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Mother Jones's Own Reporting Contradicts Its Conclusions on Gun Violence
Weekly Standard ^ | Dec 21, 2012 | MARK HEMINGWAY

Posted on 12/27/2012 4:09:30 PM PST by neverdem

Yesterday, I criticized a dubious report that Mother Jones did on gun violence. You can read the Mother Jones article here, but at issue was Mother Jones's bold conclusion:

In the wake of the slaughters this summer at a Colorado movie theater and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, we set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years. We identified and analyzed 62 of them, and one striking pattern in the data is this: In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun.

For the purposes of their study, they identified mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people were killed. Right off the bat, this suggests their conclusion is somewhat fallacious. The whole point is that the presence of other armed people on the scene might stop mass shootings from becoming mass shootings. Anyway, I cited a random sampling of examples where exactly that happened. A number of those incidents involved off-duty cops and I acknowledged this explicitly, while making the distinction that Mother Jones's definition of "civilian" seems odd and slippery:

Their claim that "not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun" also raises a host of issues being that it is a conditional claim. Notice the word "civilian"? It's true that mass shootings are often stopped by police. But is that because they are uniquely qualified to stop mass shootings or that they stop killers simply by virtue of the fact that they are generally the first people to arrive on the scene carrying guns? ... I suppose the assumption that cops are better equipped to carry guns than civilians hinges on the fact that they are trained to handle guns. But so are military veterans, and there are millions of them who have likely as much or more firearms training as the average cop. Finally, it's also true that there are many people who have never had any law enforcement and military training yet are skilled and responsible firearms owners who are temperamentally well-suited to handle potential threats. Mother Jones makes no serious argument that arming more civilians wouldn't effective in preventing mass shootings.

The author of the Mother Jones piece responded to me on Twitter saying they had reported on the examples of armed civilians stopping shootings from escalating and they were "bogus." Let's take a look at some of the examples in this Mother Jones piece, "Do Armed Civilians Stop Mass Shooters? Actually, No.":

High school shooting in Pearl, Mississippi
Another case, from 1997, in which the shooting was apparently already over: After killing two and wounding seven inside Pearl High School, the 16-year-old perpetrator left the building and went outside near the parking lot. The assistant principal—who was also a member of the Army Reserve—ran out to his own vehicle, grabbed a handgun he kept there, and then approached the shooter, subduing him at gunpoint until authorities arrived.

The Army Reserve's recruitment website encourages you to "discover what it's really like to be a civilian and a Soldier," pretty much underscoring my point that Mother Jones is being slippery here. Further, how does Mother Jones know the shooting was "apparently over"? The killer was stopped trying to drive away, and he was said to have been on his way to a nearby junior high school. Moving on:

New Life Church shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado
In 2007 a gunman killed two people and wounded three others before being shot himself; the pro-gun crowd likes to refer to the woman who took him out in the parking lot as a "church member." Never mind that she was a security officer for the church and a former cop, and that the church had put its security team on high alert earlier that day due to another church shooting nearby.

You know what word accurately describes a "former cop"? Civilian. Next:

Bar shooting in Winnemucca, Nevada
In 2008, a gunman who killed two and wounded two others was taken out by another patron in the bar, who was carrying with a valid permit. But this was no regular Joe with a concealed handgun: The vigilante, who was not charged after authorities determined he'd committed a justifiable homicide, was a US Marine.

If you follow the link Mother Jones provided identifying the Marine in question, the news report says "it was not clear whether he was on active duty or had finished his term of service." In other words, Mother Jones has no idea whether or not the guy who stopped the shooting was a civilian or not. And here's my personal favorite:

Middle school dance shooting in Edinboro, Pennsylvania
An ambiguous case from 1998, in which the shooter may well have already been done shooting: After killing a teacher and wounding three others, the 14-year-old perpetrator left the dance venue. The owner of the venue followed him outside with a shotgun, confronting and subduing him in a nearby field until police arrived. The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, who himself recently argued for more guns as an answer to gun violence, told me this week that one police source he talked to about this case said that it was "not clear at all" whether the kid had intended to do any further shooting after he'd left the building.

Since it wasn't clear whether the 14-year-old shooter in this instance intended to kill more people, would Mother Jones have preferred that the civilian with the shotgun walked away so we could find out what his true intentions were? Mother Jones is saying this isn't an example of a civilian stopping a school-related shooting from escalating because, well, Mother Jones doesn't want it to be.

