Most Read: Opinions

direct signup

Today’s Opinions poll

Would you use an app that tells you the partisan affiliation of products you're considering buying?

Submit
Next
Review your answers and share

Join a Discussion

Weekly schedule, past shows

Right Turn
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 07/25/2012

Getting real with mass murder stats

As I’ve noted before, liberals make up the most outrageous things about gun control. Especially on TV.

The Post now confirms that one of the liberal talking points — mass murders are up! — isn’t true. The report tells us:

The statistics on mass murder suggest it is a phenomenon that does not track with other types of violent crime, such as street violence. It does not seem to be affected by the economy or by law enforcement strategies. The mass murderer has become almost a stock figure in American culture, someone bent on overkill — and, so often, seemingly coming out of nowhere.
The United States experienced 645 mass-murder events — killings with at least four victims — between 1976 and 2010, according to Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox. When graphed, these incidents show no obvious trend. The numbers go up and down and up again. The total body count: 2,949.

This is consistent with the hypothesis that to get at mass murder you have to get at the mental state and illness of those who simply aren't going to be deterred by gun laws.

We know gun laws are ill-suited to deter the mass murderers:

“Mass killers are extremely deliberate and determined and, no pun intended, dead set on murders,” said [James Alan]Fox, whose books include “Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder.” “They will find the weapons they need regardless of what impediments we put in front of them. It’s not an impulsive act.”

So with all this evidence out there to the contrary, why does the left insist that gun crimes and mass murders are up, and gun control would “help”? Some advocates are just dishonest and should know better. But I think much of it is explained by liberals’ religiou- like faith in government and in the ability of legislation to control and even perfect the human condition. It’s not conceivable to them that there wouldn’t be an easy fix, prevented from enactment by the sinister forces of the right.

Unfortunately, we have plenty of evidence that our current criminal justice system is reducing crime and that the subset of mass murderers requires a different approach. I’ve suggested that the constant in these cases, namely the sort of killer (single, young, male, depressed or suffering from schizophrenia), should point us in the direction of improving our mental health system. But there again, we’re not going to diagnose or cure them all. That’s scary. And it’s true.

By  |  12:00 PM ET, 07/25/2012

Categories:  law

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company