The Federal Bureau of Investigation is misleading the public about mass shooter incidents to such an extent that it appears its attempting to forward a political agenda.
Alright, allow me to explain myself and provide you with some evidence so you don’t think I’m blowing hot air. Last month, the FBI released a study claiming that from 2000 to 2013, “Active shooter incidents are becoming more frequent—the first seven years of the study show an average of 6.4 incidents annually, while the last seven years show 16.4 incidents annually.”
Now, this wasn’t the only finding in the study, but it was certainly the finding that the mainstream media picked up and focused on. The reason this finding made the headlines, though it doesn’t really need to be spelled out, is because by and large the media is sympathetic to the gun-control movement, and the notion that active shooter incidents are becoming more common not only affirms what many gun-control advocates believe it also aids them in pushing an anti-Second Amendment agenda.
Of course, there is a question of whether or not it’s true. Are active shooter situations drastically on the rise?
The short answer is no, not to the extent the FBI would like us to believe. As John Lott, the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, pointed out in an informative article titled “The FBI’s Bogus Report on Mass Shootings,” the reality is “mass public shootings have only risen ever so slightly over the last four decades.”
Lott comes to this conclusion by doing the work that the FBI failed to do. In other words, Lott looks at all the data going back to 1977 whereas the FBI purposely omitted certain incidents in earlier years (starting in 2000) and added non-mass shootings in later years to manufacture the conclusion that it wanted, i.e. active shooter incidents are on the rise.
But Lott is known to be a pro-gun guy. He authored the book, “More Guns, Less Crime,” which is one of the best arguments for the pro-gun cause. With that in mind, one can argue that his reading of the report is biased. So, I did what any reasonable journalist would do, I sought out a second opinion.
Enter James Alan Fox, Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law & Public Policy at Northern University. Fox is certainly not a gun-rights advocate. In the past, he’s expressed support for various gun-control measures, including limiting magazine capacity. I asked Fox what he thought of the FBI’s findings. Here’s what he had to say in an email to GunsAmerica (emphasis added):
“First of all, these are active shooter events, not mass shootings. About one-quarter killed no one, and the majority killed fewer than 3, the newly lowered threshold for mass killing.
Unlike mass killings, there is no routine data source for active shooters. Many were identified by searching news archives, which have expanded in recent years. It is not clear whether the increase in active shooter events is completely related to the actual case count or at least partially to the availability and accessibility of news reports to identify such events, particularly those where few if any victims died. Do you really believe that the mass murder of 6 in Wakefield, MA was the only episode on 2000?
I certainly do think that the focus on active shooters is important for law enforcement and their preparedness. However, these events are exceptionally rare and not necessarily on the increase. It is critical that we avoid unnecessarily and carelessly scaring the American public with questionable statements about a surge in active shooter events.”
You’ll notice that Fox had a similar complaint as Lott did: only one active shooter in 2000? That seems to be a gross misrepresentation of the truth.
What’s interesting though is that the FBI covered its butt upon releasing the report. See, it knew that the report was shoddy, hence this shockingly asinine disclaimer in the report. Here’s an excerpt:
“This is not a study of mass killings or mass shootings, but rather a study of a specific type of shooting situation law enforcement and the public may face…The study does not encompass all mass killings or shootings in public places and therefore is limited in its scope. Nonetheless, it was undertaken to provide clarity and data of value to both law enforcement and citizens as they seek to stop these threats and save lives during active shooter incidents.”
Are you kidding me?
How does a study that is critically “limited in its scope” offer “clarity and data of value”? Moreover, how does the FBI make a judgement on the putative increase in active shooter incidents when it admittedly doesn’t have all the data?
You either include all of the available information and do an honest, empirical evaluation of the numbers or you don’t do one at all! That’s not only Research 101, but it’s common sense!
Instead of publishing an honest report the FBI opted to manipulate the available data to create a narrative that these incidents are on the rise. The question is why? Why is the FBI misleading the public about active shooters?