Category Archives: Mass killings

How many dead? Database discrepancies…

By Roger Straw, August 6, 2019

Well, of course one death by the hand of a mass shooter is too many.

But the numbers are important, and how are we to know the facts when we read widely varying reports:

    1. “At least 60 people have died in the U.S. from mass shootings in 2019 alone”  – Vallejo Times-Herald on Aug. 6
    2. Prior to the El Paso shooting, “20 mass killings in the US in 2019 claimed 96 lives.”  – The Guardian on Aug 4
    3. “The Ohio mass shooting was the 293rd this year, accounting for 345 killed.”  – The Benicia Independent on Aug 4

Yes, one is too many, but what is the real story of America’s gun violence problem?  How to report with a sense of accuracy?  And how are readers to make sense of the wide discrepancies?

#1 – First, it is likely that the Aug 6 Vallejo Times-Herald headline (60 killed) is just an error.  I can find no other news article making that claim, and the headline is not referenced in the body of the two Associated Press news reports below the headline.

#2 – The Aug 4 Guardian article (96 killed) refers to “a database compiled by the Associated Press, Northeastern University and USA Today.”  The database only counts shootings where four or more people killed, not including the shooter.  Using this methodology, the shooting in Dayton was only “the 22nd mass killing in the US this year.  The first 20 mass killings in the US in 2019 claimed 96 lives.”

#3 – My own reporting here on the Benicia Independent relies on two very similar databases with shockingly higher numbers: MassShootingTracker.org and GunViolenceArchive.org.  Both of these track all shootings where 4 or more people are SHOT (not just those where 4 or more are killed).  The justification for this as stated by example on MassShootingTracker is convincing: “…in 2012 Travis Steed and others shot 18 people total. Miraculously, he only killed one. Under the incorrect definition used by the media and the FBI, that event would not be considered a mass shooting! Arguing that 18 people shot during one event is not a mass shooting is absurd.”  One difference between these two is that MassShootingTracker includes the death of the shooter, while GunViolenceArchive does not.  Thus, they give these numbers for 2019 as of today, Aug 6:

Database – Mass Shootings in 2019 Incidents Killed Wounded
MassShootingTracker.org 298 353 1162
GunViolenceArchive.org 253 275 1055

Only using the more detailed mass shootings data can we understand that in the 218 days of this year, the U.S. is experiencing more than one mass shooting every day.

This is a crisis.

Congress needs to act.  Now.

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    Death toll rises to 22 in El Paso shooting as 2 more victims die in hospital

    ABC News, By Bill Hutchinson & Stephanie Wash, Aug 5, 2019

    The death toll from a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, increased to 22 after two more victims died in the hospital, police said.

    David Shimp, chief executive officer at Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, said one patient died late Sunday night and another Monday morning.

    The victims, whose names were not immediately released, were among more than two dozen people wounded in the massacre that erupted about 10:39 a.m. local time Saturday inside a Walmart crowded with shoppers, including children and parents drawn to a back-to-school sale.

    The wounded ranged in age from 2 years old to 82, according to authorities.

    Dr. Stephen Flaherty, director of trauma at Del Sol Medical Center, said one of the patients who died was an elderly woman.

    PHOTO:A man comforts a woman who was in the freezer section of a Walmart during a shooting incident, in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 03, 2019.
    A man comforts a woman who was in the freezer section of a Walmart during a shooting incident, in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 03, 2019. PHOTO: Ivan Pierre Aguirre/EPA via Shutterstock

    Both patients suffered “major and devastating” wounds that were consistent with high-velocity gun shots, he added.

    “We are truly heartbroken to have to be here to report this,” said Flaherty, his voice cracking with emotion.

    He said he could only speak of the female victim who died.

    “The patient had major intra-abdominal injuries affecting the liver, the kidney and the intestines,” Flaherty said. “She received massive blood transfusion, utilizing all types of blood products.”

    Shimp added that six other wounded victims remain at Del Sol Medical Center, one in critical condition and five in stable condition. He said two other patients were discharged and one was transferred to another local hospital.

    News of the latest death came just hours after the El Paso County Coroner’s Officer removed the last victim’s body from the premises.

    The suspect was identified by authorities as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas. He is being held on a charge of capital murder, court records show.

    John Bash, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, said Sunday that federal authorities are investigating the incident as an act of “domestic terrorism,” meaning the suspect was allegedly intent on “coercing and intimidating a civilian population.”

    Bash said federal authorities are also considering bringing hate crimes and federal firearms charges against Crusius that carry the penalty of death.

    Police said Crusius drove more than 600 miles from his home in the Dallas area to El Paso to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

    Investigators also believe Crusius is the same man who allegedly posted a four-page racist, anti-immigrant document on the dark website 8chan before launching the attack, officials said.

    “We consider this an act of terrorism against the Mexican-American community and the Mexicans living in the United States,” Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said in a video statement.

    At least seven of the 20 people killed were Mexican nationals, and nine additional Mexicans were among those wounded, Ebrard said.

    Ebrard called the shooting an “act of barbarism.”

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      Not just 2 mass shootings – SEVEN mass shootings in two days, and another today!

      By Roger Straw, August 5, 2019

      Thank you, Donald Trump… now… #DOSOMETHING Mitch McConnell!

      The Hope Border Institute held a prayer vigil Sunday in El Paso, Texas. PHOTO: MARK LAMBIE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

      Everyone is talking about the mass murders in El Paso and Dayton.  And well we should be talking – and doing something – about those horrors.

      Thank goodness even our racist President made a powerful speech condemning hate, racism and white supremacist ideology.

