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Nancy Smith

America Is NOT Tops in Mass Shootings; Help Stop the Lie

June 1, 2018 - 6:00am

There it was again Thursday morning on National Public Radio -- the same old line we've heard repeated by CNN, CNBC, CBS, NBC, the BBC -- especially since Feb. 14: America has more deaths from mass shootings than anywhere else in the world.

Only, it doesn't.

True, America has a lot of handgun violence. But we don't have, as relentlessly suggested by news commentators, more mass shootings than anybody else and we're not the most gun-violent nation on the planet. Not even close.  

And it's plain wrong to continue repeating a faux fact for political expediency, or for any reason -- especially when it's dividing our nation and insulating citizens from looking at real social ills in a country where troubled kids shooting up schools is mostly a 21st century phenomenon.

I Beg to DifferNot only does the U.S. fail to lead the world in mass shootings, it doesn't even make the top 10 when measured by death rate per million population from mass public shootings.

It's all documented in a study of global mass-shooting incidents from 2009 to 2015 by the Crime Prevention Research Center, headed by economist John Lott.

If the U.S. doesn't top the list, who does? The answer is Norway, a socialist nation. Its mass-shooting death rate is a whopping 1.888 per million -- admittedly a number likely to fall in years to come. The 2011 rifle assault by political extremist Anders Brevik that claimed 77 lives makes the Scandinavian country something of an outlier in the murder-by-gun department. 

Coming in at No. 2 is Serbia, at 0.381, followed by France at 0.347, Macedonia at 0.337, and Albania at 0.206. Slovakia, Finland, Belgium, and the Czech Republic all follow. Then comes the U.S. at No. 11, with a death rate from mass shootings of 0.089. See a screen shot of Lott's chart displayed on this page.

Probably no one ever told you there were 27 percent more casualties from 2009 to 2015 per mass shooting incident in the European Union than in the U.S.

"There were 16 cases where at least 15 people were killed," the study found. "Of those cases, four were in the United States, two in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom."

Here's the rub: Lott continues, "The U.S. has a population four times greater than Germany's and five times the UK's, so on a per-capita basis the U.S. ranks low in comparison -- actually, those two countries would have had a frequency of attacks 1.96 (Germany) and 2.46 (UK) times higher" than ours.

We have nothing to be proud of, I'm not trying to tell you we do. But our mass-murder rate is nowhere near the highest in the developed world.

Banning rifles? If you go by FBI crime data, America would be better off banning knives. Deaths by knives in the U.S. outnumber deaths by rifles by 5 to 1. In 2016, 1,604 people were killed by knives and other cutting instruments, while 374 were killed by rifles.

Bombs are illegal in both the U.S. and Europe. Consider that Europe loses a whole lot more people than we do to bombings. Wouldn't we be justified in claiming Europeans are more violent than we are based on the proliferation of bombings in high-traffic areas?

Seems to me, rather than politicizing the deaths of 14 students and three teachers by calling for more gun-control measures, Democrats and their friends in the media should instead be pushing for better school security, for our law enforcement agencies to respond more aggressively to clear threats. Those who are severely mentally ill or psychotic or potentially violent need to be identified and given the help they need. That gives us all a chance to live.

As CNN political commentator C.E. Cupp noted six days after Nikolas Cruz launched into the entirely preventable killing spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, "It certainly seems like we need to find better ways to address the stunning commonality in all these mass shootings, which is that the men who perpetrate them are sick -- Las Vegas, Pulse nightclub, Newtown, Columbine, Charleston, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora -- on and on, these killers were mentally ill and in almost every case, someone knew it."

What you rarely hear -- and what I didn't hear on NPR Thursday -- are discussions of the important issues poisoning our society that no amount of gun control can stop.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


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This is one of the dumbest articles I've ever read. I cannot believe this writer (if you can call her that) tried to pass off this pile of chit on people. By taking the per capita number strictly based on casualties and not occurrences, they have somehow skewed this to read that these countries are more dangerous. You have one nut bag who killed 77 people in a country of a million people, and somehow tried to make that seem worse than that with us of say less casualties overall, but approximately 100 incidents and more population overall. This is not only non-sensical, but insulting to someone with more than a first grade education, which is about how this reads. This is the best reporting this site has to offer? No wonder 87% of Fox News watchers are uneducated white males. She is probably one of the uneducated white females watching as well...

