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There are vasrious definitions, resulting in dizzying statistics.
Depending on how you're counting, the shooting deaths of 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif. Wednesday was the 22nd mass shooting this year, or one of more than 300 in a near-daily epidemic.
Big difference. But the problem is one of definitions, sometimes used sloppily and interchangeably. The result: a very confused, and possibly hyperventilating public.
There is no official definition of a mass shooting. The closest is by the Congressional Research Service , which says it is four or more people killed with a firearm, not including the killer. That's pretty similar to the FBI's definition of a mass killing, about 75% of which are committed with a firearm, according to USA TODAY research. (Other weapons include knives, a baseball bat, even one case where a father threw his children off a bridge). So far this year, there have been 29 mass killings, resulting in 155 deaths. Of those, 22 incidents were shootings.
Several other sources use alternate definitions, regardless of whether anyone dies. For example, two widely used sources on mass shootings include Stanford Mass Shootings , and Mass Shooting Tracker , The first defines a mass shooting as three or more people shot,but not necessarily fatally; the killer(s) is not counted. The second defines it as four or more people shot, not necessarily fatally. It may include the killer(s).
Researchers say headlines that suggest a 'mass shooting' occurs daily, on average, are misleading. In the eyes of the public, that translates into a San Bernardino-style shooting nearly every day.
"That definition of four or more shot, rarely translates to four or more killed. One-third of these 'mass shootings' result in no fatalities, and only 5% are mass killings," says James Alan Fox, Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law & Public Policy at Northeastern University. "However, this scary one-a-day statistic is rolled out whenever there is a large-scale mass killing, allowing unsophisticated readers to make the wrong connection."
Fox also points out that the one-a-day statistic is devoid of any benchmark. Since most counting of public shootings occurred after Sandy Hook almost exactly three years ago, it's difficult to make comparisons.
"Without historical context, we get hysterical response." says Fox. "If it were possible (and it really isnt) to go back to 2005 and count number of shootings with 4+ injured, Im sure it would be on par with todays figures." Fox says the central problem is that the idea of a 'mass shooting' conflates how the crime occurred, with how many victims. And they are really separate hallmarks.
It also makes it really hard to understand which way such incidents are trending.
Mass killings -- by firearm or other means -- have not increased since 2006; they are consistently about two dozen a year. But there is some indication that incidents of 'active shooters' may be increasing. According to an FBI report released last year, there were 160 'active shooter' events between 2000 and 2013. An average of 6.4 incidents occurred in the first 7 years studied, and an average of 16.4 occurred in the last 7 years. But critics say early years are under counted, which likely explains the increase.
Anyone waving a gun in a public place is threatening, and should be counted to understand such episodes of violence. But the FBI is far more likely to call such incidents an 'active shooter' because it makes no distinction between whether deaths have occurred, and conveys the idea that it's an ongoing situation.
That's precisely why the Congressional Research Service report called for better data collection among government agencies.
Currently, the FBI collects data on all homicides in the U.S., though -- because of the way individual police agencies report incidents -- nearly half of the mass killing cases included in the Supplemental Homicide Report are incorrect. The report includes cases that never occurred, and leaves out cases that did, according to USA TODAY research.
Clarifying the definition and improving reporting -- whether it's mass killing, mass shooting or active shooter, is critical to understanding and responding to the phenomenon, the CRS report noted.
"Mass shootings are arguably one of the worst
manifestations of gun violence," the report notes. And
everyone has a different definition "contributing to a
welter of claims and counter-claims about the prevalence and
deadliness of mass shootings. With improved data,
policymakers would arguably have additional vantage points
from which to assess the legislative proposals that are
inevitably made in the wake of these tragedies."
147 of the shootings tracked by Shooting Tracker actually didnt result in a single death. 355 in 336 days
More than 40 percent of all 2015s mass shootings didnt kill anybody. Another 104, just under 30 percent, had a single fatality, which means more than two-thirds of all mass shootings arent even multi-homicide events.
The New York Times just published its first front-page
editorial since 1920 and it's slamming gun violence
For the first time since 1920, The New York Times has published an op-ed on its front page.
The editorial titled, "End the The Gun Epidemic in America" takes aim at gun control in the US, a topic that has frequently become front-of-mind nationally, amid a sharp rise in mass shootings this year.
In the piece, The Times' editorial board writes: "It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency."
See also: New firearms bill seeks to make guns as difficult to get as abortions
The op-ed, set to be published Saturday, comes days after a husband and wife opened fire at a social services agency in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others.
Critics have often slammed US lawmakers for a number of failings surrounding the issue including the lack of consensus on how to limit access to certain types of weapons.
The article goes on to classify some firearms as "weapons of war, " and implicates the weapons industry for marketing guns "as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection."
