Anatomy of an Anti-Gun Lie: Mass Shootings in America

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Women pause at a memorial at a vigil honoring the victims of a shooting at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Monterey Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

[This article originally appeared at Handwaving Freakoutery and is reprinted here with permission. To subscribe to HWFO, click here.] 

By BJ Campbell, Handwaving Freakoutery

Today we are going to pick apart this tweet:

…and its companion article to explain in clear terms the many layers of lies that the media and the antigun activists are telling, some unwittingly and some intentionally, so we can see how those layers interact.

Let’s begin . . .

‘Mass Shooting’ Semantic Fuckery

When muggles read the tweet talking about “mass shootings” they think “random spree shootings.” Their minds go back to the last bombardment of media coverage of the last spree shooting, and they are aghast that there have been 100 of them. They never open the article or read the definition of mass shooting. Here’s the definition they use:

America reached the grim number by the first week of March – record time, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, which, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.

Let’s look at the most recent mass shooting according to CNN’s graphic.


Three adults and one child caught bullets in a Memphis ghetto during a drive-by or similar, and all were in stable condition at various hospitals. Nothing like the horrific spree shootings. Certainly terrible for all involved, but it’s the sort of thing that plays out on local news every day that everyone in the country regularly ignores.

The Gun Violence Archive sets the bar in such a way that it will go up and down with the rates of generic violence, because it’s literally just measuring generic violence.

The first layer of the lie is they bait and switch you with the definitions.

Rigging the Clock

This is the fastest we’ve reached this grim milestone since @GunDeaths started tracking the data in 2014.

The year of our Lord two thousand fourteen. What a convenient time to start the clock. Despite what the media tried to make you believe in the twenty teens, 2014 had the lowest murder rate since 1963. It was a historic minimum.

There have only been six years in the past century where the USA had a lower murder rate than 2014. The last time we had a rate as low as 2014 was the same year NASA was doing Project Mercury.

Let’s see how the first two lies fit together. First, they index something that has nothing to do with spree killings and instead is a measuring stick for ordinary violent crime. Next, they don’t bother to start their accounting for that measure during the prohibition era, nor the rise of cocaine in the 1970s, nor the crack epidemic in the 80s and 90s, but instead they only start the clock when the USA was in a historic murder low to ensure that their ginned up measurement is “on the rise.”


I do not like cops. I do not own a Thin Blue Line flag. I don’t donate to the FOP. Fifty percent of my experiences with police officers have been displeasing.

But I’m not stupid, and I know that there are measurable reductions in crime associated with increased police presence, which means there stand to be measurable increases in crime associated with decreased police presence. This is especially true in inner cities where most of the “mass shootings” happen.


I’m also not blind, so when the George Floyd riots happened in 2020, and everyone in major cities started waving “All Cops Are Bastards” signs, I knew that was going to result in reduced police staffing. And…we saw a drop in total police staffing of 1.75% in 2020, and another 1.76% in 2021.

Being a gun-adjacent writer, I talk with folks who hang out with cops and they pass the stories back to me. They said in 2020 many of the cops who didn’t quit their jobs simply quit policing in dangerous areas. The fear that they would get caught on YouTube doing their job — and then get fired from their job for doing their job — led them to the conclusion that they should just quit doing their job in areas where they might lose their job for doing it.

Which meant they intentionally reduced or ceased policing entirely in majority black areas. Calls to 911 might just not get answered. Because of ACAB.

There is no doubt in my mind that that’s the largest contributor for the overall rise in crime, including murder, in 2020 and 2021. The numbers predict it. And the gun-controllers are the same people who carried the ACAB flags and burnt buildings in 2020.

These same gun-controllers want to blame the 2020 gun-buying spree for the crime spike, as if the toilet paper hoarding Covid Karens are behind the “mass shootings,” or the ordinary and reasonable black folks afraid of dirty cops are behind the “mass shootings,” or the white suburbanites afraid of the Defund The Police movement are behind the “mass shootings,” or the political wonks afraid that Trump would win, or that Biden would win, are behind the “mass shootings.”

Those are the groups who bought lots and lots of guns in 2020. The group doing the shooting are the criminals, who either already had guns or picked them up on the black market they day they needed them.

Now let’s see how all three of these lies fit together.

The gun-controllers intentionally riot and degrade the police force, which increases crime relative to historic lows, which they map over to “mass shootings,” which they trick people into believing are spree shootings, which they blame on guns.

Neat trick, huh?

No Correlation

As readers of HWFO since its inception in 2018 already know, there’s no bivariate correlation between the gun ownership rate and the gun homicide rate, because the USA is so far beyond the saturation point of gun ownership that adding or subtracting a few million more guns from our 400+ million total no longer matters.

As HWFO readers know, even if you make the most generous assumptions possible to the gun control side, you’d have to buy back 86 million dollars worth of guns to avert one homicide – and probably a lot more.