The author mentions that Norway is an outlier due to the 2011 assault by a right wing political extremist. The author fails to mention that France ranks so highly because of the horrific terrorist attack in 2015. These are outliers. America has a consistent gun problem that is only growing worse.

I was headmaster of a school when Columbine was in the news. We immediately armed all male teachers and administration and any student over 17. (One female teacher, and one student who was 15.) If a shooter had walked through our door, he would not have made 10 feet. All students were then trained how to attack - not hide. We did not consult the police, government or any idiot who thinks that you can actually stop murderers by taking their tools away - we just created an environment that ensured a very bad outcome for the murderer. End of problem.

Thank you Nancy for having the courage to stand up to the leftist propaganda machine. Why didn’t Nickolas Cruz choose to shoot up a police station? When was the last time there was a mass murder in a courthouse? Disney World? Tallahassee government buildings? Why??? How many were killed during the Boston Marathon, WITHOUT GUNS?

Restrictive "gun" control laws ALREADY in existence cannot and do not address the corruption within man's heart-the instruments that man uses to kill range from the auto to the hammer-there is only ONE answer-JESUS! !

John Lott, who runs the Crime Prevention Research Center pro-gun propaganda site and performed this "study", is a documented liar:

I think you have your facts wrong . . . The Washington Post is a documented liar . . . But, then again, the only people who read it are those who can’t be bothered with truth and are just looking for validation of their own faulty thoughts - or for entertainment! They are a rather comical publication with lightweight writers. . .

The author of this article is just stupidly using gun violence in other countries to justify gun violence in this country ... using the unacceptable behavior of others to justify one's own unacceptable behavior. Absolutely mini-minded!

Maybe you should read the article one more time. Whether the author is mini-minded or not, cannot be seen in this article. But, it IS obvious from your comment that you either failed reading comprehension in school, or you are only capable of attacking the messenger rather than analyzing the message. Either way, stupid or petty, I suggest you read the article again - this time a little bit slower and aloud. (It has always helped my students when they were having trouble understanding concepts that were difficult for them.)

Trolls are out in force! Firearms aren't new, this phenomenon is. What's changed?

The proliferation of firearms. Regardless, it matters not. We don't understand how to change people's minds - but we can limit their ability to destroy.

You’re not an intellectually honest person. If you really thought that controlling the weapon of choice of a murderer was the answer, you would call for the confiscation of ALL weapons - including cars. But your REAL issue is that you see no use in guns and you are afraid of them, therefore you call for your mommy and daddy (aka the government) to take the “bad” toy away because you don’t like it. Grow up. There is a very good reason the citizens of the USA demanded that any government that is given permission to operate in this country will not touch God-given rights. Understand history, take a firearm class, arm yourself, and then start taking responsibility for yourself and your family. Stop trying to control things (or expecting others to control things) that you can’t and won’t take the time to understand.

"the citizens of the USA demanded that any government that is given permission to operate in this country will not touch God-given rights." Please cite the scripture in which "God" gives the assault-weapon right to the American people. Thanks.

You almost never fail to disappoint. Skewed statistics to reach a skewed conclusion to divide the public. Reasonable Americans want reasonable gun control and protection of 2nd Amendment rights. It's such a shame you can't understand that and keep stirring the pot. Shame

Reasonable Americans don’t want gun control at all! They want people to control themselves. Idiots want people to think their non-sensical demands are “reasonable”. When, in truth, they’re illogical at best and dangerous at worst. If you had even a tiny bit of honesty, you would be calling for the outlaw of planes, cars, knives AND guns. But, because of your fear of guns and your familiarity with the former, you call for gun “control” rather than behavior “control”. YHere’s your sign.

Unique American traits, lying by intentionally manipulated statistics and "Punching Down".

How sad that you did not look up these stats yourself, but rather refer to an “opinion” piece. I did look these stats up - and this writer could have added quite a few more to prove her point!

