Many news sources (including Reuters) have been trying to figure out exactly how many “mass shootings” and other events take place in the United States. Too lazy to do their own research, they have begun relying on advocacy websites like ShootingTracker.com. That site is maintained by a small group of rabid anti-gun activists who reside in the /r/GunsAreCool area of Reddit and are known for ignoring facts that don’t fit their agenda. If you thought /r/FatPeopleHate was bad, this is worse. Being the aggressive hoplophobes they are, rather than sticking with the facts and reporting the truth, they decided to artificially inflate the number of shooting events in their database by including incidents that even Shannon Watts would reject as irrelevant. Like what, exactly? Well, like this . . .
Here’s a couple examples from their list. May 6, 2013:
A pair of township boys are accused of shooting four others with a pellet gun, police said.
Nobody was seriously hurt by the 11- and 12-year-old boys who shot the pellet gun at them on April 25 in the Twinbrook Village apartment complex, Detective Lt. Kevin Faller said in a statement.
The ShootingTracker.com guys believe that this incident, in which four people were slightly bruised by kids with a pellet gun, is on a par with Columbine and Sandy Hook. Want another one? February 20, 2014:
St. Petersburg, Florida –Three people have been arrested and chargedafter police say they shot multiple people with a pellet gun in St. Petersburg.
At least12 people reported being struck by pellets.
People reported being hit in their legs, hands and back, but police say none of the injuries were serious.
Twelve people being struck by a pellet gun is definitely distressing and an example of irresponsible gun use. But including it with the Virginia Tech massacre as the ShootingTracker.com guys have done is like trying to say someone ogling you is the same thing as rape.
There’s no way that we can have meaningful discussions about the role of firearms in the United States without good hard facts. The people who run ShootingTracker.com clearly don’t care about facts. They just care about putting out as big a number as possible to make those evil, insane NRA members look as bloodthirsty and heartless as possible.
It isn’t journalism. It isn’t providing a service. It’s pure propaganda. What’s worse, the major news generators are picking it up and using it because they’re too lazy to do actual research (or they’re happy pushing ShootingTracker’s agenda). It’s as if we’re watching the BBC take press releases from ISIS at face value and running them on the evening news.