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Monday, June 13, 2016

Gun Violence in America-nothing has changed since Sandy Hook Elementary carnage


Vox.com created an interactive map. It shows the mass shootings that have been verified since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting:



After Sandy Hook Elementary School, Americans said never again. But, the cowardly US Congress caved to the NRA gun lobby. In vact, nothing has changed. US taxpayers fight to retain every dollar we put into our retirement Social Security, and Medicare and military retiree benefits, but the US Congress accepts millions of dollars from the National Rifle Association to protect the gun owners rather than citizens who are being regularly slaughtered by weapons of mass murder. We pay lawmakers to keep us safe, while the NRA pays them to obstruct gun violence prevention regulations.

And, we let 1,000 mass shootings happen. Now, Orlando is on the interactive map.  There are another 49 mortalities, one killer dead and dozens of people wounded, with untold hundreds more being emotionally traumatized.

Updated by German Lopez and Soo Oh on June 13, 2016, 11:03 a.m. ET

In December 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 20 children, six adults, and himself. Since then, there have been at least 1,000 mass shootings, with shooters killing at least 1,140 people and wounding 3,942 more.

The counts come from the Gun Violence Archive, a database that tracks events since 2013, in which four or more people (not counting the shooter) were shot at the same general time and location. 

In fact, the database’s researchers comb through hundreds of news stories, police reports, and other sources each day and individually verify the reports. Still, since some shootings aren't reported, the database is likely missing some shootings, and some are missing details.

Are mass shootings increasing? 
It depends on which definition you use.

Using one common definition — shootings at a public place in which the shooter murdered four or more people, excluding domestic, gang, and drug violence — they appear to be getting more common, according to an analysis from Harvard School of Public Health researchers.

But not everyone agrees with this definition. Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, for example, defines mass shootings more widely, as any shooting in which at least four people were murdered. Under those terms, mass shootings don’t appear to be increasing.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health call the definition Fox uses too broad, since it catches domestic, gang, and drug-related shootings that aren’t usually considered mass shootings in layman’s terms.

The Gun Violence Archive is even broader — counting not just murders but injuries, too.

Even under this definition, it’s worth noting that mass shootings make up a tiny portion of America’s firearm deaths, which total more than 32,000 each year.

And the US has way more gun violence than its developed peers: According to United Nations data compiled by Simon Rogers while at the Guardian, the US had 29.7 firearm homicides per 1 million people in 2012, while Switzerland had 7.7, Canada had 5.1, and Germany had 1.9.

But why does the US have so many more gun homicides than other developed countries? One possible explanation: Americans are generally much more likely to own guns.

The US makes up about 4.4 percent of the global population but possesses 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns. And the empirical research shows that places with more guns have more homicides.

Criminal justice experts widely recognize that America’s unusually high levels of gun violence are a result of cultural and policy decisions that have made firearms far more available in America than in most of the world. For the US, that means not just more mass shootings, but more gun violence in general.

Update on February 18, 2016: Vox’s map originally used the Mass Shooting Tracker, which began contributing its data to the Gun Violence Archive in 2016. The newer Gun Violence Archive database uses a slightly narrower definition of a mass shooting, not counting the shooter as one of the four-plus victims needed to qualify as a mass shooting.

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