Of course, there is nothing new about the far right guns for all crowd pulling “facts” from their nether regions and swearing by them. In the case of Jim Rubens, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for the Senate against Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), we get crazy on steroids.
A long-time gun advocate, Rubens went on a “2nd Amendment Protection Tour” around New Hampshire earlier this year to show that when he got to Washington he would stand up and defend the right of every American to pack as much heat as they want. During the tour he spoke of a “study” that had found that armed citizens drastically reduce the number of deaths in a mass shooting situation.
“In mass shooting incidents where you had a person inside the premises during the incident,” he said, “you have an average of 2.5 people killed if there is someone with a firearm able to stop the crime in progress,” he said. “In similar instances where there’s no such person with a firearm, you have an average of 18 people killed and dead as a result of it.”
When he was asked to back up such a wild claim, Rubens referred to an article by Davi Barker, a man who operates a blog called Daily Anarchist.
Barker wrote an article in July of 2012 in which he claimed to have studied several mass shootings and concluded that the average number of deaths in a shooting stopped by the police was 18.25.
“I based it on 10 shootings I found listed on some timeline somewhere, I honestly don’t even remember where.” he said in the article.
When he posted those “statistics” on Facebook, he was challenged and then claimed to have done a more in-depth analysis of 100 such shootings and revised his numbers accordingly. He now states that when the police stop the shooter the average number of deaths is closer to 14.29 as opposed to 2.33 when citizens intervene.
Not surprisingly, neither Rubens or Barker see one of the major flaws in this analysis; that a mass shooting is one in which four or more victims are shot, meaning that all of those with a lower number of victims have to be thrown out of the equation completely.
The truth is that most rampage shootings end when the shooter runs out of targets or commits suicide. One frequently employed method of ending a rampage is when the targets barricade themselves in a room where the shooter can no longer access them, often that is the point at which he suicides.
A more reliable source for statistics on this type of event is an FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin authored by Dr. Pete Blair, who is the director of research for the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center (ALERRT), and an associate professor of criminal justice at Texas State University.
After analyzing over 100 shootings between 2000 and 2012, Blair and his team found that the median number of victims, excluding the shooter, was five and, in fact, Blair notes that a shooting with 18 victims is extremely rare.
Blair acknowledges that in cases where there is citizens intervene, it is logical to expect that there would be fewer casualties, but his research found few instances in which the shooting ended before police arrived because a citizen was armed with a gun. The most common reason that a shooting ends prior to arrival of the police is that the shooter simply stops shooting — and in those incidences when a citizen does intervene, it is more likely to be by physically tackling the shooter than firing a weapon at him or her.
He found only three such incidents in which a citizen with a gun stopped a rampage shooter, and two of them were trained off duty police officers.
Blair, who offers training to civilians in ways to protect themselves in a rampage shooting situation, recommends that their first course of action should be to remove themselves from the attacker’s presence and they should take action only when there is no possible escape.
Politifact labeled Rubens’ claim as “False.”
More from AATTP on mass shootings and guns in America:
- Lying Arizona Republican: Democrats Are Behind Most Mass Shootings
- DISGUSTING: Tea Partier Blames ‘War on Masculinity’ for UCSB Mass Shooting
- Heartless Congress Wannabee Deploys Pro-Gun Robocalls Hours After Mass Shooting (Audio)
- ‘Murika 2014: Schools Hosting Mass Shooting Drills Including Fake Blood and Blank Ammo (Video)
- Mass Shootings and Our Culture of Exclusion: A Vital Message for America