Fun With Data: More ‘Research’ Blames Mass Shootings On Those Who Didn’t Do It

hazmat isolation suit

Not actually Emma Fridel. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

It’s time to play “spot the lousy gun research” again! There’s yet a new “study” out that purports to link high rates of firearm ownership to higher rates of mass shootings. It’s economically entitled Comparing the Impact of Household Gun Ownership and Concealed Carry Legislation on the Frequency of Mass Shootings and Firearms Homicide, by Emma E. Fridel.

I had to read this paper because the pseudo-news reports included a remarkable factoid.

In order to address these challenges, a unique dataset of all mass murders in the United States from 1991 to 2016 was created. …

To date, this represents the most comprehensive and accurate database available on mass shooting incidents in the United States, with a total sample size of 592 mass shootings during the study period.

Five hundred, ninety-two mass shootings? Gun Facts only found 94 from 1982 to 2019. The Violence Project lists 174 from 1966 to 2020. The Rockefeller Institute of Government identified 318 from 1966 to 2017.

Where did Fridel find hundreds more than any other researcher over a shorter time frame? The devil is in the definitions.

Rockefeller’s Capellan and Jiao defined “mass public shooting” as “the killing of four or more individuals in one or more closely related locations within a 24-hour period.” That’s representative of the definition usually used. It excludes targeted killings like gangbangers fighting over turf, or domestic disputes gone massively wrong.

It excludes serial shootings that don’t occur in a single incident. Fridel went with something a little different.

Defined as the killing of four or more individuals (excluding the offender) with a firearm within 24 hours… …

As WISQARS does not provide linkage information, firearms homicide was measured as a count of victims rather than incidents.

Four or more within 24 hours.

No gang or family exclusions. It doesn’t even necessarily specify that the four victims be shot for related reasons or even by the same shooter.

I’m sure she dinked around with that highly questionable definition until she got one that generated clusters in all the wrong states. Since she’s using WISQARS in part, I’m not even sure the “mass shooting” victims had to be in the same city or state, just the same 24 hour period.

Then I hit this.

Household gun ownership was measured using a common proxy, the proportion of suicides committed with a firearm.

“Gun ownership” is estimated from suicides by firearm. Never mind that a goodly percentage of suicides are committed with firearms not owned by the subject. Never mind that better proxies, such as firearm hunting licenses, concealed carry licenses or in states like Illinois and Massachusetts, firearm owner licenses, exist.

Fridel gets to generate bogus data and reinforce the gun-ownership-equals-suicide canard, a twofer.

I should have quit there, but I was gripped by morbid curiosity.

She controlled her data for various socioeconomic and demographic factors. She included firearm homicide rates. But she specifically excluded non-firearm homicides, and violent crimes and property crimes.

It turns out she had per capita hunting license data, but decided not to use it; she just threw it out.

What this really is, then, is a study in how to manipulate and misuse data to further an agenda. Fridel could probably teach Garen Wintemute a few new tricks. Her data is so bad she probably wears an isolation suit to massage it.


  1. avatar Hush says:

    She didn’t need data, all she had to do was pull it outta her ass!

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “all she had to do was pull it outta her ass!”

      I’m sure it wasn’t the only thing.

      1. avatar Debbie W. says:

        When it comes to the numbers of unarmed victims of democRat Party racism and nazi genocide rest assured gutless gun control zealots won’t mention those numbers to gullible anti gun moms.

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  2. avatar FedUp says:

    When you already know the answer, all those messy facts just get in the way!

  3. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Figurers figure and Marxist figurers lie as the agenda must be pushed at all costs.

  4. avatar MichaelB says:

    There are pure gems in the “research.”
    Mass shootings: “account for less than 1% of all homicides in the United States”
    “prior research has consistently shown that gun ownership rates are positively associated with the firearms homicide rate.” Positive as in good, or positive as in increasing together?
    “studies have linked household gun ownership to an increased risk of homicide victimization” Yet # of guns is up, and homicides have decreased.
    “Even more problematic is the inability of many studies to establish causal direction, leading Kleck (1979, pp. 908) to argue “crime is a cause of gun ownership just as gun ownership is a cause of crime.”” Maybe because ‘they’ have a flawed hypothesis?
    “finding that gun ownership did not significantly influence the mass shooting incidence rate.” See, we told ‘ya.
    “Mother Jones similarly failed to find a relationship between gun ownership and mass shooting rates” (insert Samuel L. Jackson catchphrase here)
    “39% of convicted felons refrained from committing a crime because they knew or believed that their victim was armed.” Ya don’t say?

