FBI! (courtesy wikimedia.org)

Historically, the FBI Uniform Crime Report has been a more or less trustworthy source of crime data, depending as it does on the accuracy of crime-related data supplied by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Now, not so much. “”The FBI put out a clearly incorrect set of numbers on public shootings shortly before the November election last year,” claims John “More Guns, Less Crime” Lott “I have been reading FBI reports for 30 years and I have never seen anything like this .” He is shocked I tell you, shocked. “It is one thing for the Bureau of Justice Statistics or the National Institute of Justice to put out politically biased studies . . .


but there has always been a Chinese wall separating the FBI raw data collection from political pressures.” foxnews.com picks up the story (illustrated with photos of mass shootings, of course) . . .

FBI figures released last September appear to show so-called “mass shooter” attacks and deaths have dramatically increased since 2000. The report asserted there were a total 160 such incidents in public places between 2000 and 2013, with attacks dramatically increased to 17 in 2013 from just one in 2000. The statistics also showed murders jumping to 86 from just seven over the span.

But Lott’s group said a major flaw is the fact that the data was gleaned from news reports, and noted recent accounts were more accessible, and thus over-represented. Recent cases of the far more common “active shooting incidents” were added to legitimate cases of mass shooting incidents, making the more recent years covered by the report appear to have a large increase in both mass shootings and deaths from them.

So the Fibbies fibbed – well “misrepresented” the data – to pump-up the number of mass shootings to provide aid and comfort to organizations (including members of Congress and the White House) seeking to infringe upon Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Or did they . . . ?

James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law, and public policy at Northeastern University, agreed that the FBI numbers were being misinterpreted to overstate the incidents and risks of mass shootings. But he blamed the media, not the FBI.

“The media misinterpreted the report,” Fox said. “An active shooter incident is not the same as a mass shooting.”

Fox said using news reports to compile crime statistics is not a reliable method, and said his own research has found no upward trend in mass shootings.

“Since 1976, there have been ups and downs in incidents but there has been no trend upward or downward in mass shootings,” he said.

What’s the old saying? You’re entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts. The facts have nothing to do with the antis’ opinion that guns should be banned to protect Americans from people with guns. And that’s the name of that tune. [h/t Pascal]

47 Responses to Lott: FBI Cooking the Books on Mass Shootings

      • Major emphasis to the “on and on”. The nsa has all of us on one of their special lists. The dhs has us all labeled as “terrorists” because we believe in the Bill of Rights. Had the irs not gotten exposed I’m sure a good bunch of firearm enthusiasts would be given a “random” audit. On and on.

    • And where is the news on this? It is no surprise to me that this is going on. Remember he (obama) has a pin and a phone.

    • If the FBI, IRS, ATF, EPA etc. are the weapons, then who is the enemy wielding them, and who are the targets?

      Those are rhetorical questions. The answers are obvious.

      • Obama and gun owners.

        Oops, that was rhetorical! Just pretend you didn’t read my answer and silently put it back in your mind.

    • I can’t say that about ATF, they have no direction at all, simply out of control, organization needs to be put out of its misery. It’s looking like we may have to say that about the SS, too.

      • The USSS appears to be deficient in it’s performance. That’s different than the sort of political machinations we’re seeing elsewhere.

  1. Various org’s pull the same crap when collecting statistics on dog bites. They go straight for news stories and count them as fact.

    Using news reports as science that in turn shapes policy is nothing less than madness.

    • Shire-man: I agree on the dog attack reporting. There are many similarities between the politics banning certain dog breeds, mostly pit bull terriers, the last few years and banning guns, certain types of guns, etc.. Both groups seem pander to emotions and tweek the “facts” to try to get what they want. If an attack involves a pit bull type of dog there is a lot of emotional pandering in the news. If any other breed attacks a person or another breed of dog it is usually not on the national news radar at all. With guns if someone uses and AR-15 in an attack the news is far different than if someone uses another type of weapon or even another type of firearm. Both of these methods of reporting the news seem to start with a pre-determined bias towards either pit bulls or AR-15 type weapons. In either case the people reporting the incidents are attempting to prove their theories correct by slanting the news in direction of their own bias. More like propaganda than news.