As HWFO readers already know, the gun-controllers constantly hide suicides in their numbers to inflate them, creating fake correlations which simply aren’t there. And many gun control laws actually impede gun owners from taking the actions necessary to reduce their own suicide rate.

And what does CNN do with this? It’s laughable.

Mental health challenges grew throughout the pandemic and violence increased, but an analysis from researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that guns made those incidences significantly more deadly. Between 2019 and 2021, all of the increase in suicides and most of the increase in homicides was from gun-related incidences. The gun suicide rate increased 10% while the non-gun suicide rate decreased.

Of course the gun suicide rate went up and the non-gun suicide rate went down. More people had guns available because they bought them during the riots and cuts to policing. Non-gun suicides converted to gun suicides for the folks who bought guns, and they bought guns because of the lockdowns, the riots, and ACAB.

That CNN poll, which was conducted a few weeks after the mass shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, found that 58% of Americans believed stricter gun control laws would reduce the number of gun-related deaths in the country.

As HWFO readers know, CNN’s own behavior partially caused the Uvalde shooting because of CNN’s Buffalo, New York coverage. Science shows that media behavior creates mass shooter copycats, increasing the net number of true spree killings by 30%.

As HWFO readers know, CNN avoided referencing the Greenwood Park Mall shooting because they don’t want anyone to know that shootings ended by concealed carrying bystanders have 12 fewer victims on average.

The Greenwood Park Mall shooting, for what it’s worth, didn’t make it into the “mass shooting” database even though it was a true attempt at a spree killing. Why? Because the shooter only managed to kill three people before being shot to death by a man with a concealed firearm.

And the biggest reason CNN peddles the lie is right there in the article:

Democratic Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida, the first member of Generation Z elected to Congress, centered his 2022 campaign on ending gun violence in the US, finding support among young voters who grew up as part of the “mass shooting generation,” as he calls it.

“We’ve seen these things and been wondering our whole lives as young people, in high school, middle school and elementary school, why? Why is this happening? Why have we not fixed this? And now we’re at a place where we can vote and we can run, and we’re going to do it,” Frost said when he won the Democratic nomination.

As a member of Generation X, I was in high school when the violent crime rate, and therefore “mass shooter” rate, as defined, was double what it was when Maxwell Frost was in high school. He’s not in the “mass shooting generation” because of the number of mass shootings. He’s in the “mass shooting generation” because makes money, increases crime, and increases mass shootings themselves…by lying.

He’s in the “mass shooting generation” because he believes them.


This article originally appeared at Handwaving Freakoutery and is reprinted here with permission. To subscribe to HWFO, click here

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  1. And this ladies and gentlemen is why math is being deemed racist and common core being pushed to replace traditional instruction.

    • There is already a shortage of qualified STEM (including tradesmen) people out there and in 10-20 years most of them will be retired out of circulation.

      Gonna be great when the best we have to replace them are people who have been raised thinking math is racist, statistics are arbitrary, government can regulate physics and good-intentions excuse bad outcomes.

      Our best hope is that we build those diagnosing machines from Idiocracy sooner rather than later and we all die before they breakdown and need repairs.

      • If anyone wants to see Mass Gun Deaths………. just look to occupied Europe under communism and the nazis.
        Had the French had some 20 Million armed citizens with “assault weapons” or Poland with 15 Million or 6 Million Jews so armed, there may have not been a WW2.
        The WORST year of “Mass killing” in the USA…..pales PALESSSSSS in comparison to a week under the commies or nazis.
        No joke.
        ==================== FJB

        • The same can be said for Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and every two bit Dictator that disarmed their populace, before their killing spree started. Mao, actually takes the prize for committing the largest Genocide in world history, with a conservative estimate of 60,000,000.

          You’re 100% Correct. An Armed Citizenry does not meekly board the cattle cars. Which is why McSniffy Schitz-His-Pants and the DemoCommiecrats want to Disarm us.

    • It’s called Liberal Educational Indoctrination. Formally know as Public Education and has been happening since the late 70’s. Only in the last decade or so has, Progressiveism entered the picture. I saw the beginning of this Reeducation Ideology in the mid to late 70’s while still in high-school. I didn’t recognize it until some years later. I even had a Government teacher, Mr. Gary Hollenberg who warned us that we would see the day when the United States would be infiltrated by a Socialist Ideology in mainstream education and as a major component of our Government. He said it is a natural progression of a society where the people no longer have to struggle of fight for their Freedom and become fat and lazy from the government taking over the needs and wants of the people. Just like was done during the Roman Empire. The number of people are kept sated by the government becomes larger than those willing to do for themselves until the division is so great that they become the only thing that matters to those in power. Who then take from those who have to control those who want. Until it comes to the point where those being taken from No longer except the status quo and rebel against the system, tear it down and remove those in power. As happened with the Roman Empire. As well as every Empire and Government that has followed that pathway down through human history. The only question is. How long before the haves get tired of being used for nothing more than a source to give to the have nots? Simply to allow those in control of the Government to continue to exist.

