bashing the site without having actually found it to be deficient.  For instance, show that one of their Instance reports is "not...reliable".  If you do find one, how many others do you think might be equally unreliable?  Is it closer to 1% than to enough to brand the entire site as "sketchy as heck"?

Fenring

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2016, 06:32:18 PM »
The term "sketchy" was what I used to describe what I felt was the site's look and functionality. My other criticism of it, which is of being somewhat off-the-cuff in terms of evidence but being used as if it's 'official' in some way, is a different issue. That being said you can enjoy the site all you like, that doesn't change the foundation of my objection, which is that the number "363" or whatever was being used in reference to this site for the purposes of pushing a gun control agenda when, in fact, very few items on the list have anything to do with issues that the gun control conversations addresses. That is the lie. The site itself does not lie, and if you wish to celebrate it while criticizing those who misleadingly refer to it then by all means I think that would a reasonable approach.

AI Wessex

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Re: What is a mass shooting?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2016, 07:49:34 AM »
I understand your meaning much better now.  You could have meant sketchy by either of its definitions:
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adjective: sketchy
    1.   not thorough or detailed.
    2.   dishonest or disreputable.
I assumed you meant #2 since you were talking about what you felt was an unreliable source.