What to do about Mass Shootings

Mass Public Shooting Rate
Mass Public Shooting Rate

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- Deranged Americans with guns are killing people in groups. I realize that many readers of all stances on the subject of guns will regard this as a shocking admission in a gun magazine, but the facts matter.

Note that I have not yet made any claim about the rate of mass shootings or about what we ought to do to prevent them. What I’m doing here is negating the claim of gun control advocates that those of us who care about gun rights ignore homicides committed against crowds.

Is the number of mass shootings on the increase? This is a difficult question since we can’t get everyone to agree on what the term means. But if we adopt the definition that is generally accepted among researchers such as criminologist, Grant Duwe, and is what most people tacitly assume, “any incident in which four or more victims are killed with a firearm within a 24-hour period at a public location in the absence of other criminal activity (robberies, drug deals, gang “turf wars”), military conflict or collective violence,” the frequency has not risen. And the expiration of the federal “assault weapons” ban in 2004 did not change that frequency.

I am often told that I should present these facts to the families of the victims of mass shootings. The implication is that I don’t care about the pain of others, so long as I get to keep my guns. This is a faulty emotional appeal fallacy as well as a case of begging the question, since the assumptions being made are that the only answer to mass shootings is whatever variety of restriction is advocated and I’m a vile person for not feeling the same way that the advocates of control do.

When proposing social policy, it’s not enough to say that we care about the problem meant to be solved. Whatever we suggest as an answer must demonstrate a pattern of past success or at least a reasonable expectation of that in the future. And we have to consider who will be most affected by any new law that we enact.

With that standard in mind, what can we do that will reduce the number of people killed in mass shootings?

One answer touches on the domain of the First Amendment. I am among a number of people who would like to see a lot less fawning over mass shooters in the media. What do I mean here? The shooter’s face is on front pages of newspapers, the top of websites, and the lead in broadcasts. Every detail of his—and yes, it’s mostly males doing it—life, especially his every grievance gets discussed. He gains the coveted status of a celebrity.

I am not going to say that news organizations should be prevented from exercising their freedom of the press. That would be no better than imposing gun control. But the audience doesn’t have to watch, and in the Information Age, we can easily tell the producers that we want news: what happened, how did law enforcement yet again fail to do their jobs, and so forth. Yes, an analysis of the psychological aberrations of the shooter would be relevant, but make it clear what a loser he was.

This would be a small change, one that might not have a lot of effect, since mass shootings will get attention. The attention that needs to be given is to the criminal activity of would-be killers. Mass shooters often have a history of domestic violence, and as in the case of the Parkland shooter, they often give warnings for what they’re about to do.

Whenever an incident occurs, a lot of us question why law enforcement didn’t do anything beforehand, and the answer is exactly as expected. Cops spend most of their enforcement time—which is a small part of their hours on the job—going after petty crimes. I do want acts of vandalism to be prosecuted, but if we have to choose between going after someone who beats his wife, for example, or someone who tags a wall, the priority seems obvious to me. And the mere possession of substances declared to be naughty should be the business of the possessor alone.

That one step, allowing law enforcement to pay attention to crimes that correlate with future escalations, would reduce a lot of violence—violence against domestic partners, violence against classmates or coworkers, and ultimately, lethal violence against whoever the killer regards as a target. This is a solution that violates no one’s rights. Until we’ve tried it, gun control can’t even survive on pragmatic grounds.

About Greg CampGreg Camp

Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kevin Donohue

We as a community were unprepared for the bias of the media in conjunction with progressive ideology. We allowed the number(s) to be exponentially expanded and exploited to the point where we are now and cannot be walked back. The fact that 85% of “gun violence” is committed by those prohibited to purchase, own/possess let alone carry a gun. Relative to mass public shootings, after investigations we learn of the holes not just in normal processes, but especially in locales where the holy grail(s) of gun control are all in place. The complete and utter refusal of progressives to recognize… Read more »

khale davison

Can we give this some publicity in the shooting circles? Sen. Ashkar is seeking public input on this latest attempt at government overreach in NYS. This link will take you to his page, scroll down and begin. The survey is fairly short and also asks for an explanation of why you feel the way you do. Obviously polite thoughtful responses go a lot further than simply speaking your mind.


Babbitt Ken

Finally an objective and well worded response to the foolish emotional arguments of those who would diss arm us in the name of safety! As someone who was picked on mercilessly as a child I can tell you from experience that the taking weapons away from society will not take care of the violence problem. This is a problem That has a lot more to do with how we think. No I have never desired too lash out and kill those who were my antagonist but I certainly can see how that could happen. I personally was raised in a… Read more »


Yes “…a lot less fawning over mass shooters in the media.’ Unfortunately their narrative becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They provide the celebrity status to mass shooters which produces more mass shooters who seek celebrity status. More mass shooters means more cries for gun control. Victims to report on and cries for gun control is a win-win for the media. Law enforcement is in a no-win situation. Most citizens are not aware that it is not the job of law enforcement to protect them. Their job is to intervene in criminal activity that is taking place, gather evidence, report their findings,… Read more »

Herb T

It has been written that most mass shootings are done be democrats or relatives / children of democrats. What logical conclusion? Criminals love gun control laws. Don’t want victims carrying guns, because criminals can get hurt. If a democrat owns a gun or attempts to buy a gun, get the cops to confiscate immediately. Can’t be too careful, and only the red flag victims care about due process.


Saw a graph on the CRPC showing mass shootings on a general increase world wide, with the USA lagging behind. The way the media portrays it, the USA should be blood drenched due to the amount of guns and our ‘gun violence’ culture. The facts don’t lie, ‘gun violence’ is a fact of life, mankind is a violent species to begin with, better weapons only increase the body count. As noted on this site, the media is responsible for a large portion of the shootings in this country by glorifying the shooters, giving them the celebrity they seek. A little… Read more »