On December 14, 2017, CNN’s Jim Acosta claimed America has witnessed “1,552 mass shootings” since the heinous attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School.
This means Acosta is claiming an average of approximately 310 mass shootings a year for each of the past five years.
It is important to note that he attempts to bolster this claim via information provided by a tracking site sponsored by gun controllers. That tracking site–the Gun Violence Archive–diverges from FBI definition of a mass shooting as four fatalities or more in one incident so as to include shootings in which no fatalities occur.
Since Sandy Hook there have been at least 1,552 mass shootings, with at least 1,767 people killed and 6,227 wounded. https://t.co/RZeFDHhYmR
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) December 14, 2017
Other members of the left have been spewing similar numbers for years. At times, their claims have gotten so outlandish that members of their own circles have called them out for it.
For example, in December 2015 Breitbart News reported that Mother Jones’ editor Mark Follman called out leftists for claiming “355 mass shootings” in that calendar year alone. Follman published a column in the The New York Times, which said:
At Mother Jones, where I work as an editor, we have compiled an in-depth open-source database covering more than three decades of public mass shootings. By our measure, there have been four “mass shootings” this year, including the one in San Bernardino, and at least 73 such attacks since 1982.
Note–using the actual FBI definition of mass shootings, Follman could only find four mass shootings for the entire year, yet leftists were claiming 355.
Think about it this way–It is easy to swell the number of car accidents recorded for a given year if butterflies hitting the windshield are counted as an accident. Moreover, it is easy to swell the number of falls recorded every year if stumbling without actually falling is counting as a fall nonetheless.
In the same way, it is easy to swell the number of mass shootings if the definition of mass shooting is changed so as to include street crimes in which no one is killed or by including the life of the attacker in the reported number of deaths resulting from an alleged shooting. The Gun Violence Archive does both these things and Acosta’s tweet ultimately rests on that approach to claim “1552 mass shootings” during the past five years.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange