A gunman opened fire Sunday at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) retweeted skewed numbers to claim it was the 234th mass shooting of 2018.
The FBI defines a mass shooting as four or more killed in one incident, not counting the attacker. Gun Violence Archive, the organization Murphy quoted, augmented the FBI’s definition to include “FOUR or more shot and/or killed in a single event [incident],” not counting the attacker.
When a mass shooting can be four injured instead of four killed, the number of mass shootings necessarily increases, as drive-by shootings, gang violence, and other crimes heretofore omitted from tallies are now included with actual, planned mass shootings in which four or more individuals are killed.
Sen. Murphy tweeted:
America has seen 31 mass shootings in the 26 days of August, bringing this year's total to 234.
Jan: 22 mass shootings
Feb: 14 mass shootings
Mar: 17 mass shootings
Apr: 25 mass shootings
May: 28 mass shootings
Jun: 51 mass shootings
Jul: 46 mass shootings
Aug: 31 mass shootings
— Gun Violence Archive (@GunDeaths) August 26, 2018
On December 4, 2015, Breitbart News reported that the left was claiming 355 mass shootings for that year. Mother Jones editor Mark Follman rebuffed the exaggerated claims by pointing out that the actual number was four. In other words, there were 351 fewer than the left claimed.
Then, as now, the elevated numbers are the result of changing the definition of a mass shooting, which results in referring to other crimes as mass shootings, thereby inaccurately increasing the frequency of mass shooting events.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, 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.