Screaming Murder

Published November 5, 2013


Every day the headlines and the TV-radio news scream murder at us. My local daily out of Newark, NJ leads with a murder there and elsewhere in the state every day. Only the occasional mass murder gets national attention.


I got to thinking about this on Friday when a shooting at the Los Angeles airport closed the facility and created havoc for all the flights going out or heading in. Reportedly, it was a mentally ill young man and, in the case of these random and mass murders, it is almost always a mentally ill person. It has nothing to do with how many people have guns.


Grant Duwe, a criminologist, told the National Public Radio that “Mass murder rates and mass public shootings have been on the decline, but what we did see was an especially bad year for mass public shootings in 2012. The number of victims who were killed and wounded was greater than in any previous year in U.S. history.”


The statistic Duwe cited is astonishingly low, only 0.2 percent of all homicides that occur in the U.S. are mass murders and, of those mass murders, ten percent are mass public killings, such as those in Aurora, Newtown, and most recently the Washington Navy Year. “Within a given year, there are about 30 mass murders—those involving four or more—that occur in this country.”


That should be regarded as good news given the size of our population. The U.S has more guns per person than most nations. When a Russian official tweeted about the Navy Yard shootings, NPR noted that there are “fewer than 13 million firearms in circulation in Russian, compared to 300 million in the United States. That works out to about nine guns per 100 people in Russian and closer to 100 guns per 100 people in America.” Russia has some of the toughest gun laws on the books as any nation, but there were an estimated 21,603 killings in Russia in 2009. By comparison, there were 13,636 homicides in the U.S. in 2009.


As we have come to learn, the facts never stop President Obama from using every murder to advance his agenda to strip Americans of their guns.

After the Los Angeles shooting in which a Transportation Security agent was killed, he gave a speech in which he said, “As Americans bound in grief and love, we must insist here today there is nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work. There is nothing normal about our children being gunned down in their classrooms. There is nothing normal about children dying in our streets from stray bullets. No other advanced nation endures this kind of violence, none.” This is yet another lie. In nations around the world, people die from terrorism and comparable acts of insanity in far greater numbers.


As Duwe said on NPR, mass murders in the U.S. have been on the decline, although 2012 was unusual for the number of incidents. There were seven which was higher than any year since 1999, with the highest number of victims. Asked why, Duwe attributed the decline in crime rates to demographic changes, greater numbers of police, increased used of incarceration, decreated social tolerance for crime and violence.


There is a particular irony in Obama’s knee-jerk attribution of murders to gun ownership. In September, Fox News reported that “Statistics released by the FBI earlier this week show that Chicago passed New York as America’s murder capital in 2012 despite the Windy City only having a third of the Big Apple’s population.” Chicago is Obama’s hometown.


According to the FBI, there were 500 murders in Chicago in 2012, up from 431 in 2011. New York reported 419 murders in 2012, down from 515 the previous year. There are fifteen cities across the U.S. that were reported to have had more than 100 murders in 2012. Of the homicide in 2012, 69% involved the firearms. Many of the murders involved gang activity.


There is more irony in the promise of the Democratic mayoral candidate for New York promising to end the stop-and-frisk practices that have been credited with reducing the killings in the Big Apple. The NYPD has targeted gang violence by closely monitoring the social and family circles of criminals. Why is it that liberals seem incapable of ever learning anything from the facts?