Progressive media outlet Vox responded to the Sunday terror attack in Orlando with an article stating, “after Sandy Hook we said never again. And then we let 998 mass shootings happen.”
This is misleading, as the data claims America had 11.6 times more mass shootings than actually occurred, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
TheDCNF found that of the 998 “mass shootings” noted by Vox Sunday, only 86 — or roughly eight percent — meet the threshold of a “mass murder” as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and academics. This lack of “mass murder” didn’t stop Vox founder Ezra Klein from tweeting an updated map of 998 “mass shootings,” which was retweeted almost 25,000 times and favorited more than 22,000 times.
After Sandy Hook we said never again. And then we let 998 mass shootings happen: https://t.co/uXN3iwyJsx
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) June 12, 2016
Vox’s definition of a “mass shooting” isn’t an official one taken from law enforcement or academia, but appears to be originally created by anti-gun activists from the website Reddit. Vox defines a mass shooting as any shooting where four or more people are injured or killed, not counting the shooter. However, criminologists and law enforcement define it as four or more people killed, not counting the shooter.
This distinction is important, because additional Vox data shows there are more than four times as many injuries in mass shootings than deaths, according to TheDCNF’s analysis. Using the exact same data, but changing Vox’s definition of “mass shooting” to the law enforcement and academic definition, eliminates almost 92 percent of mass shootings and doesn’t show any increase in these shootings in recent years.
Additionally, many of the shootings that do qualify as “mass murder” were actually grisly murder-suicides, gangland massacres, or robberies. A 2013 FBI inquiry found that only 160 “active shooter incidents” between 2000 and 2013, when gang-related shootings were excluded.
To the Vox’s credit, the outlet does acknowledge criminologists use the more stringent “mass murder” definition. The article, however, claims that its estimate of mass shootings is likely low because some shootings aren’t reported.
The implication of the Klein’s tweet and Vox’s map was that Orlando is just the latest incident in a nearly daily deluge of so-called “mass” shootings. The Vox article was updated Monday, but does not state that the attacker, who left almost 50 people dead and 53 injured, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
Daily Caller interns Josh Hamburger, Ford Springer and Jacqueline Thomas contributed to the analysis of Vox’s data that went into this report.
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