    The most absurd statement:
    “Most incarcerated felons cite protection as the main reason they carried firearms, and 63% state that they fired their weapon during the commission of the crime in self-defense”

    Criminals do not get the right of self defense. Say it with me: Cri-min-als.

    At least the conclusion is somewhat correct. I don’t know why we needed a study to spell it out for people.
    “finds evidence that mass shootings are poor proxies of gun violence more generally. It is imperative that policymakers enact legislation that will help reduce the thousands of firearms homicides occurring in the United States each year, rather than focusing on the rare mass shooting, however tragic such incidents may be.”

  5. avatar GS650G says:

    Not sure how her research is supposed to protect us from the rioters but I’m sure it’s well intended.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      How many pages is the “study”. It might have enough density when printed to stop low to medium handgun cartridges.

      1. avatar R. Corrino says:

        Or as TP. There might be a shortage again come. November…..

  6. avatar Mark N. says:

    Note her source for the number of mass shootings: USA Today.

  7. avatar Shire-man says:

    What do you mean cops only killed 9 unarmed black men last year?
    We just have to re-define “cops” as anything in the MMWR and “black men” as anything other than “cops” and we have a national crisis worthy of sending legions of middle class white kids out to burn black neighborhoods down.

    See, those number we re-defined and made up? They don’t lie!

    1. avatar Leigh says:

      ding ding ding…we have a winner!

  8. avatar d says:

    There is a reason that these people are called ANALysts

    1. avatar Dude says:


  9. avatar Gun Control enforcement is a myth and a bad one! Who is coming? Nancy & Diane? says:

    Why bother no one is taking our guns unless they all want to die!

    Bring it see how that works out!

    With 150 Million gun owners and more than 50 million of them trained for combat who is coming with the Veterans/Military/Most Police on our side?

    Yeah the .mil already answered that survey on illegal orders against their oath to uphold the good ole Constitution like its 1776 again!

    Gun Control enforcement is a myth and a bad one!

  10. avatar simobros says:

    The gun-banner eggheads have to use smoke and mirrors. It’s really all that they have left.Actual facts and stats are just inconvenient to them. I don’t think they’re fooling that many people anymore, though.
    People can seek information so easily now. We just need to keep the truth out there and get others to look at it.

  11. avatar ANG Pilot says:

    Start with your conclusion and then manipulate the “data” to prove your point. It’s what libs/progs do. Nothing but useless propaganda,

  12. avatar Retro says:

    Waterboarding the data until it gives the answer she wanted.

  13. avatar Dennis says:

    I wonder color the sky is in their little world!?

  14. avatar GunnyGene says:

    I don’t care. We got guns. Marilyn Manson – Killing Strangers. Thanks Keanu. 🙂

  15. avatar MADDMAXX says:

    She might have used all the mass shootings/gunfights and killings that have been depicted in Hollywood’s fantasy world, possible that too much HBO/Showtime has crept into her sense of reality… I could probably correlate her numbers easily that way…

  16. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Figures can lie, and liars can figure…

  17. avatar Montana Actual says:

    On par with COVID data too.

  18. avatar Mr Lucky says:

    So, if I shoot four thugs who break into my home, that’s a mass shooting?

  19. avatar Prndll says:

    We are always told that numbers don’t lie. The Truth is that anyone can manipulate the numbers to say anything they want them to. That’s what marketing is all about.

    1. avatar Hush says:

      Aren’t car salespersons mathematicians?

  20. avatar 2aguy says:

    According to Mother Jones, they have a list of all actual, mass public shootings…there were a total of 10 in 2019. They use the FBI standard for mass public shootings and I use them whenever I debate anti-gun extremists about these shootings…..they even use the new Obama standard of 3 people killed, instead of the old standard of 4.

  21. avatar 2aguy says:

    And can someone explain what concealed carry permit numbers have to do with any of this?

    1) Mass public shooters are going to a public place to commit mass murder. They do not need a legal concealed carry permit to get their gun to the location where they plan to commit mass murder. So what relevance does the concealed carry permit number have to do with it?

    2) The vast majority of murder in this country is committed by criminals with long histories of crime and violence, going back to their teen years. This means they cannot legally buy, own or carry guns…which means they can’t get a legal concealed carry permit to carry their already illegal gun in public. So again, what does the number of law abiding citizens who have carry permits have to do with gun murder by career criminals?

  22. avatar Geoff says:

    If anti-gunners didn’t have lies we would only hear crickets.

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