The Washington Post has put together a database of mass shootings, with yet another definition. The Post has defined “mass killings with a gun” as four or more dead, not counting the perpetrator. (The number wounded is irrelevant.)
Different outlets have different definitions of Mass Shooting. For example, Gun Violence Archive and the New York Times study of every mass shooting in 2015 use four or more killed or wounded, not including the shooter. These fill up with a lot of “One Dead, Four Wounded in Shooting Outside Hip-Hop Concert.” The NYT found for 2016 that almost 3 out of 4 mass shooters and victims of mass shooters were black.
Sailer’s Law of Mass Shootings assumes the broader four struck by bullets definition.
In contrast, four dead is a high threshold for black gun-and-run mass shootings.
In contrast, Mother Jones keeps a carefully curated list of the most mediagenic, most Columbine-like events in which three or more are murdered. It excludes criminal shootouts and domestic mass murders. For 1983-2012, white males accounted for 67% of its mass mass shooters. But in the decade after mass murders went up in 2013, white males were down to 50% of the perps.
This new Washington Post definition puts its database in between the two other approaches. It doesn’t have as many Saturday Night in the ‘Hood shootings, but, unlike Mother Jones’ list, it does have some, and it has a lot of domestics.
Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses.
The WP’s methodology winds up counting a lot of little-publicized domestic slaughters of entire families, as well as the more publicized Columbine-like ones, and some criminal shootouts. But getting to four dead in a black-on-black social event shooting is rare. It happens sometimes, but usually the shooters run away before four victims are dead. From the Post:
Mass shooters come from a variety of races, ages and backgrounds. But nearly all are male.
By an overwhelming margin, men are the ones who shoot their romantic partners and family members, shoot indiscriminately in public places and carry out mass killings in conjunction with other crimes like robbery and drug trafficking.
Since 2006, only 15 of the 453 deadliest mass shootings in the United States—just 3 percent—are known or suspected to have been committed by a woman acting alone.
Another 15 involved both male and female shooters, while an additional 15 killings are unsolved, according to a database maintained by the Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.
The Post defines a mass killing with a gun as a shooting in which at least four people are killed, not counting the shooter.
The median age of shooters and suspected shooters is 31, but the range is large, from 14 years old to 73.
Most shooters and accused shooters are either White (38 percent) or Black (30 percent), followed by Hispanic/Latino (12 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (5 percent) and Native American (1 percent). The remaining 11 percent are of another race or their race is not available.
What they should do is recalculate the percentages with the denominator not being 100% but being the percent of known race. Say that race is known for 92% of the perps. So, then whites would be 38%/92% = 41%.
Anyway, so whites are somewhat underrepresented. Blacks are overrepresented by about the same 2.5x ratio as they are overrepresented in getting killed by cops. Hispanics are a little underrepresented, and Asians are about represented as much as their share of the population, maybe a little less.
Most killers act alone—84 percent of these deadly mass shootings involved a single assailant. When multiple shooters were involved, the vast majority happened during the commission of another crime, such as a drug deal, robbery or gang fight.
Thirty-six percent of shooters died at the scene of the shooting. Of those, 78 percent killed themselves.
Those who survive are almost always caught—just 3 percent of the shootings in the database remain unsolved.
Most convicted shooters—63 percent—are sentenced to life in prison. Twenty-three percent receive lesser sentences. Another 9 percent are sentenced to death.
Sailer’s Law of Mass Shootings—more wounded than dead, shooter is likely black; more dead than wounded, shooter is likely non-black—works because the first type of shooter expects to go lie low at grandma’s for a few days until the whole thing blows over, while the second type of shooter knows he’s never coming home.[Comment at Unz.com]