originally posted by: LA1IMPALA
a reply to: Pinke I don't remember any high school shootings or mall shootings or work place shootings in the 50's or 60's or
70's or someone getting fired and going back and killing everyone. unfortunately the mass murder rate is going up
There are a number of reasons for that, and it's immensely complex.
1. Mass shootings receive about 5 times or more coverage (weighed in ink) in comparison to murders involving arson. That discussion took off around
the 1980s and there was a claim of a mass murder wave starting in the 1960s. There was little evidence for this 'wave' existing, but journalists and
others made completely unsupported claims that it was a modern phenomenon. There were mass murders in America in the 1930s for example, and they
weren't that unique from the 1960s.
2. Mass Murder rates are
going up when we select events for specific (and unjustified) criteria often based on the most unusual examples of
mass murder. Many works that state that mass murder is on the way up dramatically rule out familicides and 'gang' violence. They make the claim that
they focus on cases of 'indiscriminate' mass murder or mass murders in specific locations. The problem here is that the murder isn't
'indiscriminate' very often at all. The vast majority of 'mass shootings' are at least targeted towards certain demographics and often include one
or more very specific targets. Furthermore, changes in our life style may have altered the locations of shootings, but how relevant is that?
Most 'media' studies isolate themselves to crimes involving specific weapons also. Arson and knives are ruled out, even if they reach double digit
figures. Furthermore, attacks where a gun person uses an automatic weapon but kills under three people, despite clearly intending to slay more, are
not even on the radar.
To give an idea, the most used studies in the media refer to around 20% of all mass murder incidents, and the media only tends to report 10% of all
mass murder incidents with any weight. That means 4 in 5 mass murders are not being discussed at all in (inter)national media. Factors increasing the
probability of mass murder reporting include the use of an 'assault' weapon, white people being involved, and taking place in an incredibly public
location. Pre 1980 the topic wasn't even 'vogue.'
3.There are about 25 mass murders every year in America. There have been over 900 since 1972. That's still less than 0.5% of all homicides. The
overall homicide rate has a trend going down
in America. The sample size of mass murders is so small that a handful of incidents can make a
huge difference, but in reality the difference between 4 less incidents and 8 more incidents is sadly not that statistically significant even if the
events themselves are horrifying. As an example, some years may have 200 victims, a few years later it will be down to 140. There is no easy to follow
trend. It's even less easy to follow when using the mass shooting narrative.
Even accepting a rise in incidents of specifically mass shootings, between 1970 and 2015 Americans have another 100 millionish residents. The increase
appears in line with that increase I believe.
It would take some serious convincing for me to believe that the idea of mass murder as 'new' is anything but an urban legend bolstered by political
baiting and modern media. There are many people who benefit from the existence of a panic regarding mass shootings when our resources should
be spent elsewhere like the other 99.5% of homicide incidents.
It sells papers. It militarizes police. It makes talk shows. It creates legislation. It gives politicians brownie points.