The Union Creek Journal

A Chronicle of Survival

Mourning the Loss of Innocents – A History Lesson on Mass Shootings

As we pause to remember the victims of the Newtown, CT shooting and pray for those left behind, let us also pause for a brief history lesson related to mass gun violence and the failure of legislative and regulatory attempts to stop it.

First, as painful as each and every mass shooting is (The FBI defines mass murder as ‘murdering a large number of people [four or more], typically at the same time or over a relatively short period of time’), mass shootings are relatively rare in the United States. Over the past three decades, the U.S. has experienced 62 mass murders where the primary weapon was a firearm. Even one shooting is one too many, but in terms of real frequency, the occurrence of mass shootings is quite low.

Since the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1990, the preponderance of mass shootings have taken place in gun-free zones. Grade Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Universities, Government Buildings and private buildings with “no guns” signs posted …. These are the havens of mass murderers. Of the 54 mass shootings since the Gun-Free Schools Act passed in 1990, 21 were in schools, government buildings, places of worship or other buildings legislatively designated as gun-free zones. Most of the other shootings were in private locations posted as “gun-free” (e.g. Westroads Mall in Omaha, NE, the theater in Aurora, CO ) or in states (e.g. Illinois and California) with extensive and prohibitive gun ban legislation.

Finally, “assault weapons” bans (and gun bans, in general) don’t work, period. Two key pieces of evidence demonstrate this. First, weapons labeled as “assault weapons” are rarely used in mass shootings. In more than 60% of mass shootings, the firearm was a semi-automatic handgun that did not qualify as an “assault weapon” as defined by the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Second, the period from 1994 – 2004, while the ban was in effect, was just as violent, in terms of mass shootings, as were the periods from 1982 – 1994 and 2004 – 2012. Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Research Council (NRC) studied the Assault Weapons Ban and other gun control legislation and determined that neither had any real or discernible impact on gun violence.

As we reflect on the loss related to the shooting in Connecticut, my hope is that any discussion of limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens will be met with calm and logic based upon the facts above. Banning guns is not the answer. As a country, we’ve tried it without success. The definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein, is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If we want different results. If we want to reduce the number of mass murders, or eliminate them altogether, we must look more deeply into our country’s social fabric. We must ask “why” over and over again until we reach the root of the matter. I have some thoughts on the subject – perhaps I’ll discuss them in another post. The solution won’t involve knee-jerk, quick fix legislation. The solution will take time, perhaps decades, and will be painful in and of itself. True change never comes easily.

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16 thoughts on “Mourning the Loss of Innocents – A History Lesson on Mass Shootings

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  1. announced gun free zones implies a target rich envrionment of innocent humans available to the evil minded.
    chicago-a gun free area-
    has 340 dead so far this year in central chicago, well, that’s not important to the media. too few per day to matter.
    go figure – well liberals can figure, and captialize on misfortune.

  2. OregonRose on said:

    A very sad thing happened at Sandy Hook School. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the young innocent lives that were taken. Your entry today is very thought provoking and very informative with the various statistics.

    However, in saying that, today while watching the morning news California’s Diane Feinstein was on saying how she is going to propose a new legislation on gun control and she will do everything in her power to get President Obama to sign it into effect. Having a ban on guns will not stop people from doing this type horrible act again and again. As you mentioned, we have to get to the root of why and stop it right then and there.

    • Yes, Feinstein, Obama and their comrades will try to push through gun control that does nothing but take away the rights of law-abiding citizens. Feel free to copy and paste my blog post into letters or e-mails to your Senators and Representatives. Every one of them needs to know that we support them in their fight to support the Second Amendment or will hold them accountable if they do nothing to prevent our loss of rights or, even worse, participate in taking away those rights.

      E-mail your elected representatives today!

  3. Vaya Con Dios to those who died!
    I had not realized that the school shooting had coincide with the making of schools gun free zones! I fear this will be the straw that breaks the camels back. People are not thinking they are just feeling. I fear irrevocable damage maybe done in the backlash.

  4. Are you sure Costas has the mental ability to actually understand American English?

  5. I agree Mud and I wondered if anybody else noticed that these cowards like to attack places that insure no one will be able to shoot back. When the first responders arrived the coward realized he couldn’t escape, he didn’t have the courage to stand and fight or face the consequences. But I am afraid that this nation has lost the independent spirit and want to become sheep and not to have to rely on their own logic. The true Americans are becoming out numbered by lazy non thinking masses that when and if they ever wake up it will be too late!

  6. Gun free zones equal target gathering zones…

  7. All these laws do is assist criminals commit there crimes. Our politicians are as much murderer’s as the freaks that pull the trigger ‘s. And that’s by there laws.

  8. Very well written and backed up with facts. Please forward to Bob Costas.

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