U.S. Outlier in Mass Public
Shooting Events, or Mass Shooters?

By Dean Weingarten. May 11, 2020
Article Source

In 2016 Adam Lankford of the University of Alabama, published a paper examining the distribution of mass shooting/mass shooters around the world. The published result was the United States had a disproportionate number of these rare events. Lankford's study showed the United States had 5% of the world's population, but 31% of the the mass shootings/mass shooters, as defined by Lankford. It has become clear that Lankford was looking almost exclusively at single perpetrators, though he included about 2% where two people were involved. Lankford excluded terrorist attacks he identified as "sponsored" terrorism, but included some terrorist attacks.

John Lott questioned Lankford's finding based on the definitions used in the paper, which treated mass shootings and mass shooters as equivalents, although it was not precisely clear which definition was of a higher priority.

There is a discussion by both sides featured in Econ Journal Watch from March of 2019. Here is a link to John Lott's and Carlisle E. Moody's critique and Adam Lankford's reply.

Lott and Carlisle's critique relies heavily on definitions. They show, if the definition used by the FBI in its 2014 active shooter report, referenced by Lankford, is rigorously followed, then Lankford's paper is misleading about mass public shootings in the rest of the world. .....

"It is bad policy to change society based on extremely rare events, events covered by an ideologically driven media to obtain a specific policy which media elites desire. It is as if, having exhausted homicide and suicide to justify restrictive gun controls, those who desire an unarmed society have turned to extremely rare events to justify their policy choices. It is a common way to manipulate the democratic process."


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