By all means move.

Facts hurt don't they?

"by prying them out of our cold, dead, hands" and you had better believe it ! The SECOND AMENDMENT goes when our U.S. Constitution goes.... AND THEN, the "French Revolution" will merely seem like only a minor fracas: There will be no safety ANYWHERE in the "streets". BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU YEARN FOR,.... IT WILL OVERWHELM YOU AND CHANGE ALL OF YOUR LIVES FOREVER ! IT WILL BE THE "FOUNDING FATHERS" WORST HORRORS COME TO FRUITION.......! (The "genie" will be "out of the box"...forever afterward..) {CURB your video-game playing kids, or they will be "greasing the slide" toward your 'ignorant' demise..}

YES, YES, YES. videos games are the cause of this evil act. You never seem to amazed me with your ignorance.

Yes, Yes, Yes. Send your "little charges" outside to learn how to "get along with others"; and if you're very lucky, they might even turn out like me (someone who cares about them), rather than like you..."rubbing your fat belly, praying for legalized marijuana..."

Nancy, great to hear you are listening to NPR. "Car Talk" is one of the best programs ever. Part of Making America Great Again! has to be public safety and an end to all these mass shootings. Crazy people plus guns. We cant fix crazy, but we can stop the proliferation of guns. Most of these police shootings are because the cop thinks/expects the suspect to be carrying a gun and can you blame them?

Thank you for an intelligent post! You said that you can’t stop crazy, but you can stop the proliferation of guns. Well, there are two major flaws with your logic: 1. You are assuming that if you make guns illegal, then murderers will be deterred because they a) can’t find a weapon to kill with and /or b) the law itself will stop the perpetrator. Obviously a murderer will find a weapon - car, plane, knife, bomb, etc. Any psychiatrist knows that when someone is intent on murder - they WILL find a way to carry out their intentions with anything at hand. These are not crimes of opportunity where a gun just happened to be lying around, they are premeditated and intentional. These types of murderers will murder whether they have a gun or a knife or a car. (Please read the book “On Killing” It is an absolute eye opener.) Secondly, you are also assuming that making something illegal prevents the use and spread. You have only to look at a few cases to know how crazy this idea is. Just look at the current drug situation. It is illegal, yet you can visit any town, city, place in the USA and readily get the drug of choice. Another example would be the era of prohibition. That ridiculous law created criminals and gangsters out of normal people. (Which always happens when you criminalize something that is not innately interfering with the rights of another.) But the best example is when the Nazi regime criminalized helping Jews. Even though it was illegal and meant your life, people helped anyway. Laws are not a deterrent - punishments can be. But if the death penalty is not a strong enough deterrent to a murderer, I assure you that the death penalty will not deter a murderer who also happens to have an illegal gun. Banning an item that is perfectly moral to have - until it infringes on the life of someone else (like alcohol, drugs, guns, etc) -creates nasty black markets and an out of control government. I would think twice before trying to throw this country down that road!

There are over 330 million firearms in the US, which by the way, it is a fact that the more firearms there are, the less crime there is. Horrible generalization of our men and women in blue. Don't commit the crime and you won't do the time.

Spoken like an ignorant Black racist "Joe"... Stop perpetuating the myths (or you'll never get invited to a "backyard beer" amelioration session...).

It's amazing how you can skew the statistics by changing the perimeters. Bet if we include 1999 and Columbine, those numbers change a little in our favor. I get it. Nancy. You're a gun loving NRA supporter. I have a couple too. But I refuse to support any organization who's against common sense gun laws.

Your version of common sense is not common, nor does it make sense! You can keep calling your agenda common sense - but common people aren’t falling for it any more. Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything - including rhetoric like this.

"CONGRATULATIONS "BobH" !... annd, HERE'sssss YOUR SIGNnnnn (It says "STUPID")... ["ignorant" had too many letters, and you would have needed an interpreter)

Lies, damned lies and statistics. The figures look very different if you change the years of the study (say, 1999 to the present), the number of incidents (Norway, for example) has had only one), number of school shootings, etc.


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nancy smith

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