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Mass Shootings Without Gun Control December 23, 2015
Following the most recent mass shootings in Oregon and California it is clear that no action will be taken on gun control in the near future. In the Umpqua Community College mass shootings in Roseburg, Oregon, for example, 9 people were killed by a single gunman. In the San Bernardino, California mass shootings, 14 people were killed by two jihadi gunmen in an act of terrorism.
- Umpqua Community College http://q13fox.com/
There are a number of questions about mass shootings, some of which are intended to obfuscate while others reflect the complexity of the phenomenon. The number of mass shootings that have occurred over the years is unclear because of different definitions that have been used. Now, law enforcement agencies to tend refer to mass shootings as those in which four people were killed in one place or nearby places. In addition, there has been a decrease in the number of homicides as the number of mass shootings has increased.
This apparent contradiction is due to better policing (more police on the street and the better allocation of resources), societal changes (less alcohol use and an improving economy), and better emergency medicine procedures. At the same time, mass shootings occur less frequently. And thus, there have been more homicides due to mass shootings at a time when the overall number of homicides has decreased.
In light of the fact that no national gun safety legislation is about to pass, a question is how many deaths are likely to occur over the next 10 years. Using the data on mass shootings compiled by Mother Jones magazine, we project the number of homicides over the next 10 years. Between August 1982 and December 2015 mass shootings occurred on average every 169 days with the number of those injured plus those killed totaling 1138 victims. If we project out until December 2025 we can expect mass shootings approximately every 28 days. Between 2015 and 2025 there will be an expected 37 mass shootings, with an attack approximately every 98 days. If we assume that the attacks did not become more lethal than about 557 people will be killed or injured. In other words in a 10 year period between 2015 and 2025 the number of homicides and injured will equal those between 1982 and 2015.
The question then becomes will voters allow this much of an increase in gun violence to occur without some consequences for their elected officials. While there is no way to predict voter acceptance of this level of violence, there is every reason to believe that there will be some reaction against it.