Adam Lankford, barack obama, Bill Whittle, Crime Prevention Research Center, data and methadology sharing, Everytown for Gun Safety, John R. Lott, John Stossel, Kemberlee Kaye, Legan Insurrection, NPR, Sandy Hook
It is an article of faith on the left that America is a uniquely violent nation. The Second Amendment, they are sure, ensures the mass slaughter of innocents at rates grossly exceeding the rates of violence in other, more enlightened and civilized nations. This was a favorite trope of the progressive Messiah, Barack Obama, but he is far from the only voice crying out to make America like the rest of the civilized world. God forbid.
But as I wrote in College: Logic and Common Denominators in December of 2015, the invaluable Bill Whittle revealed that America is not at the top of the list in national violence. We’re not even in the top 100. Our actual position? In 2012, 111. Honduras was number 1. I suspect the relative positions have changed little since then, but Venezuela has probably climbed the list a bit.
A 2016 study by academic Adam Lankford followed the progressive narrative, as The Washington Times reports:
A shock 2016 study argued that the U.S. accounted for nearly one-third of all mass shootings, sparking global headlines about the dangers of an American gun culture.
Now another researcher says the original study ‘botched’ the data.
John R. Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, crunched the numbers and said his count shows that the U.S. had less than 3 percent of the world’s mass public shootings over a 15-year period.
That is smaller than the 4.6 percent of the world’s population that the U.S. accounts for — and way less than the 31 percent of global mass shooters that Adam Lankford, a professor at the University of Alabama, claimed in his widely publicized studies.
Dr. Lott, an economist, whose Crime Prevention Research Center is authoritative, is often attacked by anti-liberty/gun forces, who scream that he is wrong and biased, but cannot point to why or how. The honest among them have occasionally admitted they don’t like his conclusions, but they can’t fault his methodology. In other words, his research can be trusted. In addition, he always makes his methodology and data sets available upon request. This is the minimum required in science, a minimum most anti-liberty “researchers” fail to meet.
‘If you fix the data, you get the opposite result from him,’ Mr. Lott said. ‘He has the United States way out there, all by itself in terms of mass public shootings. He’s simply wrong. The United States, when I go through this, ranks 58th in the world in the rate of mass public shootings and 62nd in the world in terms of murders from mass public shootings.
Surely Lott is making this up? Surely Lankford was delighted to share his data so it could be independently confirmed?
Mr. Lott said he tried to get Mr. Lankford to disclose his data but the professor won’t share it with him or other researchers, making it impossible to double-check the original claims or to figure out why Mr. Lott’s numbers are so different.
That’s standard operating procedure for anti-liberty researchers. For a more in-depth confirmation, go here for a John Stossel video report on Lankford’s study and his lack of academic integrity/ The media, as one might imagine, was anxious to parrot his results:
Mr. Lankford’s research, first released in 2015 and presented to the American Sociological Association in 2016, garnered stories from The New York Times, Newsweek, CNN and The Washington Post, among dozens of others, that said it was proof, as CNN put it, that ‘the U.S. has the most mass shootings.
Using limited sources from 1966 to 2012, Langford claimed the US had fully 31% of the world’s “mass shootings,” defined as four or more killed in a single incident. Remember, one has to take Lankford’s word for it. He refuses to share his data and methodology, which did not bother the media in the slightest.
Mr. Lankford, who claimed to be the first to attempt a global survey, said his results suggested there was something to the American psyche that left people disaffected when they failed to achieve the American dream. He said they turn to violent outbursts with firearms.
‘It may thus be the lofty aspirations and broken dreams of a tiny percentage of America’s students and workers — combined with their mental health problems, distorted perceptions of victimization, delusions of grandeur, and access to firearms — that makes them more likely to commit public mass shootings than people from other cultures,’ he postulated in his 2015 paper.
There you go. It’s America’s fault, that and those darned deplorables who, when they become disaffected by their failure to achieve the leftist(?) American dream, immediately take up arms and slaughter innocents. We’re so deranged, we Americans, not at all like the rest of the civilized world.
Mr. Lott, meanwhile, turned to data from the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database and followed up with Nexis and web searches to try to catch cases that the database missed.
He said good data exist only for recent years, so he looked from 1998 to 2012 and found 1,491 mass public shootings worldwide. Of those, only 43 — or 2.88 percent — were in the U.S. Divide that by per capita rates, and the U.S. comes in 58th, behind Finland, Peru, Russia, Norway and Thailand — though still worse than France, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Looked at from the number of victims in those shootings, the U.S. again ranks low, with just 2.1 percent of mass shooting deaths, Mr. Lott said.
Come on! That’s not at all what Lankford, whose results the media loved, said. I bet Lott is hiding his methodology and data, like Lankford…
He has released a 451-page appendix detailing each of the shootings and his thoughts on how he classified it, and he shared his data with other academics, including, he said, Mr. Lankford.
Ooops. Guess not. But surely Mr. Lankford was anxious to defend his work?
The professor, though, told The Washington Times that he wasn’t going to get drawn into a back-and-forth over the issue.
‘I am not interested in giving any serious thought to John Lott or his claims,’ he said in response to an email seeking comment.
Hmmm. Imagine that.
Another professor, Carl Moody, an economist who studies crime at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, said Mr. Lott got it right.
