Saturday, June 25, 2016

More on Gun Violence Archive

In a follow up to yesterday's post...

The Gun Violence Archive is claiming to be a non-partisan repository of "gun violence" and also states that they are not taking sides, but want to encourage debate. They are being used to support the fantasy that the USA has had over 1,000 mass shootings in the past 1,260 days.

In order to have an unbiased discussion about mass shootings, it is helpful to agree on a definition. The Congressional Resource Service (pdf warning), an office of the Congress of the United States, uses the same definition as the FBI:
There are three categories of these types of incidents:

Mass Murder/shooting-
These are incidents occurring in relatively public places, involving four or more deaths—not including the shooter(s)—and gunmen who select victims somewhat indiscriminately. The violence in these cases is not a means to an end—the gunmen do not pursue criminal profit or kill in the name of terrorist ideologies, for example.

Spree killing/shooting-
A spree killer is differentiated by the shooter killing in multiple locations over a relatively short period of time.

Serial killer-
A serial killer is a spree killer who kills over a long period of time, ranging from days to even decades.

Let's look at the accuracy of that claim and the accuracy of the data. Here is the "mass shooting page" of the Gun Violence Archive. The first few shootings are listed as:

June 22, 2016WashingtonLacey500 block of Dutterow Road31
June 21, 2016KentuckyLouisville2802 Rodman Street22
June 19, 2016VirginiaRoanoke2328 Melrose Avenue04
June 18, 2016VirginiaExmoreFredrick Douglas Road13
June 18, 2016GeorgiaWaycross2625 Arnold Ct22
June 18, 2016IllinoisChicagoEast 79th Street and South Escanaba Avenue04
June 14, 2016DelawareWilmingtonSouth Van Buren and Elm streets04
June 14, 2016CaliforniaOakland1301 Franklin Street13
The first thing that we notice is that they are NOT using the same definition for "mass shooting" as the US Congress or the FBI. If I were to guess, I would suspect that they are using the much looser definition of the Bloomberg funded anti-gun groups, which are using the definition of "any shooting involving 3 or more people whether or not all of them are killed, or even shot." In other words, they don't get the desired results, so they move the goalposts.

Let's look at the first incident on the list: It is a case where 4 people shot each other inside of a meth lab.

The second listed incident involved 4 family members in the same house. Another version of the same incident gives two of the victims' names. I looked up the first name, and what do you know, he is a violent felon with a long history of arrests for drugs, violence, and firearms violations. I'm betting that drugs are involved. Even so, only two killed, not in a public place, victims not random= not a mass shooting.

The third shooting on the list occurred in Roanoke, Virginia. That location has had three shootings in the past few months. Still, no one was killed, so not a mass shooting.

The fourth shooting listed was a man who was targeting individuals over a large area. He drove around and shot 4 different people, but still not a mass shooting.

The fifth shooting on the list still isn't a mass shooting, but one thing that I do want to note is from this story about the shooting:
A father of seven and a woman are dead after a weekend shooting at the Garlington Heights apartments in Waycross, Georgia.
Waycross police said Cameron Wilkins Jr., 21, and Felicia Williams, 32, were killed Saturday. The two people who were injured were not named.
Cameron was recently released from jail and was trying to get his life on track, according to his family.
Aren't they always? These are not mass shootings. They are just criminals taking each other out over gang affiliations or drug turf.

The anti gun crowd knows that most people don't care if one gang member or drug dealer takes out another. So, just like the confusion between machine guns and AR-15s, they hope to redefine the term "mass shooting" into something else, no they can mislead an uninformed electorate into voting for something that they don't want.


m4 said...

Err, does that mean that a terrorist attack is not a mass shooting? Just saying that Orlando and Paris look an awful lot like mass shootings, but appear to be excluded from the definition used.

Divemedic said...

That is correct. A terrorist attack is not a mass shooting, because terror attacks get their own category, for the same reason that the 9/11 attacks were not classified as a plane crash.

The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

m4 said...

It's more like saying a 9/11 wasn't a hijacking. We're using legal definitions, but I feel it's being a bit dishonest. If we want to talk about "bad things done with guns" then we should include terrorist attacks that were committed with guns. It might not be the proper definition, but for the purposes of the discussion these figures get used in it is relevant and possibly more appropriate. If you're worried about blurring the definition then include it and declare it correctly (or list it separately).

Still doing a better job than these morons though.

Divemedic said...

They aren't my definitions, they are the FBI's. Take it up with them. We don't get to make up our own definitions, any more than the anti-gun forces do.
Let's face it, there is a difference between a terrorist attack and a nutjob who snaps and kill his boss. In that the killer has a different motive, the solution to each and the approach to dealing with each is different. In one case, we are talking about a mental health issue, and in the other, there is a political component. A solution to one is not going to be effective with the other. This is why the FBI places them in different categories.

m4 said...

I'm aware they're the FBI's definitions. The problem is that "technically true" and "right" are very different things. Perhaps you recall all those church officials who allowed child abuse to continue because it wasn't their job to deal with it? It's "technically true", there were designated people who were supposed to deal with such things, but we all know that it wasn't "right".

If a bunch of people being shot by a person they aren't supposed to be shot by doesn't make the list of shootings, you're abusing your statistics. Besides, the solution is always the same: