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Updated Data: Mass Shooters Still Disproportionately Veterans

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Mother Jones magazine has updated its database of U.S. mass shootings. I've downloaded it and made a few changes, before posting it here.

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The main change I've made has been to add a column indicating whether the shooter was a U.S. military veteran. I've also deleted some of the shooting incidents, reducing the list from 111 to 97 shootings. I've done this, just as I had done previously, in order to be able to make an accurate comparison to the general population. Relatively few women are veterans or shooters, and the incidents of shootings by women seem too few to draw comparisons from. Looking at men only, the percentage who are veterans in the U.S. population varies dramatically by age group. So, I've removed shootings by women or by men under 18 or over 59. I've also deleted one shooting that was an attack on the U.S. military by a foreign-born shooter, as it seems irrelevant to ask if that shooter had been in the U.S. military. As blowback, however, that shooting involved the U.S. military as much as any other.

Looking at the 97 shootings in the remaining database, I've marked 34 of them as being committed by U.S. military veterans. In two cases, this indicates a veteran of JROTC, one of whom may or may not have had further participation in the military. These two were trained in shooting at public expense by the U.S. military, although at least one of them was not yet a member of or veteran of the military. I have not included as veterans shooters who had been security guards or prison guards. I have not included as veterans shooters who were on record describing their future crime in explicitly military terms as if participating in and referencing by name the U.S. military, unless I could determine that they had actually been in the U.S. military. I have left on the list of 97 a small number of foreign-born shooters, who may or may not have been trained by foreign militaries, and some of whom could not have legally joined the U.S. military; none of these are among the 34 marked as veterans. Also among the 97 are at least two men who tried to join the U.S. military and were rejected; they are not counted among the 34 veterans. At least one among the 97 worked at a U.S. Navy base but not as a member of the U.S. military; he is not counted as a veteran. Most significantly, I have not been able to determine military status one way or the other for the majority of the shooters on the list; it is entirely possible that more than 34 were military veterans. The 34 marked as veterans are simply those I could determine were veterans by reading news reports.

The result of all this is that, with this updated database, 35% of U.S. mass shooters (lone, male, 18-59) are veterans, whereas 14.76% of the general population (male, 18-59) are veterans. A mass shooter is 2.37 times more likely to be a veteran than a random person is.

Needless to say, or rather, I wish it were needless to say, but I have to say it in every interview, veterans vastly outnumber mass shooters. Most veterans virtually all veterans are NOT mass shooters. Similarly, those with mental health issues vastly outnumber mass shooters. Virtually all people with mental health problems, or all men who've abused women, or all males, or all gun owners, are NOT mass shooters. The facts that ought to dissuade people from bigotry or profiling are painfully obvious, even if only selectively required.

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Needless to say, or rather, I wish it were needless to say, more than one contributing factor to mass shootings can be worth addressing.

Needless to say, or rather, I wish it were needless to say, people inclined toward mass shootings could simply also be inclined to join the military, making the relationship a correlation and not a cause. In fact, I would be shocked if there weren't some truth to that. But it's also possible that being trained and conditioned and given a familiarity with mass shootings and in some cases an experience of engaging in mass shooting and having it deemed acceptable or praiseworthy makes one more likely to mass shoot. I cannot imagine there isn't truth in that.

 

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 
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4 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments  Post Comment


Rich Buckley

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P&CR.org work with Veterans to help resolve PTSD, stress, and trauma through recreational therapy of regression hypnosis: yurl.com/y36oyzfe

" Chances are you've been diagnosed by your VA doctor telling you that you're experiencing PTSD, if not, here's how to recognize PTSD incursion into your life according to the VA. You can overcome PTSD. It takes daily effort. There are even several good techniques to relieve flashbacks under traditional approaches. We are not traditional here. What we provide you through hypnosis currently falls under "recreational" treatment and is not the formal protocols used by VA. However, hypnosis is slowly being recognized by doctors as useful in mitigating PTSD. So when you visit our office, you are off the medical reservation - so to speak, in recreation land. We are not medically trained. We are trained hypnotists. There are no guarantees here. The service is free of charge. And here's a good book (PTSD Recovery by David Craft) with many self-help techniques. You can download this Audio e-book free currently if you tell Amazon you want to "try out" Audio Books on the order page on a trial basis."

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 4, 2019 at 4:31:42 PM

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Eddy Schmid

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As long as the U.S. Government solves it's problems by sanctioning countries and people, and then bombing, destroying and creating mayhem against such people's, nothing will change within the U.S. and the issue of shootings, because the citizens are simply reflecting their Government's similar actions to resolve their issues.

If it's good enough for the Government to kill and butcher people who refuse to toe the line, then why wouldn't it also apply to it's citizens ?????????????????

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2019 at 9:55:10 AM

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Kenneth Morris

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Keep it up. We need not only an accurate count but also some analysis of other variables such as social class to know what's really going on. However, I suspect that the overall thesis is correct and really needs to be documented and disseminated. At this point, the main takeaway is that you have to do this yourself because no one else dares even raise the question of the military's role in domestic shootings.

Submitted on Thursday, Jun 6, 2019 at 3:52:13 AM

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Lance Ciepiela

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We are incessantly told it is our duty to support the troops and our leaders who invade, bomb or otherwise intervene in other nations. The motives offered might be to stop genocide, to take down a maniacal despot, or to spread democracy and American values.

Our government purportedly acts with reluctance as well as with compassion, respect for others, and good intent. We are reminded that the troops keep us safe, all the while helping spread the American way of life to a needy world. Why? It is because we are "exceptional."

Submitted on Thursday, Jun 6, 2019 at 4:24:24 AM

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