‘When I saw John Lott’s paper, I went to the Global Terrorism Database … and counted the number of mass shootings in the U.S. compared to everywhere else. Lott is right,’ he said by email.
He added: ‘By the way, anybody can do this. The GTD database is free and available to all.
I wonder why Lankford, or the media, didn’t do that? It’s a mystery. And take a look at these charts from a Crime Research Center article:
Many Americans would be amazed not to find America at the top spot–or the fifth, or the tenth. Unfortunately, the truth doesn’t fit the preferred media narrative on guns and their owners, so this kind of accurate data is routinely hidden. Take the link for the complete article and data.
It’s also an article of Leftist faith that there is an epidemic of shootings happening in schools. Kemberlee Kaye at Legal Insurrection, explains:
Estimates on many gun-related incidents occurring on school property each year vary widely depending on the source and agenda. It’s a statistic that should be easy to find and accurate, particularly given that it’s one of the most contentious issues in American social and political discussion.
The number thrown around most — 240 — is alarmingly high. It’s also incorrect. By a lot.
How incorrect? National Public Radio, of all people, actually did real, old-fashioned investigative reporting, using high tech tools like phones, e-mail and actually talking to people, and honestly reported the truth.
This spring  the U.S. Education Department reported that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.” The number is far higher than most other estimates.
But NPR reached out to every one of those schools repeatedly over the course of three months and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the government’s Civil Rights Data Collection.
What’s happening is a variety of groups and even governmental agencies have wildly different definitions of what might comprise a school shooting incident. Virtually all err on the side of running up the score. In many cases, a shooting that happened anywhere near a school, or involved kids still in school, but nowhere near schools, have been called “school shootings.” It was the Civil Rights Data Collection that came up with the 240 figure. Even a virulently anti-liberty organization like Everytown For Gun Safety came up with a drastically lower figure:
For comparison, the Everytown for Gun Safety database, citing media reports, listed just 29 shootings at K-12 schools between mid-August 2015 and June 2016. There is little overlap between this list and the government’s, with only eight schools appearing on both.
That number has also been widely debunked. NPR continues:
Most of the school leaders NPR reached had little idea of how shootings got recorded for their schools.
For example, the CRDC reports 26 shootings within the Ventura Unified School District in Southern California.
‘I think someone pushed the wrong button,’ said Jeff Davis, an assistant superintendent there. The outgoing superintendent, Joe Richards, ‘has been here for almost 30 years and he doesn’t remember any shooting,’ Davis added. ‘We are in this weird vortex of what’s on this screen and what reality is.
Hmmm. How could the data be so wrong? Did those reporters breathlessly reporting the incredibly high numbers lack phones? Computers? Were they, unlike NPR, unable to ask simple questions, like “did this actually happen?” Why, one might almost think some people faked it for political purposes! Like what happened in Cleveland:
The biggest discrepancy in sheer numbers was the 37 incidents listed in the CRDC for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Roseann Canfora, the district’s chief communications officer, told us that, in fact, 37 schools reported ‘possession of a knife or a firearm,’ which is the previous question on the form.
The number 37, then, was apparently entered on the wrong line.
One more example from NPR (by all means, take the link and read the whole article):
Similarly, the CRDC lists four shootings among the 16 schools of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in California. Gail Pinsker, spokeswoman for the district, says that ‘going back 20-plus years,’ no one can remember any incident involving a firearm. Their best guess, she says, is that there was some kind of mistake in coding, where an incident involving something like a pair of scissors (California Education Code 48915[c]), for example, got inflated into one involving a firearm (48915[c]).
None of this—the lies, and the fact that American schools are generally quite safe—should be surprising. However, because the truth is so seldom published by the media, it comes as a surprise to many. Also unsurprising is the resistance of leftist-dominated government, and private organizations, to acknowledging the truth:
After we contacted the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified district about the four reported shootings, the district emailed the Office for Civil Rights to try to correct the information. No shootings happened, officials said.
The Office for Civil Rights responded on July 25:
‘The CRDC accepts correction requests for up to one year from the moment the submission period opens. For the 2015-16 collection, the corrections period closed on June 30, 2018, and for this reason your data correction request cannot be accepted. However, a data note will be included on the data file to ensure users are aware of the errors you are reporting.
So what does this mean?
We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports.
It’s probably fewer. Media reports are often exaggerated or wrong.
In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.
‘When we’re talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful,’ says Deborah Temkin, a researcher and program director at Child Trends.
It could indeed. Kaye wrote:
11 reported incidents are not chump change, and to the families who lost a loved one in a school shooting or related event, 11 is 11 too many. But dropped into the context of a population of over 300 million, 11 is minuscule.
Don’t trust democrats
It also explains why normal Americans—those that fully support the Constitution and recognize the vital role of law-abiding gun owners in the constitutional framework—don’t trust the government and the media: all too often they’re not only wrong, they’re knowingly deceptive.
That American schools are generally safe is a fortunate fact. What is unfortunate is that most of the adults responsible for the safety of the children in those schools refuse to take the single most effective means of deterring attacks and ending them when they occur: allowing willing staff to carry concealed handguns. Schools are safe, and the odds are generally with the kids and teachers, but the odds always fall against someone, and there is no reason those odds can’t fall against any school, anywhere.
The status quo, instead of the most effective deterrent and means of stopping an attack, is school security theater.