If CNN is the apex of fake news, then Jim Acosta is making the case that he deserves to be it’s Most Valuable Player. The Hall of Fame is right around the corner. On the fifth anniversary of Sandy Hook, Acosta claimed that since then there have been 1552 mass shootings. A professor I knew once told me there are 3 types of lies. There are lies, damn lies and statistics. I asked him how statistics could be a lie and he explained that when someone couldn’t come up with the results they want, they merely add unrelated numbers to skew the results.
This is common with anti-gun nuts. For years they have been running the numbers up to levels so outrageous that even liberal news outlets are appalled. Mother Jones’ editor Mark Follman called out leftists for claiming “355 mass shootings” in 2015 alone.
Follman wrote in 2015:
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.
Think about that for a moment. Acosta claimed there were 1552 mass shootings in just 5 years but Mother Jones, a far leftwing site, using the FBI definition of mass shootings found just 73 in the past 33 years. (As of 2015)
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.
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.
Here’s something else you need to take into account. Of the actual number of mass shootings (73 between 1982 and 2015) how many could have been prevented by new gun laws? Almost known I’ll bet. Gun laws mostly affect legal, law abiding citizens, who follow the rules. Criminals don’t care if they break one more law and the have easy access to illegal guns.
Next time someone tells you the NRA is responsible for the most murders in the United States, challenge them. Line up all shooters in prisons across the country and see how many are NRA members. Then see how many possess Democratic voter cards.