    • Often misquoted and misunderstood. Twain was saying the MISUSE or MISUNDERSTANDING of statistics was no better than a lie. Here’s the actual quote:

      “”Figures often beguile me,” he wrote, “particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'””

      –Mark Twain, from his autobiography

      He’s basically saying that because HE does not do the work correctly himself, HIS result would nothing better than a lie.

      This is important to this particular article. The results are the results. Facts are facts. As John Alan Fox said (in the article), don’t confuse the media’s misinterpretation of data with the data itself.

      That is, as Mark Twain was saying, the incorrect representation of math/statistics is no better than a lie…not the actual math/statistics.

  2. Now if you asked me, I would say a rise in mass shootings should provoke MORE private gun ownership, not less.

  3. I have to agree with Professor Fox. The report is titled A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013.

    Did anyone – the gun grabbers, the media, our side – even bother to read the introduction to that report? To wit (page 5):

    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. Incidents identified in this study do not encompass all gun-related situations; therefore caution should be taken when using this information without placing it in context.

    Here’s the actual report.

    If you want to argue that the FBI made no effort to correct the misinterpretation/misapplication of the report? Then hey, maybe a case could be made for that. But the FBI itself did not mislead.

    • Nice catch, and worth remembering as an example of how our side can be just as susceptible to confirmation bias as anyone else. I’ll still take the UCR over any other source when it comes to crime data.

        • Well, you just called me an anti-Catholic racist yeaterday, without any evidence or cause. Unless you just consider the creation of a sound immigration policy to somehow be racist.

          Indeed, a disturbing number of people are unable to develop reasonable arguments based upon intelligent analysis of relevant facts.

  4. More voodoo “smoke and mirrors” from Holder’s Department of Justice; this time changing to distort the precision of heretofore reliable FBI statistics on mass shootings for public consumption.

    A little tweak here, a little tweak there, and presto, a statistical outcome that gives support to the antis’ theme.

    With the Obama Administration, no big surprise. Just disappointing that FBI data is now called into question.

    • Yes, Big Al, better stick to getting the pure facts from MSNBC, they have no agenda. Or just call Brian Williams, I’m sure he was there when the FBI cooked it all up.

  5. Because they occurred prior to the period covered by the FBI report, Ruby Ridge, Waco and hundreds of unjustified police shootings were not included.

  6. There is one that is known as the Prince of Lies.

    The greatest lie is that he has convinced the world that he does not exist.

  7. I have a simple question….. since I am not the one involved in any of those data points where did they get the idea that the data they collected allowed them to tell me what I can or can’t own? What part of the data gathering do they think makes it acceptable to hold me responsible for the actions of criminals just because I have a similar piece of private property? Why do *I* have to do something different because someone else, somewhere else, did something criminal?

    No one ever asks me to give up my Toyota because I have the same model that Lanza drove to the school? So why do any of them think it OK to tell me to give up my handgun just because it was the same brand used in a killing four states away?

  8. John “Cooked His Book” Lott at least has experience at falsifying data so that must make him better at recognizing it. The dude has been thoroughly discredited and People of the Gun should stop mentioning him.

  9. The FBI is just one more spoonful of the giant bowl of alphabet soup that is sloshing itself all over the place. It’s a big mess and a lot of people are finding themselves suddenly and unnecessarily in hot water. Don’t expect too much of them, they are just more government. Governments don’t care about people, never have, never will.

  10. For those of you are SHOCKED by this unsurfacing of the FBI’s conduct, this is nothing new. For years, it has been cooking the books on the number of defensive shootings in order to under count them.

    In the 1990s I took a tour of the FBI’s headquarters in D.C. Someone there stuck up an issue of Time or Newsweek pushing gun control with the words “Stop the Madness!” on the cover, in order to sway the people getting tours.

    The F.B.I. is NOT on neutral.

    • “Faux” news cracks me up. Lefties like to pretend that any news other news source is somehow more objective.

      Ironically, you failed to link the original source. I did, in my comment above.

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