Are Mass Murders Unique To The United States?
Every time there’s a mass shooting, someone on the left goes on about how these are uniquely American. They say that other countries don’t have these problems, and since the statistics aren’t exactly easy to find with a quick Google search. What you do find, depending on what you actually type as your search string, are usually articles claiming it’s as All-American as baseball and apple pie.
But is it? Well, it doesn’t look like it is.
Former President Barack Obama, for example, declared after the 2015 shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., that left nine people dead and three injured “this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”
He went on to say, “It does not happen with this kind of frequency.”
The implication was that the U.S.’s relatively laissez faire approach to gun control is at fault.
According to Politifact, the first sentence was incorrect, noting that between 2000 and 2014 there were 23 incidents of mass shootings in ten other countries besides the United States; though, it added, the second sentence was “not quite as wrong as the first claim.”
The more commonly accepted measure of crime is events per 100,000 population or dead per 100,000. Even then, the U.S. is only fourth on the list of mass-murder deaths per 100,000 people (0.15) compared to #3, Finland (0.34), #2, Norway (1.3), and #1, Switzerland (1.7).
Mass murders (as well as the far common ordinary murders) are disproportionately committed by persons with severe mental illness problems, whose actions are clearly a consequence of those problems—and the U.S. is not alone in suffering from the consequences of their actions, whether they involve firearms or not.
For many people, it is a surprise to find out that there are many mass murders committed with weapons other than firearms.
“A third of mass murders didn’t involve guns at all. In 15 incidents, the victims died in a fire. In 20 others, the killer used a knife or a blunt object,” the newspaper reported.
And let’s be clear here, if a third of all mass murders involve weapons other than guns, there’s no reason to assume a total ban on any type of gun–or even guns in general–would stop the murder.