There are so many twists and turns to the debates surrounding mass shootings that keeping the facts straight can be damn near impossible. There are thousands of resources and millions of opinions. Finding facts is challenging, and verifying those facts can be even more difficult.
With a mass shooting, on average, happening nearly every day in America, it is way past time someone combed through and straightened it all out. This article is the third in a series detailing gun rights, gun control, the NRA, the Second Amendment, and mass shootings in the United States as it stands today.
We discussed the NRA’s history and that of the Second Amendment. We revealed shocking truths concerning the NRA and a hostile takeover in the 70s that helped shaped gun control politics then and now.
This installment will cover the myths and facts surrounding the almost constant mass shooting attacks in this country.
MYTH: IT IS A MENTAL HEALTH ISSUE
After a gunman opened fire in a church near San Antonio, Texas, killing 26 people, President Donald Trump immediately blamed his mental health. However, psychologists and early research prove otherwise in many cases.
Trump said after the Texas shooting that:
“I think that mental health is your problem here. Based on preliminary reports, a very deraged individual, a lot of problems for a long period of time. But, this isn’t a guns situation.”
People on both sides of this argument make this particular claim. It is a natural assumption because who else, but a crazy person would do such horrible and violent things? No one wants to think that their seemingly sane neighbor might be the next shooter, but early research shows they just might be.
Shockingly, early research shows no statistical association whatsoever between gun deaths and mental illness, or even stress levels for that matter. Vox reported that if you stopped bi-polar, depression, and even schizophrenia overnight that crime in the U.S. would only drop by 4 percent. Keep in mind that is ALL crime, so gun violence is an even smaller percentage than that.
Psychiatrist Jonathan M. Metzel wrote in Politico that:
“…Very little evidence supports the notion that mental illness in and of itself causes assault on toher people, let alone gun crimes or mass shootings.”
MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED
There needs to be more research on this topic. Even psychologists agree more research is desperately needed. The problem, however, is that the NRA has seen to it that all research into the subject was cut off from funding almost entirely.
The next installment, part four of this series, will detail just what happened to the funding for gun violence research. Suffice it to say that the NRA was behind every bit of it, as well as your own elected officials. As the title of part one suggests, the NRA is holding this country hostage, and the elected officials are holding and tightening the ropes.
FACT: PEOPLE HAVING ACCESS TO GUNS RESULTS IN GUN VIOLENCE
Gun violence is a direct result of Americans having too much access to firearms. The sheer number of guns in this country results in more gun violence and mass shootings.
This is not a favorite fact amongst the NRA set and their supporters. They don’t want everyone to know that more guns on the streets are making it MORE dangerous, instead of what they want everyone to believe. One of their central tenets is getting as many guns out there as possible, after all.
A Harvard’s School of Public Health Injury Control Research Center study states:
“The US is an outlier on gun violence because it has way more guns than other developed nations.”
The National Institute of Health did a study from 1983 to 2012 of the effects that homicide rates, suicide rates, and firearm ownership rates had on mass shooters. They compared data from the United States to 24 other countries with similar socioeconomic statuses.
What they found was utterly shocking: The US has nearly double the number of mass shootings than all additional 24 combined for the same period.
The same study also found that the number of firearms owned in a particular country directly correlates with the number of mass shooting incidents that take place there.
FACT: DOMESTIC ABUSE
From the few studies they have managed to conduct, they determined that in over half the cases the shooters were domestic abusers of some sort. Of course, many on the left have been suggesting this very link for years – yet another of those pesky facts the NRA wishes we didn’t know.
Gun policy expert Robert Spitzer said,
“The anecdotal evidence suggests that there is a link to the extent that people who commit mass shootings are acting out through an expression of extreme violence, some kind of rage, some kind of grudge, some kind of anger. And that is also consistent with behavior of those – and again, they’re overwhelmingly men, we should point out – who are also disposed towards domestic violence.”
The most recent mass shooter in a church outside San Antonio, Devin Kelley, was in the Air Force. He was court marshaled for beating his wife and cracking their child’s skull. The shooters in Las Vegas, Orlando, San Antonio, and many others incidents were ALL domestic abusers.
Mass shooters have killed a partner or family member in a full 54 percent of the cases between January 2009 and December 2016. More than 40 percent of those were children.
MYTH: GOOD GUY WITH A GUN
One of the favorite sayings of the NRA is that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. This is not the case, however.
Advocates are pointing to the most recent massacre in the church outside of San Antonio as a demonstration of this “fact.” They say that an armed man charged into the church and chased the shooter away while also shooting and injuring him. They say that man saved the day and that he is proof that a good guy with a gun is indeed the only thing that will stop these attacks. The NRA really wants this to be true because it helps arm more Americans.
Except it is an actual myth because 26 people were already dead and another 22 injured. Not to say the man wasn’t a hero and didn’t prevent even more bloodshed, but this is most definitely NOT proof that a good guy with a gun can do a single damn thing against someone determined to kill a whole bunch of people at once.
If that were the case, he never would have managed to kill 26 people in that church.
The right claims that mass shootings take place in gun-free zones they have around schools as proof that the bad guy doesn’t want to run into the “good guy with a gun” because civilians cannot carry guns into those areas. This is not borne out by the statistics, however.
Only 10 percent of mass shootings have taken place in a gun-free zone.
The facts literally prove this theory is a myth. America has nearly one gun for every single adult. What this means is that there are PLENTY of good guys with guns. Mass shootings are getting more prevalent, not less. With all those “good guys with guns” out there and more every single second, mass shootings would be on the decline, not the other way around.
The U.S. is going through so much these days that it can be challenging to keep up with the news cycle at all, let alone learn much about ancillary stories connected to things like mass shootings. We cover some shocking information in this series. Shocking because most of us SHOULD know this stuff, yet most of us have no idea.
It goes to show just how powerful a lobby organization the NRA is. Even Democrats believe some of these myths. Democrat Andrew Cuomo enacted a list of people in New York with mental illnesses, and now there are over 30,000 New Yorkers who cannot purchase a firearm. It’s no matter to them that the facts don’t back up the correlation at all.
One shudders to think what it will take before our elected officials finally start to show some backbone and stand up to the NRA.
Coming up in the next installment, what happened to the research, anyway?
Feature Image via Pixabay.