Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tracking Mass Shootings

Almost two years ago, on January 9, 2011, I showed a chart on mass shootings in the United States for a century, by decades (link). My method for making that chart is explained there and incorporated by reference here; to say the least, it is a little rough. But having done it, I find that updating it now has become easier. The media have caught up and now list such things in easily countable ways. A good example is this article in the Washington Post counting shootings for 2012 (link). Using that source and others, I have now updated my chart and show it again.


The last time around the count of mass shootings for the second decade of the twenty-first century, which has a ways to go yet, was just two events. In the following two years, the first three years of this decade have already managed to exceed all the shootings that took place in the previous decade. As things now trend, the current decade will turn in another record.

Posts like this one can only show the cultural weather. What to do about it is the job of the individual. My own sense is that this phenomenon is, ultimately, the consequence of very broad social/cultural trends, the advance of decadence. In effect it is vastly greater than individuals, even when they organize. Therefore the outlawing of firearms—and a coinciding forcible collection and destruction of them—would probably only have a lessening effect—if such moves were even in the cards. If we look across the world, we see that there are many other ways to kill the innocent, already in active use by individuals, groups, and governments. One man’s semi-automatic is another’s IUD and yet another’s drone.

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