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

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


  2. G Fernandez says:

    It’s true we need gun control…not complete elimination, but limits must be made or it will continue and continue. Partly due to how much coverage these get…u rarely heard of mass shootings until after 1999 Columbine when 3 news networks covered it 24/7 for weeks. It gives people ideas, that’s why it has picked up so much. I was born in 1974 and never heard of school shootings until I was graduated and 7 years out of school when Columbine happened. When we were in middle school we used to wear pocket knives on our belts in school haha. Yeah nobody thought of doin that, it was so out there, but after it happens and happens again it becomes normalized. It’s gotta be covered, but the endless hearing of it fans a flame.

    Back to gun control…any automatic weapons should not be allowed to be privately owned. Why does anyone need an F-ing machine gun? Next you limit high powered hand guns, and other high powered weapons, before too long some nut will launch a RPG in an attack. When people r really deranged they see glory in the news, not horror like normal people see. It’s gotta meet half way to protect innocents and also allow those who wish to protect themselves and hunt to have weapons made for that and not for fighting in war. The Las Vegas shooter did so much damage with an automatic. If there was no way to get them outside of military use alot of damage over short periods would end. Give gun advocates some guns and ban overpowering ones. Cut back on the news reports, maybe mention it, have a moment of silence and don’t cover it. It will be covered locally where the most impact was made to people who need to hear about it. Sorry it’s a ramble as I have alot of thoughts on it, I’m not a gun person, but believe people should be able to own some types of handguns and also hunting rifles that have low fire rates. If there’s no way to get them and I know that may be a whole other problem, but if there’s limited ways to get war made weapons these horror stories will end or at least damage won’t be so bad.


    • Stephen Yolland says:

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment. The issue you raise about news coverage is an interesting one. To what extent it feeds into “copycat” actions I simply do not know. I wonder if that has ever been studied. Anyhow, your point about automatics and semi automatics is absolutely right. No one in the general public needs that firepower.


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