The editorial board then launches into a strongly worded rebuke of US politicians, who offer thoughts and prayers for victims of gun violence, "and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing."
So far in 2015, there have been more than 350 mass shootings in the US more shootings than days in the year, so far.
Writers accuse lawmakers of "distracting us with arguments about the word terrorism," and says that mass shootings "are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism."
Politicians in the US have been taken to task about the lack of progress toward stricter gun laws. President Obama notably vented his frustration on the matter after the Umpqua Community College shooting in October this year, in which eight students and a teacher were killed.
During a press conference hours after the shooting that day, Obama said "This is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together."
The Times concedes a point often declared by gun-control opponents that tougher gun laws won't stop "determined killers" from acquiring weapons.
But, the newspaper then points to other countries, like
Norway, France and England, that have taken steps toward
limiting access to guns, and slams the US for largely
failing to do the same.
A shooing a day keeps the reality at bay. Numbed out to it. GOPPs solution doesn't work and their solution to many things like giving the rich big tax breaks will see them increase hiring to make up for the break. Trickle down theory is actually trickle up.
Huff Post - 22% of adults personnaly know someone who was shot and killed 22% of us adults know someone who used a gun to kill themselves. 7% said it was family. Meanwehile the FBI handled a record number of gun ppurchases on blck fridaay.
"ISIS and the Christian Right both want their End Times prophecies fulfilled...They are monsters desperate to fight in a religion-fueled clash of civilizations...They both want orgiastic violence with the blessing of their godhead...If those forces are cut loose...People around the world, both religious and non-religious, will be made to suffer. The religious fundamentalists in ISIS and the Christian Right will get their heaven while the rest of us will get hell."
American Exceptionalism? ISIS and the Christian Right are More Alike Than Different
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American Exceptionalism is a state of amnesia.
It allows the American people to look abroad, aghast at the barbarism of ISIS and how the latter burns human beings alive, while proclaiming such a thing is unprecedented! Of course, whites often burned black Americans aliveand committed even worse atrocitiesduring the postbellum years of Jim and Jane Crow American Apartheid.
American Exceptionalism can see the terrorist bloodbath in the streets of Paris, and wonder what sort of people would run amok, killing innocent people by the hundreds, terrorizing an entire population. American memoryespecially at the intersection of the white racial frame and white privilegeis very short. Across two centuries, white Americans engaged in racial pogroms against the black community. Many thousands of black Americans were killed in such rampages.
237 black Americans were murdered during one incident in Phillips County, Arkansas during the bloody summer of 1919. In July of 1866, white vigilantes killed 200 African-American civil war veterans in New Orleans. The infamous Colfax Massacre of 1873 would claim the lives of approximately 150 African-Americans. During the assault on the prosperous black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921, it is estimated that as many as 300 African-Americans were killed by white attackerswho used gunfire, as well as bombs dropped by an airplane, in their hellish assault.
The American people wonder, what sort of government would commit torture as an extension of national policy? Destabilize entire parts of the world? Or unleash death squads? This is the modus operandi of ISIS. The United States has also done similar things in Latin and South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
American Exceptionalism is also a state of blindness, one that helps to hide the monsters in both the United States past and present.
America was changed by 9/11. The country has been in a state of perpetual war for 14 years. As philosopher Slavoj Zizek so keenly observed about Bushs War on Terror:
The problem is that America is, precisely, not in a state of war, at least not in the conventional sense of the term (for the large majority, daily life goes on, and war remains the exclusive business of state agencies). With the distinction between a state of war and a state of peace thus effectively blurred, we are entering a time in which a state of peace can at the same time be a state of emergency.
This schizoid state is one of the pillars of Americas national derangement. The Paris Terror Attacks will only gin up more war fever, anxiety, and fear on the part of the American people. America wages war abroad. The people live in a state of relative peace at home. But they anticipate the quakes and pain of blow back and retaliation for the acts committed by their leaders and warriors abroad. And this anxiety is a type of political capital that can be easily exploited by conservatives (and some Democrats) for selfish gain.
ISIS, those monsters abroad, want more war. This is why they expanded their area of operations to Europe.
There are elements in America, mostly on the Right, who do not see war as a last resort, but rather as the first and always preferable solution to all foreign policy challenges. They do not contemplate war reluctantly. They yearn for it, as a larger war with ISIS will serve their apocalyptic dreams of Christian Rapture and End Times eschatology. These people are the monsters at home.
ISIS and the Christian Right both want their End Times prophecies fulfilled.
They are monsters desperate to fight in a religion-fueled clash of civilizations.
They both want orgiastic violence with the blessing of their godhead.
There are many reasons why the United States is vulnerable to this poison in the body politic and broader political culture. The first and foremost cause is that the United States is in the grips of what is best described as a type of soft authoritarianism. This condition has helped to cripple and undermine the American peoples moral reasoning, decision-making, and resistance to radical right-wing political ideologies.