Anyway, I asked the author of the Mother Jones piece on twitter, "To be clear, if the shooting in Nevada was stopped by a former Marine -- and you don't know if he was still in the service ... That would be an example of a civilian stopping a potential mass shooting, right?" and further pressed him to define what he means when he uses the word civilian. His response:

@heminator now yr just talking in circles. Maybe try doing a bit of real reporting yourself instead of just parroting NRA talking points.

— Mark Follman (@markfollman) December 22, 2012

Normally, I would associate specious conclusions derived from arbitrarily defining words while commenting on facts reported elsewhere with "talking in circles." But apparently this is "real reporting."



TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: banglist; guncontrol; motherjones; secondamendment

1 posted on 12/27/2012 4:09:40 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Jared Louchner at the Tucson shooting was stopped by an Arizona CCW holder.


2 posted on 12/27/2012 4:19:23 PM PST by donmeaker (Blunderbuss: A short weapon, ... now superceded in civilized countries by more advanced weaponry.)
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To: neverdem

Mother Jones News = Barking Moonbat Central


3 posted on 12/27/2012 4:22:17 PM PST by TigersEye (Who is John Galt?)
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To: neverdem

“We identified and analyzed 62 of them...”

Out of how many?

“In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun.”

You mean, in those 62? Out of how many?

“For the purposes of their study, they identified mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people were killed.”

In other words, there were a ton MORE at 3 that they did NOT want to have to average in.


4 posted on 12/27/2012 4:22:30 PM PST by jessduntno ("Socialism only works...in Heaven where they don't need it and hell where they have it." - RR)
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To: neverdem

The Mother Jones conclusion, that none of the mass shootings were stopped by an armed civilian, is one of those “no s... Sherlock” kinds of statements that would be unintentionally hilarious except for the gruesome fact that people were slaughtered because they didn’t have a weapon to counter the killer(s). It’s something the idiots at MJ would not understand.


5 posted on 12/27/2012 4:25:49 PM PST by driftless2
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To: neverdem

Mother Jones is apparently saying anyone who has been trained to use deadly force is not a “civilian”, thus, once a police officer, never a citizen again.

They show their mindset... civilians can not be trained to arms by definition.

Anything to support their agenda.

Conservatives see all citizens as potential citizen-soldiers, Mother Jones sees them as disarmed victims.

List of mass shootings and potential mass shootings stoped by armed citizens:

http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2012/12/mass-killings-stopped-by-armed-citizens.html


6 posted on 12/27/2012 4:26:39 PM PST by marktwain
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To: neverdem
the evidence does not support the liberals position (as usual) so (as usual) they must lie loudly and often in order to sway opinions their way. Their tactics are easily rebuffed by calmly laying out the vast array of scientific evidence that supports our position. The truth is a powerful ally.
7 posted on 12/27/2012 4:31:14 PM PST by RC one (From My Cold Dead Hands.)
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To: donmeaker

Major Hassan, the jihadist at Ft. Hood, was shot and wounded by an armed woman MP. Those who were shot and killed were NOT ARMED.

Lesson learned. Carry your weapon when on duty, and if allowed to, when off duty. You become the first line of defense for the unarmed, intended victims, and often are the ONLY LINE OF DEFENSE for them.


8 posted on 12/27/2012 4:38:38 PM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: neverdem

Probably a good idea to post this reporter’s house on an interactive Google map.


9 posted on 12/27/2012 4:43:59 PM PST by gotribe
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To: neverdem

“In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun.”
FALLACY:
One cannot prove an ex post facto negative hypothesis.


10 posted on 12/27/2012 4:45:10 PM PST by bunkerhill7 (?.)
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To: neverdem

Being a MASS shooting, by definition it wasn’t stopped before or during its happening. The conclusion is that lack of an easily accessible gun to stop the perpetrator RESULTED in the MASS shooting. Ultimately, the presence of a “friendly” gun DID prevent additional killings — even of the gunman.


11 posted on 12/27/2012 4:47:43 PM PST by Optimist
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To: Optimist

I read a study recently that said when the cops arrived and stopped the shooter, average 18.? people killed.

BUT when a person (citizen or any kind of profession) with a gun was there, the average was 2.3 killed. So that wouldn’t qualify as a mass shooting.