      MassShootingTracker.org

      But few are aware that on August 3 and 4, it wasn’t just TWO mass shootings.  On those two days, SEVEN mass shootings in the U.S. were reported on MassShootingTracker.org, and another was reported early today on August 5:

      date killed wounded city state
      8/5/2019 0 4 Brooklyn NY
      8/4/2019 0 4 Grenada Co. MS
      8/4/2019 10 16 Dayton OH
      8/4/2019 1 3 Memphis TN
      8/3/2019 1 7 Chicago IL
      8/3/2019 0 7 Chicago (Douglas Park) IL
      8/3/2019 20 26 El Paso TX

      As I reported yesterday, mass shootings have become an everyday occurrence.  By the time I finish this, there might be yet another.

      RR-Tx-Oh-080419A_desktop
      Click to go to EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY petition

      Grieving and angry protesters in Dayton shouted Do Something!  Holding candles and lights high overhead, over and over again, #DOSOMETHING!  #DOSOMETHING!  #DOSOMETHING!  #DOSOMETHING!  #DOSOMETHING!

      Our legislators in Washington have rallied after any number of mass assault-weapon murders, but with little to no effective results.  It has become an all-too-familiar cry to hear something like “thoughts and prayers are not enough.”  But the public has gotten mostly just that, thoughts and prayers.

      US Reprentative Mike Thompson, California’s Fifth District

      My congressional representative Mike Thompson has led the bipartisan House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force since 2012, but every time the House proposes gun control measures, either it fails in the House, or Senate leader Mitch McConnell and the Trump Republicans refuse to even allow a vote.

      There are excellent legislative opportunities and worldwide guidance on how to stem the flow of these horrific attacks.  If only… if only, our federal government would take action.

      Another sad day in the United States.

      Related image
      Click to go to Everytown.org
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        Ohio shooting: nine dead in second US mass killing in 24 hours

        [Editor: this report details 22nd mass killings in the US this year, accounting for 96 deaths, according to an AP database.  I prefer to monitor gun violence using data from MassShootingTracker.org, which includes many more of these horrific incidents, counting those where 4 or more are shot, regardless of how many were killed in the mass shooting.  Massshootingtracker’s reasoning behind this: “…in 2012 Travis Steed and others shot 18 people total. Miraculously, he only killed one. Under the incorrect definition used by the media and the FBI, that event would not be considered a mass shooting! Arguing that 18 people shot during one event is not a mass shooting is absurd.”  The Ohio mass shooting was the 293rd this year, accounting for 345 killed.  – RS]

        Dayton incident comes hours after at least 20 people died in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas

        The Guardian, by Frances Perraudin, 4 Aug 2019 12.07 BST

        Nine people have been killed in Ohio and at least 26 injured in the second mass shooting in the US in less than 24 hours.

        Police said the suspect opened fire in the Oregon district of the city of Dayton at 1m local time (6am BST) on Sunday, before being shot and killed by responding officers.

        The mayor of Dayton, Nan Whaley, said the gunman was wearing body armour. He used a 223-caliber rifle magazine and had additional high-capacity magazines with him.

        Whaley said the injured had been taken to a number of hospitals and that some had life-threatening wounds.

        She added uniformed officers were in the area when the suspect started shooting. “In less than one minute, Dayton first responders neutralised the shooter. While this is a terribly sad day for our city, I am amazed by the quick response of Dayton police. They saved literally hundreds of lives.”

        She said: “As a mayor this is a day that we all dread happening and certainly what’s very sad is … that so many of us have gone through it.”

        Earlier on Sunday morning, Matt Carper of the Dayton police department said the shooting had taken place “over a very short timeline” on the city’s East 5th Street. Nine people were known to have been killed, not including the shooter.

        “Currently we are working on identifying the suspect to see what the possible motivation might have been. We do not have that yet,” he said. “The suspect was firing a long gun with multiple rounds at the victims.”

        Carper said the police’s initial investigation suggested the shooter had been acting alone, but that inquiries were in their early stages. He said they were interviewing dozens of witnesses to establish what happened.

        Video from the scene near downtown Dayton showed a number of emergency vehicles on a street that had been cordoned off. The FBI was assisting with the investigation and a family assistance centre had been set up at the Dayton Convention Center. Carper called on those with information about the incident to contact police.

        The Oregon district is a historic neighbourhood near downtown Dayton, home to bars, restaurants and theatres. Carper said officers routinely patrolled the area, which was popular with visitors.

        “We are very fortunate that the officers were in close proximity and that they reacted in the way that they did,” he said. “As bad as this is, it could have been much, much worse as I think everyone will become aware of here as more information unfolds. So we’re very appreciative of the officers who were on scene and the action that they took.

        “This is obviously a very difficult situation. They put themselves in harm’s way. That’s what they are here for – to protect the public – and that’s what they did tonight.”

        The Ohio shooting came hours after a young man allegedly opened fire in a crowded shopping area in El Paso, Texas, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured.

        Days before, on 28 July, a 19-year-old shot and killed three people, including two children, at the Gilroy garlic festival in northern California.

        The El Paso shooting was the 21st mass killing in the US in 2019, according to a database compiled by the Associated Press, Northeastern University and USA Today. The database tracks all US homicides since 2006 involving four or more people killed, not including the offender, over a short period of time regardless of weapon, location, victim-offender relationship or motive.

        That makes Sunday’s shooting in Dayton the 22nd mass killing in the US this year. The first 20 mass killings in the US in 2019 claimed 96 lives.

        Mike DeWine, the Ohio governor, tweeted that he was heartbroken by the attack. He commended Dayton police and other first responders for “their bravery and quick response to save lives and bring an end to this tragedy”.

        “I have ordered that flags in Ohio remain at half-mast in honour and memory of the victims who lost their lives this morning,” he said.

        The Associated Press contributed to this report

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