  2. Thanks for this. If the weather holds, I’ll be out back unleashing 1911 hell on one of my stumps. 🙂

  3. It’s not about any of that, it’s all about the Chinese getting us softened up before the invasion.

  4. Wait… According to the source, the estimated firearm ownership rate in Hawaii is 45%, and ranks 10th highest in the US? I don’t buy that number in the least. Doesn’t pass the “sniff” test…

    • “look at how we can have a lot of guns and heavy restrictions and not have out of control crime” narrative building?

  5. Mass shooting derived from massacre, I just dont think it should be called a mass shooting unless there is an acre of dead people or everyone shot were in a catholic church saying prayers.

    • The majority of what they’re calling Mass Shootings, are Gang Related, which is a whole different problem in and of itself. The innocent bystanders that catch a bullet, weren’t the intended targets, thus they are collateral damage in a Gang War. Even when there is only Gang Casualties, it’s still the result of a “kill them before they can kill you” mindset, but it’s not a Spree Mass Shooting or a Retaliatory due to Bullying Mass Scholl Shooting. Lumping them all together and calling it Mass Shootings is intellectually dishonest and a fabricated Lie on their part.

      Red Flag Laws are claimed to reduce Suicides by gun, and they do slightly, but the whole picture shows that the slight drop in Suicides by gun is offset in a rise of Suicides by other means. The reality is the laws haven’t prevented Suicides, merely changed the means by which one takes their life. That really isn’t addressing the real problem, which is suicide itself.

  6. Something happened in 2014 to cause that change. We need to note it and study it so that it doesn’t happen again. It rhymes with Berguson effect. It had nothing to do with the amount of guns in America. Oops 2020 St. George Floyd Summer of Fire. Now how and why did that happen (again, but worse)? Never forget the “conservatives” who played along with it.

  7. Gun grabbers can flimsy up the mass shooting numbers to inflate them. But even a shallow inspection of the actual events will show that America doesn’t have a gun problem but a violent negro population.

  8. You raise a very valid point Walter, and it’s a point where we’ve allowed the Anti-Gunners, Dishonest Politicians, and an Unelected Bureaucracy way too much space, leeway and opportunity to manipulate around with the definition and craft their narrative. The problem is there are far too many definitions being tossed about, and it doesn’t help, it only complicates the problem further.
    There’s a difference between Gang Mass Shootings and Spree Type Mass Shootings. Both are grievance driven, but one is a War with rival gangs, the other is driven by some imagined or actual grievance with society.
    In one, the target is a rival, and regrettably, some times innocent bystanders are shot too, but they weren’t the intended target(s).
    The other targets everyone they can, whether they were a part of the grievance or not.
    Lumping both together, doesn’t work towards a strategy of preventing future shootings, and it’s blatantly Intellectually Dishonest on the part of those calling both Mass Shootings.
    Gang Mass Shootings are the result of the “Kill Your Rival/Enemy Before He Kills You” mentality prevalent in the Gang Culture. While various means have been tried to change that mentality, the fact that the problem is growing menace, indicates the various means have completely failed. Add in the fact that the Gang Cultures is intimately tied to the Illegal Drug Trade, and the roots of the various problems that have allowed that culture to flourish, are easily exposed.
    The differences between the two types of Mass Shootings are obvious if one is honest about the situations that created both.

    I sincerely believe that needs to be pounded into the heads of Anti-Gunners, and they need called out on their Dishonesty everytime they open their pinholes and start spouting their Bull Schit.

  9. The term “Mass Shootings” is commonly used to describe a range of violent incidents, but it’s crucial to acknowledge that many of these events are actually Gang Related, presenting an entirely different issue. Innocent bystanders often become unintended victims, caught in the crossfire of Gang Wars, making them collateral damage in a larger problem. Even in cases where only gang members are targeted, it stems from a “kill them before they can kill you” mentality, rather than being Spree Mass Shootings or Retaliatory acts due to bullying. Categorizing all these incidents together as Mass Shootings is misleading and intellectually dishonest, as it hides the underlying complexities and motivations.

    Regarding Red Flag Laws, proponents claim they can reduce gun-related suicides, and while there might be a slight decrease in such incidents, the bigger picture shows a rise in suicides by other means. In essence, these laws have not effectively prevented suicides; instead, they’ve only shifted the method chosen by individuals to end their lives. The true issue at hand remains unaddressed, which is the prevalence of suicide itself.

    It is crucial to approach these matters with accuracy and a comprehensive understanding, ensuring that solutions tackle the root causes and not merely the surface-level manifestations of these problems.I would like to refer to

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