DATA DRIVEN VIEWPOINT: Mother Jones has a great article on mass shootings in America that everyone should read. Please go to http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map to read the article. Below are a few helpful graphics from the article that everyone should know. Too much political spin clouds the debate over gun violence in the US which crowds out so much of the facts.
A Guide to Mass Shootings in America
Sources: Research by Mother Jones. (With thanks to the Associated Press, Canada.com, and Citizens Crime Commission of NYC.)
We used the following criteria to identify cases of mass murder:
- The killings were carried out by a lone shooter. (Except in the case of the Columbine massacre and the Westside Middle School killings, both of which involved two shooters.)
- The shootings happened during a single incident and in a public place. (Public, except in the case of a party in Crandon, Wisconsin, and another in Seattle.) Crimes primarily related to armed robbery or gang activity are not included.
- The shooter took the lives of at least four people. An FBI crime classification reportidentifies an individual as a mass murderer—as opposed to a spree killer or a serial killer—if he kills four or more people in a single incident (not including himself), and typically in a single location.
- If the shooter died or was hurt from injuries sustained during the incident, he is included in the total victim count. (But we have excluded cases in which there were three fatalities and the shooter also died, per the previous criterion.)
- We included six so-called "spree killings"—prominent cases that fit closely with our above criteria for mass murder, but in which the killings occurred in multiple locations over a short period of time.
For more on how we determined the criteria, read this follow-up story, which includes a telling account from a mass shooting survivor.
Here are two charts detailing the killers' weapons (mouse over the bars for the numbers):
Source: Mother Jones
Source: Mother Jones