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]