Time to “do something” about mass shootings

In the Pilot and across the media, we are hearing the calls again to “do something ” about mass shootings, and Len has pointed out that ese shootings have a far greater effect on our lives than the number of victims would indicate. So, let’s do what the number show us would do the most good, within the limits of the Constitution and reality.

John Lott, statistics on mass shootings

First, most of these mass shootings are accomplished with ordinary handguns. Not ARs. And most of those in which ARs were used, could have been just as deadly with those handguns(with the exception of the Vegas shooting) So, AR bans are not the solution.

But there is one change in the law that exceeds all other possibilities that the Constitution allows to mitigate mass shootings.

Lott finds that 34% of mass shootings are ended by armed citizens. This differs from FBI statistics because of some rather odd classification methods. For example, if a shooter is driven away or forced to shelter by an armed citizen, and later arrested by police, the FBI does not count that as stopped by the citizen. Lotts classification methods are explained in the link. As year by year the number of people carrying concealed has increased, so has the number of shootings stopped. 

But the overwhelming difference is that when properly categorized, the overall share of shooting stopped was 34%, but in areas where citizens can be legally armed, the percentage stopped by citizens rose to 59%. 

So, the number one thing we can do to reduce the number of people killed in mass shootings is to eliminate gun-free zones. 

52 thoughts on “Time to “do something” about mass shootings

      1. “Actually has nothing to do with gang shootouts.”

        The author makes a point of saying that the FBI data “does not include those it deems related to other criminal activity, such as a robbery or fighting over drug turf.” He says nothing about excluding those incidents from his data. Since he has identified significantly more mass shooter incidents than the FBI did, he must have included such shootouts. Either that or somehow the FBI missed dozens of incidents that met its criteria.

        When a “fact” is too good to be true you should be a little more skeptical in my opinion. In this case the “fact” that a huge proportion of mass public shootings are ended by a gun carrying citizen but, somehow, both the FBI and the media have missed it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If you look closely at the article, the discrepancy is the artifact of success.

          Lott counts cases in which the shooter intended a mass murder but was stopped before he reached the 4 shot threshold.

          The church shooting in which the shooter was shot dead after shooting only one other person was not counted even though had he not been stopped he would have shot until he ran out of ammo.

          But quibbling over a few cases one way or the other doesn’t change the fact that “gun free zones” are dangerous places to be.


          1. “But quibbling over a few cases one way . . .”

            It is hardly “quibbling” when there is an order of magnitude difference in the rate. I will believe the FBI reporting rather than a known gun mayhem apologist massaging the data. And, as I mentioned, it is too outlandish to believe that the FBI or the media have simply missed such a remarkable story.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Did you read the article?

            Lott explains the differences and his reference is the FBI data. Where is he in error?

            It is easy to miss stories you don’t want to find.


          3. Why do you find that so unlikely?

            There are 140 million Americans of whom 6 million have CHPs AND carry on a daily basis plus man others who carry when they feel they might need to.

            So in any crowd of 24 adults there should be one or more armed citizens ready to protect themselves and others.


          4. Yes, I read the article. It does not make clear why there was such a difference in the number of incidents. Just that the FBI is “wrong.” There is zero explanation for this amazing finding . . . “There were another 83 active shooting incidents that they missed.” Gang wars maybe?

            I find it highly improbable because I do not believe that the FBI has any reason to hide such a “fact” nor any reason for the media to pass on such sensational stories. The coverage given the young man who stopped the mall massacre shows they would be eager to cover other similar events.

            Call it ad hominem if you want, but Lott’s bias is well-known. He has an agenda and cannot be assumed to be objective.

            Finally, the overall conclusion is laughable. If more guns in the hands of citizens was the solution to gun violence we would be the safest country in the world instead of one of the worst.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. I don’t think it was a matter of the FBI trying to “hide” the truth, it is just that their classification system was arbitrary, and in a way that understates the value of armed citizens,

            The FBI only counts those cases where the mass shooter succeeds in meeting their arbitrary count of 4 people shot, so a case where a shooter gets taken out after he shoots 3 doesn’t get counted, even if his plan was to shoot 100.

            It may not be intentional but it systematically excludes successful interventions.

            Note that the article has a link to the entire FBI database so you can check the individual incidents if you want to,

            Of course Lott has a pro-self defense bias. If you follow the facts there is no other choice.


          6. “If you follow the facts there is no other choice.”

