A few days ago I saw this article on Twitter, and it opened my eyes (already open to a painful degree) about the absolutely amazing and broken way that the US treats the distressingly common mass shootings there.
As anyone that isn’t American knows, generally people don’t shoot each other. At all. But in the US, as that article says, the Lafayette theatre shooting was the 204th mass shooting (generously defined below as shooting 4 or more people in one incident) in the US this year, which happened to land on the 204th day of the year. Yeah.
Some of the most telling observation comes from a site that article linked to, a site called the Mass Shooting Tracker which was started by a bunch of Redditors in an effort to raise the publicity of these horrendous crimes, which seem to come and go without any fanfare from the media in the US. From that site’s wiki page:
The most obscene incidents of gun violence usually do not make the mainstream news at all. Why? Because their definition is incorrect. The mainstream news meaning of “Mass Shooting” should more accurately be described as “Mass Murder”.
The old FBI definition of Mass Murder (not even the most recent one) is four or more people murdered in one event. It is only logical that a Mass Shooting is four or more people shot in one event.
Here at GrC, we count the number of people shot rather than the number people killed because, “shooting” means “people shot”.
For instance, in 2012 Travis Steed and others shot 18 people total. Miraculously, he only killed one. Under the incorrect definition of mass shooting, that event would not be considered a mass shooting! Arguing that 18 people shot during one event is not a mass shooting is absurd.
I find this amazing, and sad. So, kudos to these folks for doing their best to change the status quo and I sincerely hope that somewhere along the way someone finally listens.
The Independent article sums things up for the rest of the world watching in sadness and amazement:
“Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard [mass shootings] the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing,” The Economist wrote in response to the Charleston massacre. “This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.”
Since I do travel there for work regularly, but thankfully not that frequently, that sums things up more or less just as I see things. Heaven forbid someone even mentions those two words guaranteed to start an argument: “gun control”
The Onion once again has the final word, as they wrote more than a year ago:
‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens