336 days, 355 mass shootings

I got this from The Washington Post‘s Wonkblog. How is a “mass shooting” defined for the purposes of this count?

The San Bernardino shooting is the 355th mass shooting this year, according to a mass shooting tracker maintained by the Guns Are Cool subreddit. The Reddit tracker defines mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people, including the gunman, are killed or injured by gunfire.

The Mass Shooting Tracker is different from other shooting databases in that it uses a broader definition of mass shooting — the old FBI definition focused on four or more people killed as part of a single shooting.

It would be also be the second mass shooting just today — in the early morning hours, one person was killed and three were injured in an incident in Savannah, Georgia.

Speaking after the Colorado Springs shooting last week, President Obama urged Americans to not let this type of violence “become normal.” But the data show that this type of incident already is normal. There have been more mass shootings than calendar days so far this year…

So if only three people are hit, it’s not a mass shooting, by this count.

34 thoughts on “336 days, 355 mass shootings

    1. Michael Bramson

      Does it matter? No matter how you count it, there are a truly horrific number of mass shootings in this country all the time.

      As for the definition, I don’t see why the specific number of people for the cutoff matters all that much, but I can see an argument for including non-fatal injuries in the count. If twenty people are shot and none of them die, I’d still call that a mass shooting, as distinct from a mass murder.

  1. Assistant

    Too many shootings don’t receive the attention they should because they happen frequently in drug-infested, igh-crime areas. I’d not be surprised of my old home town, Chicago, had two or three mass shooting each weekend. Baltimore certainly comes close. Most the shooters have the guns illegally because as felons they are barred from owning firearms. Until recently, getting a CWP in Illinois was impossible, now it’s just a bit hard. More folks are getting them and carrying; according to many reports, they are having some effect. But I digress.

    A great example of felony perps are the guys in jail or being sought for the 11/22/2015 New Orleans’ Bunny Friend Playground shooting after a neighborhood parade. 17 people were shot, the youngest victim was 10; fortunately nobody was killed. Joseph “Moe” Allen and several others were involved as shooters, Moe’s behind bars. But why was Moe on the loose?

    “Allen faces 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported. Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office records show he is a convicted felon with a rap sheet dating from 2002 that includes home invasion, carjacking, illegal carrying of weapon and possession of cocaine and heroin, the newspaper reported.”

    What a resume!

  2. bud

    Can someone explain why the senate today voted down a bill to ban people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing a firearm????????????????????

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Since you used up your week’s supply of question marks, I’ll answer your question.

      There’s no problem with putting people on a list. Three’s no due process concerns with the government compiling a list of people they suspect of being terrorist. It’s just our government’s way of figuring out who to be on the lookout for. They can put anyone on there for any reason. You’re not being convicted of a crime or denied any rights – you’re just on a list.

      Importantly, the list isn’t intended to be applied in a civil context to deny people the right to do things. For instance, it’s important to distinguish it from the “No-Fly List” which is different.

      So now we have people who want to deny an enumerated right based on being simply placed on a list. I assume that the bill essentially said “If you’re on the Terrorist Watch List, then you can’t own a firearm.” Well, let’s think about that for a second. First, remember the government can put anyone on the Terrorist Watch List for simply suspecting them of being involved in terrorism. So, this bill would deny an enumerated right to people simply by virtue of being suspected of something. Do you see the problem yet?

      There’s no due process here. Someone in the government can just add your name to a list, and poof, your Constitutionally enumerated right to have a firearm is gone.

      If you still don’t see the problem, let’s try another enumerated right – say free speech. Do you think that Congress could pass a law that says “No one on the terrorist watch list is allowed to stand outside the Lincoln Memorial and protest.” Obviously, simply being suspected of terrorism isn’t enough to deny someone their First Amendment rights.

      Or we could go with voting. I mean, you don’t want these evil people on the Terrorist Watch List voting, do you?

      Do you see why this is not a good idea?

        1. Matt Bohn

          The precedent has been set. We did get rid of the 18th Amendment because of unintended consequences. It seems like there a lot of unintended consequences with liberal gun ownership. Why not?

        1. Bryan Caskey

          I at least respect that position for its intellectual honesty. Also, I think Hillary! should totally make that a central plank of her campaign for President.

    2. Bryan Caskey

      I can make it even easier. Should people on watch lists be locked up or sent to Gitmo? Think about why your answer is “no” and go from there.

      1. bud

        Really Bryan that was a piss poor answer. This isn’t about due process. We don’t let people drive until they can demonstrate they are capable of doing so. If they drive drunk we take away the privelage. No one has an unfettered RIGHT to own a firearm. No one has an unfettered RIGHT to say whatever the hell they want. The bill of rights is not an absolute. As an attorney you should know that. NO ONE ON THE DO NOT FLY LIST SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BUY A GUN until they clear up the reason for being on the list. Period. Why is that so complicated?

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Piss-poor? I thought it was a pretty lucid, intelligent, well thought out point, but I guess you’re overruling me, Judge Haller.. Oh well. Sometimes a Judge has his mind made up before the lawyers start talking.

          It is, in fact, about due process. If you want to champion the idea that we should strip people of an enumerated Constitutional right without due process, then I guess you’re free to do so, but I’m not going down that road with you.

          I’m just going to take a wild guess and speculate that most of the American citizens on the Terrorist Watch List are Muslims. If you want to be the proponent of a policy that disproportionately affects Muslims, then you run with that. Is this the sort of “Anti-Muslim backlash” that I’ve been hearing about?

          Since we’ve established that you’re totally cool with disproportionately stripping Muslim Americans of an enumerated Constitutional right without any sort of due process, I assume you’re cool to take the lesser step of explicitly profiling Muslims at airports and other checkpoints. If not, then that’s an interesting adventure in inconsistency you’ve got going on there.

          Driving isn’t a specifically enumerated right in the Constitution. I think you know this and implicitly acknowledge this because you refer to it as a privilege, rather than a right. You also know that even this privilege is revoked in the context of drunk driving after a conviction in a court of law, not simply based on your “suspicion” of drunk driving.*

          “The bill of rights is not an absolute.”

          No, it’s not an absolute. I don’t believe I’ve ever claimed that it was. However, the Bill of Rights is part of our Constitution, and I hear the Constitution is a pretty big deal ’round these parts. I’ve even heard that enumerated Constitutional rights are strongly protected.

          But saying you can’t own a firearm isn’t just nibbling around the edge of the Second Amendment. You’re not debating magazine sizes, barrel lengths, where you can carry, or ammunition composition. You’re talking about completely eliminating the right. Accordingly, you’ve got a high bar to clear. Being “under suspicion” or “on a list” doesn’t get you over the bar, in my humble opinion.

          NO ONE ON THE DO NOT FLY LIST SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BUY A GUN until they clear up the reason for being on the list. Period. Why is that so complicated?

          A few points: First, you need to work on your advocacy. You’re just making a conclusory statement without any supporting reasoning. Doing the ALL CAPS thing just makes you sound like Bernie Sanders in my head, which is kind of humorous, but it doesn’t persuade.

          Also, are we talking about the Do Not Fly List, or the Terrorist Watch List? These are two different things. Personally, I think the no-fly list is problematic, itself. Also, how do you “clear up the reason for being on the list”? Do you have to file an action in federal court if you’re on a watch list and you want to buy a gun? What’s the procedure? Again, being on a watch list doesn’t require you to commit a crime. Being on the list isn’t a crime in and of itself. I don’t even think there’s any specific criteria for what gets you on the watch list. What’s to stop President Caskey from putting every single registered Democrat on the terrorist watch list?

          Talk to me about limiting factors.

          *Yes, I’m aware of the implied consent law regarding breathalyzers, and I’m distinguishing it because it’s temporary in time until your trial. But yes, that’s problematic for my argument, and I admit it. However, driving a car isn’t an enumerated Constitutional right.

          1. Mark Stewart

            While I have agreed with you from the start on this issue, there is one other comparable situation that is an interesting precedent. It isn’t one I agree with either, but it has become common practice – especially in SC.

            Here is the whopper: Family Courts do this all the time based upon nothing other than an allegation or insinuation. There is no rebuttal and certainly no conviction. For no reason the Court can squash one’s right to even own a gun.

            As I said it’s a troubling precedent. I understand why the Family Court goes down this road, but as you say, Constitutionally it is on very shaky ground.

            It is an interesting counterpoint, regardless.

            1. Bryan Caskey

              If you’re talking about how a restraining order issued by a family court (even mutual restraining orders) implicates federal firearms laws, yeah that’s something that crops up every once in awhile.

              To deal with that in situations where my client is a gun-owner and there’s no real serious allegations of abuse, I’ve started to send proposed language to the Court that restrains the parties from having “adverse contact” and then explicitly stating “this order shall not implicate and is not intended to trigger any elements of 18 USCA §922(g)(8)”. I haven’t gotten any push-back yet on that, and I think it solves the problem.

          2. bud

            I didn’t really want to make this a second amendment debate. The point I really want to make is that it is a very good idea for congress to pass legislation that prohibits people on the “do not fly list” or the “terrorist watch list” from obtaining a gun. That information could be included in the background check information and by law those folks would be denied the purchase. I believe that would be a prudent safety measure. All Bryan’s other examples I believe are bad ideas, hence non-sequesters. If someone challenges such a law then the courts could rule. Nothing in the second amendment says laws cannot be passed to prevent certain people from buying a gun. Even the execrable Heller ruling specifically says laws can be passed to restrict gun usage. In fact “gun” isn’t included in the amendment. The term is “arms”. That would mean B-52 loaded with nuclear bombs. No one would suggest private citizens have that right. So clearly there are exceptions to the right to “bear arms” But, if the courts rules otherwise then I guess I’m wrong but I think it was bad not to pass the legislation.

            But before I leave this topic I simply cannot let this statement go unchallenged:

            Bud, if you want to argue in favor of a policy that has the same underlying rationale for why we put the Japanese-Americans in internment camps after Pearl Harbor, you’re going to have to explain it a little better than typing in ALL CAPS. Maybe you’re not explaining it correctly to me.
            – Bryan

            how about no caps. to compare the internment of japanese-americans to people on the do not fly list is arguably the biggest leap in logic ever enumerated on the bradwarthen blog. the underlying rationale is completely different. first of all the j-as were not suspected of anything. those on the do not fly list are at least likely threats. they are not thrown into internment camps with no recourse but rather have plenty of options to clear their name if accused falsely. the government has every right to use reasonable measures, including inflicting some inconvenience on it’s citizens that it suspects of being a threat. that’s why the do not fly list exists in the first place. could the government get it wrong ? of course. banks get your credit rating wrong. and it caused inconvenience. but i find this is an issue where a bit of prudence is well worth a bit of inconvenience. do you want the blood of many americans on your hands because you’re squeamish about some unspecified constitutional right?

            And just for the record I doubt this will do much to prevent mass shootings. It’s just a small, common sense measure that might help a bit.

            1. Bryan Caskey

              And just for the record I doubt this will do much to prevent mass shootings. It’s just a small, common sense measure that might help a bit.

              The record shall so reflect. Thank you, counselor.

              Ok, who’s ready for some bourbon?

            2. Bryan Caskey

              Apparently, the editorial board of this small time newspaper that no one has ever heard of agrees with me.

              I mean, come on. The L.A. Times? They’re totally in the bag for pro-gun stuff, right?

              Per the piece:

              “Truthfully, no one should be allowed to buy assault rifles or other military-style firearms, and the country would be better off with much stronger gun control laws for other firearms than exist now. What’s more, this page disagrees with the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual the right to own a gun. But that is a recognized right, and we find it dangerous ground to let the government restrict the exercise of a right based on mere suspicion.

              (emphasis mine).

                1. Bryan Caskey

                  That would actually be kind of funny if in tomorrow’s paper, they isssued a correction.

                  In yesterday’s editorial, our newspaper advocated for gun-rights for suspected terrorists. Just kidding!

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Corrections are never funny.

                    Except maybe the ones that are SO awful, that have to go on and on and on about everything that was wrong, to the point that it appears that the who, what, where, when, how and why were ALL wrong. Those are so catastrophic that you might as well laugh. If it wasn’t you.

                    I remember ONE of those in my years at The State. It took several inches to explain everything that was wrong. A veteran reporter who was no longer at the top of her game had lost her notebook and gone by memory and ended up remembering wrong on several counts. Horrible.

                    1. Brad Warthen Post author

                      As for writing a news story without your notes…

                      I don’t advise it, you understand, but it can be done. (Provided you have the right stuff, you miserable pudknocker.)

                      When I was a very young reporter (which was the only kind of reporter that I ever was, since I became an editor at 26), and extremely cocky, I did that once.

                      It was when I was in the Gibson County Bureau of The Jackson (TN) Sun. I don’t remember what the story was; I just know that it wasn’t something I couldn’t repeat the reporting for on deadline. I had misplaced my notes, and the desk needed it NOW. I told my editor back in Jackson not to worry; I had it under control. I wrote the story, sent it in (or rather, my secretary sent it in via teletype, the most 19th-century contraption I’d ever seen), and got a call back from my editor saying with great incredulity, “But… you’ve got quotes in it!”

                      I said not to worry; the quotes were right. She asked how I could possibly know that. I told her I knew it. She eventually went along with me.

                      I later heard from a friend in the main office that my editor had walked around the newsroom waving my copy in the air and crying out, “He’s got quotes in it! He doesn’t have his notes, and there are quotes in the story!”

                      No one ever challenged a word of the story. Because it was right…

        2. Bryan Caskey

          Bud, if you want to argue in favor of a policy that has the same underlying rationale for why we put the Japanese-Americans in internment camps after Pearl Harbor, you’re going to have to explain it a little better than typing in ALL CAPS. Maybe you’re not explaining it correctly to me.

          If you could explain to me why it’s not a violation of due process, I’m all ears. Would you like to make an argument on that point, or should I deem that to be an abandoned issue? Please note, an issue is deemed abandoned and will not be considered on appeal if the argument is raised in a brief but not supported by authority. See First Sav. Bank v. McLean, 314 S.C. 361, 363, 444 S.E.2d 513, 514 (1994) (finding appellant abandoned issue when he failed to provide argument or supporting authority); Shealy v. Doe, 370 S.C. 194, 205-06, 634 S.E.2d 45, 51 (Ct. App. 2006) (declining to address an issue on appeal when appellant failed to cite any supporting authority and made conclusory arguments).

          1. Barry


            The – “no fly list” bill the Senate voted down was just a partisan effort- and Bud knows that.

            That’s why they also defeated Senator Cornyn;s amendment- that made more sense to me- and of course Harry Reid helped defeat it because Harry is only interested in playing games.

            Cornyn’s proposal would have allowed the attorney general to delay suspected terrorists from getting a gun for up to 72 hours as they try to get a court to approve blocking the sale of the firearm.

            The transfer of the gun would be blocked if a court determines that the person wanting to buy the gun has committed or will commit an act of terrorism.

            “If you believe the federal government is omniscient and all competent vote for the Feinstein amendment,” Cornyn added ahead of the votes, noting that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) was on a terror watch list.

            Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voted to move forward with Cornyn’s proposal.

    3. Assistant

      Moreover the criteria for putting an identity (name, birthdate, etc.) are murky, and there are no published criteria for getting one’s name off the list. In fact, getting one’s name off the list may be impossible without an act of Congress, which was the case with Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela.

      So what does it take to get on the list?

      Who’s on this watchlist, anyway? According to the DOJ, it’s only “individuals who are known or appropriately suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism . . . .” Key terms there may be “appropriately suspected” or “related to,” which seem a bit generic. But it would be understandable if they erred on the side of including a name, so long as there is a procedure for taking names off the list if necessary.

      And there is, but guess what? A DOJ audit recently found there had been “repeated failures” to update list information and to remove names once it was found that a person did not pose a threat. In fact, the report found “no requirement” in place “to modify and remove, when necessary, watchlist records of non-investigative subjects.” (In other news, subjects who are not being investigated are on the list?)

      Maybe this one-way effect (easy to add, hard to remove) is why the watchlist, it has been estimated, may now have more than one million names on it. The Office of the Inspector General found that, as of April 2007, the watchlist database contained “724,442 records” and “continues to increase by an average of over 20,000 records per month.”

      So the list is a mess, there’s no reason to deny the sale of firearms solely because the individual’s name is on the list.

  3. Burl Burlingame

    My fave political cartoon from this last week:
    (Man looking out window) “Honey, get my gun! I see a black man walking down the street and I feel threatened!”
    (Woman in next room) “Oops! The four-year-old just shot the baby with it!”

  4. Juan Caruso

    When our right to bear arms is suspended, our protected rights to free speech will not endure much longer. While such result might be desired by some of the clueless, many of the lazy, and all of the PC crowd, it is also absolutely essential for fascists and tyrants.

    By the way, any cartoons subsequently published will no doubt have been approved by a “public affairs” bureaucrat (propaganda ministry). Imagine how many more government jobs there would be!

  5. Burl Burlingame

    Keep in mind that most, virtually all, mass shootings aren’t aren’t terrorism. They’re just average, everyday killings, generally of innocent citizens.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        don’t forget the ones that start with a domestic violence situation, or a disgruntled employee/student…
        The New Yorker’s Malcolm Gladwelll piece on how a kid apparently on the autism spectrum was intercepted planning a shooting spree argues that the first person to, say, throw a stone is deeply troubled, and as more and more young people see stones thrown, it starts to be a “thing” to do, divorced from much pathology.

        1. barry

          Don’t think anyone is forgetting those cases- but most “mass” shootings are related to drugs, or gang activity and even some of those are domestic in nature – usually over drugs.

          There are “mass” shootings in Chicago nearly every weekend of the year where young black people kill other black people. It rarely makes the news other than as a group statistic every few months.

          This last weekend? CHICAGO (STMW) — Four people were killed and at least 22 others were wounded in shootings across the city between Friday afternoon and early Monday. The weekend’s latest fatal shooting happened Sunday morning in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side.


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