March 24, 2021 Editor

The wrong kind of normal

photo above: There Have Already Been 104 Mass Shootings In US So Far In 2021, by Cameron Frew on 24 Mar 2021.

WN: Mass shootings in America, like genocide in Rwanda, are the first thing to come to mind when one thinks about gun violence. Please see my October 4, 2017 post: 1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days: America’s gun crisis – in one chart.


GERMS, GUNS AND NOW WHAT? A Monday night shooting in Boulder, Colo., that left 10 dead is the country’s seventh mass shooting so far this year, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University, and the second in less than a week after a pandemic pause in spree killings. President Joe Biden called for a federal assault weapons ban today in response.

Nightly reached out to a group of experts to ask them: Why does the U.S. have so many mass shootings? Here are their edited answers.

“Let me flip this question around. Yes, the U.S. has a disproportionate number of public mass shootings — tragedies like what happened in Boulder, Parkland and Las Vegas — but it also has a disproportionate number of every other type of shooting. In fact, there are more than 100 deaths and more than 200 injuries from guns every single day across our country. Two-thirds of those deaths are suicides. Nearly 75 women are shot and killed by a domestic partner each month. Mass shootings are just the (very public, very scary) tip of the iceberg.

“So instead of asking why we have so many mass shootings, I would ask: Why is the United States’ rate of firearm injury and death increasing across the board?–— Megan Ranney, emergency physician and professor at Brown University

“For those motivated to commit mayhem, going after guns in a country flush with them will do little except create criminals of innocent gun owners, most of whom will likely be African American. Yet too often — as with the Parkland shooter, the Aurora theater shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter and others — officials ignored clear warnings. Heeding clear warnings is a better strategy than going after guns.” — Trevor Burrus, research fellow in the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies

“I conducted a cross-national study of public mass shooters across 171 countries, and found it was not the countries with the most murders or suicides that had the most mass shooters. It was the countries with the most firearms per capita. The U.S. has more than 40 percent of the world’s civilian firearms and more than 30 percent of the world’s public mass shooters, and sophisticated statistical analyses show these two factors are directly related. However, this does not mean that we should simply blame America’s gun owners for becoming mass shooters.

“Many public mass shooters were not lifelong gun owners, hunters or ‘sportsmen,’ and many decided to get a firearm only after they became interested in killing a large number of people. The problem is not that owning a firearm makes someone want to commit a mass shooting. The problem is that in the U.S., almost anyone who wants to commit a mass shooting can easily obtain a firearm, even after exhibiting multiple warning signs and ‘red flags.’ By comparison, it is much more difficult for at-risk individuals to access firearms in many other countries around the world.” — Adam Lankford, a professor of criminology at the University of Alabama

Please click on: The wrong kind of normal

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.