12 posted on 12/27/2012 5:00:58 PM PST by The Bat Lady (Because BO won-Exercise, Repent, Floss then brush, learn barter skills.)
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To: neverdem

The are issues to take with Mother Jones, but the article doesn’t take them correctly. First, the definition of “mass shooting” that MJ uses is four or more fatalities. Which is the same definition as the FBI uses. There were only two fatalities at PEarl, and two at the Clackamas mall, and two at the New Life Church. So none of them even “makes the grade” of being a mass shooting. Of course, one can’t know how many fatalities were intended by these perpetrators, so one really can’t say whether a mass-shooting-to-be was stopped or not. The biggest objection to the article is that with only one exception, armed citizens were banned from the locale of the mass shootings. What sort of evil does one have to have, to criticize the utility of armed citizens, by saying that they never stopped mass shootings, when said armed citizens were not allowed to be there? (Answer: Mother Jones and other gun grabbers.) Finally, the article is wrong. The mass shooting in Tucson AZ (in which Rep. Giffords was wounded) *was* stopped by an armed citizen, although it wasn’t stopped by the citizen killing the shooter. That was the only exception to the rule that mass killers prefer (pretend) “gun-free” zones. Needless to say, mass killers choose the locations of their massacres, and they overwhelmingly prefer “gun-free” zones.


13 posted on 12/27/2012 5:03:49 PM PST by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: bunkerhill7

First, they’re not making the logical claim that it’s impossible, they’re saying that so far, none has been. Which is logically correct, within the context of their statement: In order for a mass shooting to even have occurred, more than four fatalities need to happen, which excludes Pearl High and the New Life Church and the other cases. Plus, they are saying “by a civilian *using* a gun, by which they mean, by shooting the shooter. By those meanings, they are correct, although it’s highly dishonest of them to not count those shootings stopped because a gun was pointed but not fired, or those killings that were interrupted before the fatality count passed three, or, worst of all, by counting those killings that happened where armed citizens were banned.


14 posted on 12/27/2012 5:10:28 PM PST by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: neverdem

It actually proves the opposite. Typical liberals.


15 posted on 12/27/2012 5:19:33 PM PST by FlJoePa ("Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good")
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To: bunkerhill7

The recent mall shooting in Portland Oregon was stopped when a civilian pulled out his concealed carry and pointed it at the perp, who then decided to take his own life.


16 posted on 12/27/2012 5:54:06 PM PST by aimhigh ( Guns do not kill people. Planned Parenthood kills people.)
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To: neverdem

Mother Jones is politically aligned with governments that have slaughtered TENS OF MILLIONS OF DISARMED MEN AND WOMEN.

All serious American men and women should defecate on Mother Jones.


17 posted on 12/27/2012 8:45:05 PM PST by Yehuda
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To: neverdem

Interesting that the propagandist from Mother Jones analyzed 62 “mass shootings” but doesn’t bother to mention how many of those occurred in “gun free” zones.


18 posted on 12/27/2012 9:35:39 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (Bathhouse Barry wants YOU to bend over for another four years)
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To: neverdem

Man, we were like? stoned? when we we wrote that $H!t, man! Can’t you tell by readin’ it?


19 posted on 12/27/2012 9:41:38 PM PST by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: neverdem

There was actually more basic flaws in the Mother Jones report, that this article misses sadly.

First, they studied 62 mass killings. Mass killings are defined as 4 or more killings. They then dismissed claims of civilians stopping shootings, sometimes by noting that they weren’t “mass killings”.

In other words, if a civilian stopped a gunman before he killed 4 people, then the incident wasn’t a mass killing, so the civilian didn’t “stop” a “mass killing”.

And of course, if the killer actually DID kill more than 4 people, then they would claim the killer was probably done before the civilian stopped them.

And another big flaw — most mass killings happen in gun-free zones. That means two things; first that civilians are prohibited from having guns, so it is much less likely that a civilian can stop a mass killer. And second, that if the civilian can help it, they will remain anonymous, so they don’t get arrested for using a weapon in a gun-free zone.

So, for example, recently a civilian stopped the portland mall shooter, by showing a weapon, thus scaring the shooter into running into a store and killing himself. But that didn’t count for Mother Jones, for two reasons — first, because 4 people weren’t killed, and second, because there is no PROOF that the guy was the reason it ended (because the guy didn’t come forward since he would get arrested).

The last flaw is that the best use of a weapon is as a deterrent (much like our nuclear arsenal — did it end dozens of wars, by keeping them from starting, or are they a complete waste because since WW2, not a single nuclear weapon has ever been used to END a war?) There aren’t hardly any mass killings where you find guns, because guns deter them. There is no way to know how many mass killings have been prevented because the would-be killer was afraid to carry out his ideas, for fear of getting shot.


20 posted on 12/27/2012 9:54:14 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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