Saturday, June 14, 2014

How Many?!

The President recently delivered himself of the startling claim that there's been a school shooting almost every week since the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012.

It turns out, though, that, like much else that President Obama says, this statistic is misleading at best (See also here). In fact, it appears to be based on a study by an anti-gun group called "Everytown For Gun Safety" which lists 74 school shootings in the 18 months since Sandy Hook. The implication is that these are incidents in which innocent students are randomly killed by deranged shooters.

But, no. The 74 shootings number includes all sorts of violence that only by coincidence occurred on a school campus - suicides, gang drive-bys, spouse killings, etc. The number of school shootings which fit the description implied by the "Everytown" study turns out to be seven. This is, of course, seven too many, but it illustrates Mr. Obama's willingness to deceive the American people in order to pursue his goal of the elimination of guns in the hands of civilians.

So far from being more common today, mass shootings, on campuses or elsewhere, are actually no more frequent than they've been for the last two decades. A post by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air contains a chart by CNN that shows this at a glance.

As I think about it, it may be a teensy bit unfair to Mr. Obama to accuse him of deliberately misleading the American people. It could be that he actually believes the statistic he cited - much like he may have actually believed that there are 57 states in the United States - and is thus not deliberately misleading anyone. Of course, if that's the case then our president, whose IQ we were assured in 2008 by historian Michael Beschloss is "off the charts" and higher than any president's in history, is either an intellectual mediocrity or is intellectually irresponsible for not doing his homework.

The actual facts about gun violence are much less depressing than we might have thought, but they're not helpful to the President's purposes. For example, since 1993 gun violence is actually down a whopping 49%:
National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.
This is relatively good news, but I doubt we'll hear it touted by Mr. Obama or the liberal media.