This is a must-read article if you ever find yourself faced with someone pressing the liberal cliché that (as former President Barack Obama put it in a recent statement) “no other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States. No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do.”
According to the Crime Prevention Research Institute, he’s incorrect on both counts (or as liberals would say if he were Trump, “He’s LYYYYING!!!!”)
According to the Crime Prevention Research Institute, “The U.S. is well below the world average in terms of the number of mass public shootings, and the global increase over time has been much bigger than for the United States.”
A study of 97 nations that suffered measurable incidents of mass shootings found that between 1998 and 2015, the US ranked 64th in per capita frequency of mass shootings and 65th in the murder rate. As you might expect, the worst were nations notorious for violence and unrest, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. But the US also came in below nations often cited as liberal utopias, such as Norway, Finland, France, and Switzerland. Incidentally, the first three of those four nations have very strict gun laws while it’s easy to get a gun in Switzerland, but they all outranked the US in mass shootings, showing that gun laws have little effect either way.
In addition, the US’s share of mass shootings declined over that time, while the rate of increase in mass shootings in the other 96 nations as a bloc was over twice as high as ours. I’m sure people will point to the recent spate of shootings to claim there has been a huge jump since 2015, which would be easy to believe because of all the media coverage. But in fact, in all of 2019, there have been a total of 62 deaths in the US from mass shootings. The mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, alone killed 51.
None of this is meant to downplay the seriousness of the problem or the tragedy of the deaths and injuries. As the linked article notes, one senseless death is too many. Instead of pointing fingers and laying blame, we should all be talking and working together to find ways to prevent this from happening ever again.
But it doesn’t help the situation to libel America as a violent, gun-crazed wasteland where mass shootings are happening on every corner. The first step to solving a problem is to identify the problem accurately, not mischaracterize it just so you can apply your favorite one-size-fits-all “solution” (more gun control laws) that hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried.
And yes, I know that many people point to Japan, which has very strict gun laws and almost no gun deaths. But that glosses over both the Japanese culture factor and the fact that eliminating guns did not eliminate deadly mass attacks. In 2016, 19 people were killed and 26 injured in a knife attack in Sagamihara. Last May, two people were killed and 16 injured (including over a dozen school children) in a knife attack at a bus stop in Kawasaki.
It all points to a sad but inescapable conclusion: you can’t fight evil acts by banning the tools people use to perpetrate evil acts, because they’ll always find new tools or ways around the laws. You have to identify the real problem: addressing the evil.