            Uh, that is bullshit. You may have your emotional reasons for your love of guns but pretending they make you or anyone safer is delusional. The facts are very clear – if you want to follow them – more guns means more gun violence. Period.

            But, let’s take it as given that guns are not going to go away and that ANY gun can be a vehicle for gun violence or mass murder, we are left with one avenue to reduce gun mayhem and that is far better control of who can have one. This means serious background checks on EVERY gun transaction. And that means treating gun owners and guns the way we treat drivers and automobiles. Licensing of the owners (based on safety training, background checks, and gun safe ownership) and up-to-date registration of the owner of each gun. There is no rational reason to oppose universal background checks. Which brings us back to the emotional reasons referenced above.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. It’s not emotional, it’s history.

            Registration enables confiscation.

            Aside from which, registration would only work with law abiding citizens. There are too many guns that never see a licensed firearms dealer.

            Some are legacy guns that trade only among criminals, and increasingly the cartels are smuggling guns from overseas. Lately, fully automatic 9mm submachine guns are showing up at gang shootings, Those have not been available legally in the US for over 30 years so they can only be coming in unlawfully. How do you propose to register those?

            The “solutions” you propose only affect those who are not the problem and enable eventual confiscation.


          8. “Registration enables confiscation.”

            Yeah, I know. The Gestapo will be coming for your toys.

            This sort of “argument” is why it is beyond pointless to cite evidence which overwhelmingly stands in opposition to the looney idea of arming even more people.

            Liked by 1 person

          9. Ever consider the possibility that you’re wrong?

            If you are, and some future regime does not want to leave office and has the ability to confiscate weapons one house at a time because we register, what is the road back?

            Take a look at China right now.

            Once we have forfeited our ability to withdraw our consent, government by the consent ot fht governed is just fancy words.


          10. “Ever consider the possibility that you’re wrong?”

            Back at you. People are dying because fanatics like you block improvements in the control of guns over such remote and unrealistic possibilities as they ones you obsess about.

            You “withdraw your consent” by voting the bums out. If we get to the stage where that is not possible the existence of a gun registry will not make a bit of difference. IMHO.

            Liked by 1 person

          11. Confiscate your weapons?

            OK, let’s get a bit more specific.

            Who is going to confiscate your guns and how will “they” accomplish that?

            Local police? Nah, they are your neighbors and a bunch won’t even enforce “unconstitutional” laws.

            National Guard? Nah again. The Governors have a say so in that. And the guardsmen are our neighbors.

            Same holds true for the military. Plus the culture of not using the military in domestic disputes is strong, as well as being illegal.

            FBI & BATF? Possibly, except the size of the forces are not nearly enough to knock on 100 million doors. And states are not going to let agents confiscate their own citizens’ guns.

            Remember, Trump advisor Flynn and a couple of lawyers wanted the president to declare martial law and have the military confiscate voting machines. The backlash by the more level headed squashed that. So the culture of avoiding civil strife or even war is very, very strong.

            Finally, if a brutal dictator did manage to get the bureaucracy, the military and enough local support, he won’t confiscate guns. He will just pull an Assad.

            “The Syrian city of Hama was the scene of a massacre in 1982 when President Hafez al-Assad, father of the current president Bashar al-Assad, razed the city to crush a Sunni rebellion, slaughtering an estimated 20,000 of his own people.

            Assad’s troops pounded Hama with artillery fire for several days and, with the city in ruins, his bulldozers moved in and flattened neighbourhoods.”


            Red Dawn fantasies couldn’t stop that.

            We have 400 million guns. If 90% are in law abiding and sane hands, that leaves 40 million among the nefarious folks. Even if 95%, the street guns will number 20 million. So confiscation would accomplish nothing.

            Bottom line: not much we can since the gun lobby has done a great job saturating our society with guns. And with that, 35k dead by bullets. Each year.

            IMO, the selling of the “take on the government“ scenario is very costly with no discernible benefits except for manufacturers and retailers.

            Liked by 2 people

          12. The Nazis selectively disarmed their enemies, something much easier today computerization.

            They don’t need that many Gestapo since they would go to only a few houses at a time.

            Couldn’t happen here? I’d like to believe that but then I never thought our news media would be demanding censorship.

            So, trust the government? Nope.


          13. Unless, of course, you were a Jew or other ‘enemy of the state’ which sounds a lot like ‘deplorables.’

            Oh my, another victim card! And if I were you I would not throw out that “enemy of the state” epithet since it reflects so clearly back on “your tribe.”


