In my opinion, this is an important article from “Mother Jones”, edited slightly here for clarity and ease and speed of reading, and with a few comments of my own (in italics). The full article is linked to at the bottom, with other resources. As the debate rages, the article begins:

It is worth noting that here have been at least 56 mass shootings in the last 30 years—and most of the killers got their guns legally.

It’s perhaps too easy to forget how many times this has happened. The horrific mass murder at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado last Friday is the latest in an epidemic of such gun violence over the last three decades. Since 1982, there have been at least 56 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. MJ has mapped them below, including details on the shooters’ identities, the types of weapons they used, and the number of victims they injured and killed.

One of the commonest arguments against gun control in the USA is that it will mean only crazies and nut cases will get weapons, while ordinary folk cannot protect themselves. But the facts seem to suggest otherwise.

Of the 132 guns possessed by the killers, more than three quarters were obtained legally. The arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and high-powered handguns. Just as Jeffrey Weise used a .40-caliber Glock to massacre students in Red Lake, Minnesota, in 2005, so too did James Holmes when blasting away at his victims in a darkened movie theater.

Half of the cases involved school or workplace shootings (11 and 17, respectively); the other 28 cases took place in locations including shopping malls, restaurants, government buildings, and military bases.

Only one of the killers was a woman.

This is surely significant? Men and women have equal access to guns – how come women are almost unheard of in these situations? As I argue elsewhere, it must surely be cultural. And women, note, form a higher than average proportion of gun victims, in the USA and elsewhere. Gun control, in my opinion, is a feminist issue.

Mother Jones believe they have produced one of the most comprehensive rundowns available on this particular type of traumatic violence. (Mass murders represent only a sliver of America’s overall gun violence of course.)

*Mother Jones 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 MJ excluded cases in which there were three fatalities and the shooter also died, per the previous criterion.)
  • They 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.

For the full story, head to http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map

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Comments
  1. I wonder why they didn’t start with Austin in the 70s.

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