BY JOHN HALTIWANGER ON 10/2/17 AT 11:39 AM
The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was shocking in its scale — but it wasn’t a surprise that it was committed by a white male.
Statistics show that since 1982, the majority of mass shootings — 54 percent — were committed by white men, according to data from Mother Jones. Black people were the second largest perpetrators of mass shootings based on ethnic background, but only accounted for roughly 16 percent of the total incidents during the same time period. …
Other research suggests white men commit mass shootings out of a sense of entitlement.
James Holmes, for example, had failed out of his PhD program when he opened fire in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Dylann Roof was unemployed when he gunned down nine people at the end of a prayer service in a Charteston [sic], South Carolina church.
“There’s a feeling of entitlement that white men have that black men don’t,” criminologist James Alan Fox told The Washington Post in 2012. “They often complain that their job was taken by blacks or Mexicans or Jews. They feel that a well-paid job is their birthright. It’s a blow to their psyche when they lose that. . . . If you’re a member of a group that hasn’t historically experienced unemployment, there’s a far greater stigma to [losing a job] than those who have.”
But others say it’s hard to point to any single factor in terms of why white men have comitted [sic] most mass shootings.
Such as whites making up a sizable majority of males on average over the time period since 1982?
Meanwhile, from the New York Times:
From Newsweek’s source, Mother Jones, there have only been 10 mass shootings since Orlando. The New York Times, in contrast, counts 521. Which is it?
I can’t tell what Mother Jones’ criteria is, but it looks like a minimum of three killed. The New York Times criterion is a total of at least four wounded or killed.
And if there have been 521 since June 2016, were a majority committed by white men? Or have a large fraction been gangbangers banging away in the general direction of another gang?
All these events are bad. But they tend to be rather different. Most of the NYT’s “mass shootings” are carried out by criminals for impulsive or business reasons. The shooters usually want to stay alive and unarrested so they scram quickly after unleashing some bullets. They typically don’t use rifles and don’t hang around to finish off the wounded.
The much rarer mass killing shootings in the Mother Jones list tend to be carried out by suicidal killers. Suicide is more of a white thing, homicide a black thing.
An affluent, well-organized, determined suicide killer sounds like an odd case to use as a call for gun control since it’s not clear how gun control could stop somebody determined.
In the Mother Jones list there are only 8 from 1982-1989, and then they start to accelerate around 1991. Interestingly, they stop after 9/11 for almost two years, but then sped up again. Why was that?