            But sure, Jews were deprived not only of their rights but also their lives and the well-armed citizenry of Germany did NOTHING with all those guns which – in your fantasies – are a bulwark agaisnt tyranny.

            Liked by 1 person

          14. You make my point.

            Yes, the well armed citizens of Germany did not come to the aid of the Jews.

            What better reason for them to have remained armed themselves?

            Paraphrasing ‘They disarmed the Jews but I did nothing because I am not a Jew.’


          15. “What better reason for them to have remained armed themselves?”

            Armed or not armed it would have made no difference.

            And is beside the point. Nazis came to power with political violence while a well-armed citizenry did nothing. Guns in the hands of ordinary people is not a safeguard against the tyranny of your imagination. NEVER has been. Our only safeguard against such tyranny is our votes, our Constitutional system, and a shared respect for the majesty of the law – something that your “tribe” has lost sight of.

            Liked by 1 person

          16. No difference?

            The Nazi’s disarmed the Jews shortly before Kristallnacht, the powerful Nazi war machine was still 18 months away. What might have gone differently had that act of terrorism and theft not happened or had met fierce resistance.

            Consider that years later the Waraw Ghetto held the Nazis at bey for weeks with a few antique handguns and rifles.

            You should not underestimate people fighting for their survival. Nor overestimate cowards who used respect for the law to disarm the people they planned for genocide.


          17. In October 2015, in response to comments made by Ben Carson, history professor Alan E. Steinweis wrote in a New York Times piece:

            “The Jews of Germany constituted less than 1 percent of the country’s population. It is preposterous to argue that the possession of firearms would have enabled them to mount resistance against a systematic program of persecution implemented by a modern bureaucracy, enforced by a well-armed police state, and either supported or tolerated by the majority of the German population. Mr. Carson’s suggestion that ordinary Germans, had they had guns, would have risked their lives in armed resistance against the regime simply does not comport with the regrettable historical reality of a regime that was quite popular at home. Inside Germany, only the army possessed the physical force necessary for defying or overthrowing the Nazis, but the generals had thrown in their lot with Hitler early on.”


            Seems to me the bigger threat is for a nationalist, populist leader to get the support of armed gangs recruited from police and military ranks posing as “militias” then incorporating them into a loyalist army.

            Liked by 2 people

          18. “You should not underestimate people fighting for their survival”

            The treatment of the Jews was only possible because they individually did not understand that they were to be murdered. Not even in cattle cars on the way to the death camps and certainly not in 1938.

            With all due respect, your tying your pig-headed opposition to effective control of guns to the Holocaust is beyond unseemly. IMHO.

            Liked by 2 people

          19. Enough German Jews, Einstein for example, saw the writing on the wall, Those who had the means and influence to get out did.

            That we failed to welcome them is our shame,


          20. Enough?

            Enough to do what? Your fantasies of a Jewish armed uprising thwarting the Third Reich are just that – fantasies. Almost everyone will choose hope and life over certain death. You will too when the government thugs come for your guns.

            Liked by 2 people

          21. Anti-Semitism is pretty well baked into many cultures. Witness the surges over the last decade in Soros and Jewish banker, media and entertainment references. “Jews will not replace us” is not just an idle lament by losers when they are recruited and encouraged by the right wing populists like Kessler, et.al., and Unite the Right type organizations.

            Liked by 2 people

          22. The Democrats never called anyone an enemy of the state. That is a GOP thing with Trump. He pushed the enemy status on media, Democrats and anyone who did not buy into his rhetoric including RINO’S.

            Liked by 2 people

          23. “‘enemy of the state’ ”

            That sounds more like the media under the previous administration.

            An attempt at projection so profound that the GOP has awarded you a gold star for doing it.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. Since armed citizens are supposedly reducing the number of casualties of mass shootings, you seem to be hinting that it is the duty of all to carry and be willing and able to shoot what appear to be active shooters.

    Thanks to the proliferation of guns, we may have little recourse. Of course, that makes us a nation that tells people we are so dangerous that grocery shopping without arms is not recommended. Or owning a business without armed guards is dangerous. Or worshipping requires guns while singing hymns, listening to a cantor, or citing the Koran on a prayer rug. Never mind the push for pistol packin’ pedagogues.

    This is like our fictional western frontier penny dreadfuls. On steroids.

    At least Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and the rest of the lawless states can now feel vindicated.

    “Hey, mi amigo, you are one of us now.”

