Just last week, I referred to the terrible mass shooting in New York that resulted in the death of 8 people and injury of 12 others. I of course didn’t know at that time that just five days after the New York killings, an even worse [in terms of number of victims] tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas would result in the death of 26 people and injury of 20 others.
These two events, only five days apart, prompted me to wonder if it just appears that the rate and severity of these killings is increasing, or if the rate actually is increasing. I decided to do some analysis, and I regret to report that the rate actually is increasing, and at a rapidly accelerating rate.
One Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
In a moment, I will direct your attention to the graph below that I created from current news items on the web plus one other source that documented details about these kinds of mass murders since 2006 [See this link to that source: Mass Murders Since 2006]. First, let me say to those of you who fog up whenever somebody refers to a graph, assuming the rest of the article is technical, please read on. This graph simply shows the trend over time of the number of deaths per month from mass murder events, and its visual impact is alarming.
The Words Behind The Picture [Nowhere Near A Thousand]
Think about what this graph reveals. The trend is the average cumulative number of deaths per elapsed month since 2006. This makes it fluctuate less from month to month, so it visually depicts the long-term trend rather than allowing month-to-month fluctuations to give it a “sawtooth” appearance. The following conclusions are evident:
- The trend since 2006 [blue line on the graph] is clearly up, but I suppose we could say not alarmingly.
- In late 2015, the trend shows a noticeable upward acceleration.
- From that point in 2015, even more alarming is the fact that the upward acceleration is much faster if only 2015 to now is considered [orange line]– and if a moving 24-month average is used [red line], the upward acceleration is even faster.
If this were a graph of the price of a stock you bought in 2006, you’d be elated. If it were a graph of automobile deaths since 2006, there would be an uproar in Washington to do something about this out-of-control situation.
Any undesirable statistic that is changing this rapidly and accelerating rapidly will ultimately gain the attention of enough of our country’s leadership to promulgate action. All the noise in the media at this time about increased control over gun ownership is “standard” for those on one “pole” of the deep political divide in America, and all the “red flag” rebuttals about the Second Amendment are “standard” for those on the other “pole”.
A Silver Lining?
There is a peculiarity about this latest shooting spree that should at least cause leaders at both “poles” to think about solutions rather than just rally around their colleagues at their respective “poles” and start spouting off their standard “bullet points”.
That peculiarity is twofold: 1) specific facts now known about the shooter’s history make it abundantly clear that if existing laws and established procedures had been working as intended, the probability that he could have acquired the weapon he used would have been dramatically lower; and 2) had the civilian who chased the shooter and killed him not had his legally-acquired weapon [and the skills and the courage to use it in this perfectly appropriate situation], the shooter would likely have remained at the church longer and produced much more carnage.
I’d like to believe this incident could at least be the initial foundation of a bridge across the giant chasm between the leaders at their “poles” on opposite “banks” — a foundation that could help them see that with that base in place, building the rest of the bridge may not seem so overwhelming a task.
Nice thought on which to ruminate … but I’m not holding my breath.
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Charles M. Jones