Soft authoritarianism consists of many things. It is the rise of the surveillance society, the corporate neoliberal state, and a democracy that only responds to the rich and powerful. Soft authoritarianism is also demonstrated by rampant police violence, thuggery, and murder against people of color and the poor. The Right-wings politics of disorientation, where lies are presented as the truth, is central to the rise of soft authoritarianism in the United States. Soft authoritarianism is given life through the American people as well. As Jonathan Weiler demonstrates in his book Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics, authoritarian values are increasingly common in the United States, with Republicans, quite predictably, being much more likely to possess such attitudes.
The Republican Partys 2016 presidential primary contenders shamelessly flaunt their authoritarian beliefs. They are nativists, want to expand the national security state, build walls on the border, believe in the mass deportation of millions of illegal aliens, destroy the public commons, and support law and order policies that in practice disproportionately, and unjustly, abuse black and brown people and the poor.
In total, soft authoritarianism has created a safe environment for the Christian Right to flourish: scared, disoriented, hopeless and frightened people seek out meaning and security, oftentimes from demagogues, radical religion, and extreme politics.
This is the appeal of ISIS for its followers. This is also the appeal of the Christian Right, Christian Dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism especially, for its followers as well. ISIS and the American Christian Right are not the same thing. But, they share many traits and beliefs in common.
ISIS and the American Christian Right both believe that:
1.Theocracy is the best form of government
These beliefs are not held only by extremists on the American Christian Right.
They are increasingly common attitudes among Republicans. To wit, a February 2015 poll found that 57 percent of Republicans want to make Christianity the national religion of the United States. Conservative Christian religious organizations are actively manipulating public policy (under benignly sounding Religious Freedom Restoration Acts) on the State and Federal level in order to prevent them from having to comply with constitutionally mandated civil rights laws. Republican candidates such as Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, and others believe that gods law (as they interpret it from the Bible) should trump civil society.
In keeping with its theocratic vision and myth that the United States was founded as a Christian Nation, the Republican Partys platform even contains language such as, We assert every citizens right to apply religious values to public policy and the right of faith-based organizations to participate fully in public programs without renouncing their beliefs, removing religious symbols, or submitting to government-imposed hiring practices.
There are forces of political extremism and radical religion at work in the American Right-wing and ISIS. Both are driven by apocalyptic dreams where a supernatural savior or god returns to inaugurate a fictive paradise on Earthor alternatively to quite literally rapture them to heaven as they leap out of their clothes and disappear to some netherworld. Both ISIS and the American Christian Right-wing believe that their god will commit acts of violence against non-believers. There is pleasure in enjoying violence by proxy.
Rational and sane people, both in the United States and West, as well as the Arab world, will be sacrificed to serve that goal.
To label the American Christian Right as the American Taliban (or perhaps less generously as The American ISIS in Waiting) is not hyperbolic. It is an accurate description of their theocratic vision and worldviewone that to this point has been restricted and somewhat restrained by the Constitution, legal precedence, mainstream political culture and values, and standing norms and values about the separation of Church and State.
But even with that restraint, Christian extremism still held great sway over one of the most disastrous foreign policy decisions in American history. President George W. Bush was, as reported by The Guardian, rumored to have justified the horrific misadventure that was the second Iraq War by using the logic of Christian Fundamentalism and End Times superstition:
Here's a story we should all be ashamed of missing: George W Bush attempted to sell the invasion of Iraq to Jacques Chirac using biblical prophecy.
In the winter of 2003, when George Bush and Tony Blair were frantically gathering support for their planned invasion, Professor Thomas Römer, an Old Testament expert at the University of Lausanne, was rung up by the Protestant Federation of France. They asked him to supply them with a summary of the legends surrounding Gog and Magog and as the conversation progressed, he realised that this had originally come, from the highest reaches of the French government.
President Jacques Chirac wanted to know what the hell President Bush had been on about in their last conversation. Bush had then said that when he looked at the Middle East, he saw "Gog and Magog at work" and the biblical prophecies unfolding. But who the hell were Gog and Magog? Neither Chirac nor his office had any idea. But they knew Bush was an evangelical Christian, so they asked the French Federation of Protestants, who in turn asked Professor Römer.
He explained that Gog and Magog were, to use theological jargon, crazy talk. They appear twice in the Old Testament, once as a name, and once in a truly strange prophecy in the book of Ezekiel
Bush seems to have taken the threat of Gog and Magog to Israel quite literally, and, if this story can be believed, to have launched a war to stop them.