    The fact of the matter is simply this: the 2nd Amendment is killing us…literally.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Let’s forget about the single-shootings and suicides for a minute and just think about mass shootings. Every time we have one, it’s always “too soon to talk about it.” Then, when it’s finally okay to talk about it, the solution is to have everyone in the crowd armed. It’s tiresome.

    When Sandy Hook happened and the only thing that was done was to accuse the parents of dead kids of being paid actors whose only purpose was to take away gunhumper’s guns, I knew it was over.

    An armed man walked into an elementary school at 9:30am. By 9:35am, 20 first graders, 7 teachers, and the shooter were dead. And the only question was, “why weren’t those teachers packin’ heat?” If they’d only had a gun on their hip, they coulda whipped it out and gunned down the shooter before he could have killed all 20 first graders.

    Deny it all you want, the Second Amendment was put in place to protect the “well regulated militias” in the south that were used as slave patrols. It’s now the cause of more American deaths than any army that ever marched. The sins of the fathers are being visited upon the sons.

    And Karma laughs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Principal at Sandy Hook had the courage to charge the gunman empty handed in an attempt to protect her students, and died bravely.

      I would have much preferred she had charged him behind a cloud of #2 shot.


          1. Shotgun? So teachers should have shotguns so near at hand, loaded and ready to shoot, they could take down a shooter within 5 minutes of an attack? Assuming that were true. And say she was a good enough shot, and she had killed before so there was no hesitation before she shot, and she had a position whereby the shot could be fired, and she hit the shooter square in the middle of his chest (and presumably didn’t take out any innocent bystanders), he still had enough time to get off a killing shot before he hit the ground.

            Either way, whether he gets off a shot or he doesn’t, a bloody gun battle has taken place in an elementary school just before Christmas vacation. Your vision of an America where people have to pack guns, and be ready to kill, in every place from schools to synagogs to movie theaters to grocery stores is not a place I want to live.

            Liked by 3 people

          2. First I am unaware of any instance of a woman defending children exhibiting the least hesitation.

            Second, getting even a half dozen #2 pellets anywhere might not kill the target, but it certainly cause him to lose interest in what he is doing.

            A gun battle in a school that kills the shooter and the defender and a couple of bystanders is still preferable to an unrestrained madman shooting until he runs out of ammo or targets.

            Do I wish we lived in a world where madmen didn’t kill innocents, sure, but that isn’t on the menu.

            So I prepare for the world we do live in.


          3. We could argue for days how we got here, but there have always been crazies.

            BTW, the worst school massacre wasn’t with a gun at all, the Bath School bombing of 1927


          4. So you think you are prepared to live in a world full of guns because you have one yourself?

            Okay, picture yourself coming out of the grocery store, headed for your car which is halfway across the parking lot. Say you are less than halfway to your car when two opposing gangs pick that time and place to have a shootout. You’re caught in the crossfire. Too far from the store to make a dash backwards. Not near enough to your car to get safely inside without getting shot. What do you do? Do you pull your gun and start firing? At that point, you aren’t the prime target of either side, but if you fire your gun, both sides will see you as an enemy. Do you just crawl under a car and hope the bullets miss or do you open fire, thinking you can kill everyone who is firing?

            It’s not “being prepared” that’s the problem. It’s what you have to prepare for that’s the problem. The more guns that are on the street, the more you are going to have to prepare for.

            “First I am unaware of any instance of a woman defending children exhibiting the least hesitation.”
            – Unless they are mentally ill, all human beings hesitate before killing. You may think you won’t, but you will. And two seconds will be too long.

            “Second, getting even a half dozen #2 pellets anywhere might not kill the target, but it certainly cause him to lose interest in what he is doing.”
            – Killing or not killing the shooter was not the question. He had already killed 20 kids and was going to kill himself anyway. The question was whether or not he had time to kill a person with a shotgun before he died. Answer: Yes, he did.

            “A gun battle in a school that kills the shooter and the defender and a couple of bystanders is still preferable to an unrestrained madman shooting until he runs out of ammo or targets.”
            – A madman with a gun ran out of targets and ammo within 5 minutes. There was no time to restrain him.

            Liked by 2 people

  3. Well we could also deploy Robocop too!!
    The New York Times: San Francisco Considers Allowing Use of Deadly Robots by Police.


      1. You are behind the times. Wasn’t it just a few years ago when that sniper in Dallas shot 5 policemen from a parking garage. They took him out with an armed robot I believe.

        Liked by 1 person

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