Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Proposal To Reduce Mass Shootings In America

Mass shootings are tragic.  Each incident receives massive media coverage and prompts federal, state, and local lawmakers to propose new laws and regulations to restrict gun ownership and strengthen enforcement of existing gun laws to reduce the incidence of mass shootings.  Still, mass shootings persist.

There is no consensus on the definition of a mass shooting.  Mass Shooting Tracker defines a mass shooting as four or more persons shot, wounded and/or killed, in a single shooting spree.  Another defines a mass shooting as multiple victims of firearm-related violence.  The FBI defines mass murder as four or more persons killed in a single shooting episode. The number of persons killed and wounded in mass shootings depends on the choice of definitions. 

Wikipedia counted 12 mass shootings from January through August 2019, in which 78 were killed and 120 wounded.

Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd-sourced database, counted 507 killed and 1114 wounded through August.  MST has been criticized as an overly loose standard.

Yet another definition counted 21 mass shootings through July, causing 129 deaths and more than 64 wounded.

To put these numbers in perspective, mass shootings accounted for less than two-tenths of 1% (0.2%) of all homicides in the United states between 2000 and 2016.  Between January and August 2009, 15 U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan.

A good way to grasp the extent of mass shootings and killings is to compare them with Chicago.  Detailed shooting and killing statistics can be found at  From January through August 2019, 320 were shot and killed and 1575 were shot and wounded.  Labor Day weekend totaled 9 dead and 35 wounded.  So far this year, a person has been shot in Chicago every 3 hours 6 minutes and one murdered every 16 hours 54 minutes.  Police shootings are responsible for only 5 killed and 3 wounded.

The site includes a map showing the locations of dead and wounded and lists the numbers in the 15 deadliest neighborhoods.

The race of those killed is 291 Black, 41 Hispanic, 13 White, and 3 Unknown.  The cause of death is 319 gunshots, 19 stabbing, 4 strangulation, 2 trauma, 2 child abuse, 1 auto, and 1 maternal assault.  The shot ratio of male to female is 5.97 to 1.

There have been 28 incidents of multi-victim shootings of four, killing 14.  There have been 256 incidents of 2 and 3 victims shot in a single event, killing 91.  The site presents annual homicides between 1957-2018.  Especially deadly years were 1974 (970 killed), 1992 (943), and 2016 (808).

Chicago is only one example of shooting deaths and injured in the United States.  It illustrates the extent of urban shootings relative to mass shootings, yet urban shootings receive much less national attention.  Reducing firearm-related violence in Chicago could serve as an example for the rest of the country.

A Proposal To Reduce Firearm-Related Violence In Chicago

I propose the establishment of an inter-university task force consisting of distinguished faculty from the top 10-15 national universities, co-chaired by the universities of Chicago and Northwestern.  The task force should include experts from sociology, political science, economics, education, criminology, law, medicine, family relations, and other pertinent fields.

The task force should construct a multi-year research design, say, 3-5 years, in which it proposes a number of interventions designed to try to reduce firearm-related violence in Chicago, evaluate which measures work and which do not, and write a report that points the way forward in reducing firearm-related violence.

The report can become a foundation on which municipal, state, and federal policies can be considered and implemented on a nationwide basis.

There is merit in universities providing expertise to poor and lower-middle-income countries.  But a focused effort in the United States might save thousands of lives and greatly improve education, safety, and economic opportunity in high-crime zones.


RDL said...

A well meaning article, however another ‘university study’ by ‘esteemed’ faculty is just a waste of money and time. The problem is not gun control. The problem is a breakdown in family and social structure. There have been hundreds of studies and books that document the disintegration of the family structure, misguided government sponsored welfare and other incentives, and the emergence of social justice policies that excuse personal responsibility in the name of diversity. There are solutions, however they require a long term commitment to reformation of welfare, education, and other safety net policies. First admit that what sounded good just has not worked. Only then will it be possible to make progress.

goodwater said...

Well stated RDL. I too came up with the reasons for the increase in the mass shootings and the decline of our Culture. I missed a couple that you identified and have added them to my list:

When a Nation kicks God out of the Educational System and the Public Square what can We the People expect when the empty space has been taken over by the powers of Evil. Lucifer uses humans and every means to corrupt other humans via 1) sexual explicit movies and movies that project violence (the latest movie -The Hunt - story line = liberals hunting Trump supporters); 2) video games the subject of which is violence; 3)sexuality in commercial advertisements (how often do we need to see TV commercials that shows females showing off their brand new panties); 4) the movie selections available on TV - HBO, Spectrum, ATT; 5) political candidates calling President Trump “racist”; 6) the breakdown of the family structure by divorce; 7) the emergence of social justice policies that excuse personal responsibility in the name of diversity; and last but not least 8) a government that condones the killing of babies in the womb. The Moral Code has been flushed down the toilet.

Airplanes do not kill people - it is the pilot’s errors in judgement, improper training, exhaustion or other distractions. When the plane sits on the tarmac it is incapable of killing any one. Drugs of themselves do not kill people while the pill or liquid sits in the bottle - it is the misuse by a human that does. When a driver bears down upon a group of people and many are maimed or killed - do we ban the car? The weekend of the El Paso and Dayton massacres Chicago registered seven killings and 54 Chicagoans suffered gunshot wounds and this past Labor Day weekend 34 wounded and another seven killed - yet the socialist Democrats are silent.

We must focus on the real problem. A gun without the use of a finger is harmless - it is the individual who pulls the trigger that KILLS his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Chick said...

Part of the problem of gun killings is its relationship with the illegal drug trade. Take out the profit from the business, and it will whither away in significance. Make safe doses and deliver systems legal from any pharmacy. Make remedies to overdoses also available. Establish a registry for all addictive drug purchasers. Make treatment for addiction available on request. The next step will be more taxing....the employment of previous drug dealers.

Doggie said...

The citation of real statistics gave me hope, at first reading, that this author may really deliver some rational suggestions. Sadly, the man's "Train of Thought" jumped the track and rolled over a mountain into a swollen river, swept to the bottom of the sea.