American Exceptionalism has blinded many people to how the vicious and wicked violence of ISIS exists along the same continuum as the theocratic madness and delusional thinking that drives Christian extremism in the United States. ISIS and the Christian Right are both monstrous. The former has been set free by failed states and disastrous American and Western interventions in the Middle East. The Christian Right, with its snarling Dominionists, Reconstructionists, and other Protestant extremists, are held on a chain by the American Constitution and liberal-democratic norms and values. Unfortunately, Americas consensus politics have been systematically undermined by the Republican Party, the neoliberal deluge, and the Christian theocrats.
If those forces are cut loose, perhaps by additional ISIS terror attacks on the West, or just as a function of broken politics and an opportunistic Right-wing demagogue, nothing good will come from it. People around the world, both religious and non-religious, will be made to suffer. The religious fundamentalists in ISIS and the Christian Right will get their heaven while the rest of us will get hell.
Editor's note: Assuming there
is a Heaven. In actuallity, the world's population will get
a living hell as civilization burns and scorches the earth.
The earth, however, will replenish itself and the meek will
reinherit it - the spiders and cock roaches.
Christian and islamic extremists are different sides of the same coin
There Have Been More Mass Shootings This Year Than
There Have Been Days
Americans were exposed to the terror of mass gun violence again on Wednesday, this time at a social services center in San Bernardino, California. The initial reports revealed a distressingly familiar pattern: A heavily armed active shooter or shooters, at least 14 people dead and more injured, harrowing images of law enforcement and first responders rushing to get the area under control, and stunned people -- some of them wounded and bleeding -- streaming out of the facility.
It seems like we've seen this time and time again. But mass shootings occur even more frequently than many people realize, because most of them don't make the national news.
Over on Reddit, the Guns Are Cool community has compiled a list of every U.S. mass shooting this year. According to their count, Wednesday's burst of violence was the 355th this year.
The moderators of the subreddit -- which is not actually of the belief that guns are cool -- use a broad definition of mass shooting, listing every event in which "four or more people [including the shooter] are shot in a spree." Under this definition, a shooting that wounds at least four people, but doesn't kill them, is still a mass shooting. That means the mass shooting in San Bernardino wasn't even the first one on Wednesday -- one woman was killed and three people were injured in an early morning shooting in Savannah, Georgia.
The number and frequency of mass shootings in the U.S. has become an increasingly heated point of debate over the past few years. The FBI doesn't have an official definition of mass shooting, and there are disagreements over how to count the incidents.
Mother Jones, for example, uses a much narrower
definition of of this form of gun violence. In its "Guide to
Mass Shootings in America," the publication defines a mass
shooting as a single episode carried out by a single shooter
in a single location, usually a public place, that kills at
least four people. Mother Jones also excludes most crimes
that are primarily related to gang activity, armed robbery
or domestic violence. Using this definition, there have been
72 mass shootings since 1982, the most recent at Umpqua
Community College, in Roseburg, Oregon, in October.
Gay Marriage (Review the books I have on the
subject. Close with the line about bridal registry.
God wasn't able to revea the truth about homosexuality 2,000 years ago beaucse people woldn't be able to understand it. Like it was reported that native American's didn't see the Spanyards ships because their brains couldn't comprehend something they had no knowledge of. Then the early proponents of Christianity took it upon themselves, for the sake of "organized religion", to select what was supposedly written three hundred yea's previously, to make some fact and some excluded or fiction. There are no eye-witness author's in the Bible.
In the wisdom of the church elders, they took long-term pagan holiday dates and created of Christian celebration around them. Jesus birth dater. solstice, ohers,and Easdter jumps around allover the place. Since Christ was said to proclaim no idols before him, the Roman (Jumbalia) Catholic Church called them Saints but in reality most saints have taken on the personal of many early pagan god or goddness.
Sodom and Gamor wasn't about gay men
Lie down next to another man was a direction to the Philasenian priests, therefore priestial celebacy.
Other abominaitons don't bother fundamentalist Christians.
All the recommended killings in the Bible aren't followed except for the craziest of Chrisin Zeealots.
Get over it. If marriage is a heterosexual priveledge, that allof the 1,400 laws given married people ae heterosexal priveledge and should be disallowed.
God, for years, has used science to inform people of reality.
End the Gun Epidemic in America
All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.
But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.
It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. Americas elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Lets be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.
Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.
But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.
It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.
Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.
What better time than during a presidential election to
show, at long last, that our nation has retained its sense
Fear of Terrorism Can Harm Your Health
The recent attacks and shootings across the world have shown that terrorism is still a clear and present danger, but Israeli scientists have found that the fear and anxiety created by the attacks - fear that is displayed all too visibly in the media aftermath - can be deadly on its own.
The survey of 17,380 workers in Tel
Aviv showed that people who described themselves as
worried about personal safety, tense in crowded places,
and/or fearful of a terror strike harming them or their
families were significantly more likely to experience higher
heart rates over time, which (along with inflammation
is associated with an increased risk
of heart attack and stroke .
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