A brief overview of research on “Mass Shooter” demographics

I was intrigued by the different narratives going around about “who” the majority of mass shooters in the US are.  Essentially there are two camps; the “most mass shooters are middle aged white men” camp, and the “no they’re not”, for lack of a better name, camp. The main source for this is an analytic three part series by Benjamin Radford of the Center for Inquiry, an only journal that “strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.”  Radford also includes links to other data sources within the body of the article. Below is my interpretation and analysis* of the info, and source info links (many of which can be found in Radford’s article as well).

The table below is sourced from an original research study by Emma Fridel and includes a lot of unvarnished and non-contextualized data.  But in the chart (and the portions of the article by Radford), there is general takeway, which are that mass shooting data varies based on the type of shooting event. There are three categories; “Family” (family annihilators), “Felony” (this is usually referencing drive-by and gang or drug related type shootings), and “Public” (which is what people generally think of when they think of a “mass shooting.) The other takeaway, noted in the body of the article, seems to suggest that, for those arguing whether or not mass shooting is a “white male” problem, that this largely depends on the definition one is using for “mass shooting”. If Felony or Family mass killings are included in the data, white men are not overly represented. However, if we are only discussing PUBLIC mass shootings, then, yes, non-hispanic white men technically are the majority of mass shooters.)
Typically, although Family and Felony killings fit the technical description of mass killings that I learned in my criminology courses (3 or more fatalities in a single event/episode of killing), they are not in fact what most people think of when the words “mass shooting” are used.  

The New York Times noted (also quoted in the above referenced article, and worth mentioning,) noted that “As convenient as it would be, there is no one-size-fits-all profile of who carries out mass shootings in the United States. About the only thing almost all of them have in common is that they are men. But those men come from varying backgrounds, with different mental health diagnoses and criminal histories.”

And of course the media plays a big role in which events garner coverage, and the narrative that plays out around the events.(IV)  (VII) And “the media” is or course, not one big conspiratorial entity.  Which version of events you are served depends on the source, and all bets for “truth in reporting” are off since the revocation of the FCC Fairness Doctrine. (VI)  We are told mass shootings are not as common as we are lead to believe, and whether or not a given shooting garners attention often has to do with the “pitiability” and perceived “innocence” of the victims. Victims of a gang-related mass killings, for example, are generally viewed as less deserving of sympathy and less “marketable” by some news outlets (even if they are innocent victims caught in cross-fire), than, say, a bunch of hapless church or movie goers, or children in a school.

So to sum up, the who of mass shootings may depend on the definition one is using of “mass shooting”, and what’s more, the usefulness of any analysis of what leads a person to become a mass killer or the “causes” of mass shooting events may be limited unless we can all agree on context.

I) Fridel, Emma E. 2017. A multivariate comparison of family, felony, and public mass murders in the United States. Journal of Interpersonal Violence (November 1).
II) https://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2017/oct/06/newsweek/are-white-males-responsible-more-mass-shootings-an/
III) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/04/mass-shootings-white-nationalism-linked-attacks-worldwide
IV)https://centerforinquiry.org/blog/how-common-are-mass-shootings-the-nature-and-frequency-of-mass-shootings/

V) https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/11/us/school-shootings-united-states.html

VI) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCC_fairness_doctrine

VII) https://centerforinquiry.org/blog/why-isnt-the-media-covering-this-story-or-are-they/

*Note: I did my best to offer a brief and unbiased interpretation of data,  based on the information I reviewed.  I hope you find it useful and that I didn’t botch too badly.

 

Related articles by ARQ:
https://alienredqueen.wordpress.com/2018/02/20/can-we-fix-whats-broken-here/

https://alienredqueen.wordpress.com/2018/02/19/conspiracy-theory-monday-or-how-the-govt-really-controls-us/

https://alienredqueen.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/umpqua-the-mental-illness-panacea-as-it-relates-to-gun-violence/

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Summer Charlotte

*7/30-Hey blog family.  Sorry I haven’t posted much content lately.  Honestly, social media in the age of Trump has just really taken a toll on my desire to blog.  It’s weird…the more irritated I get by the cutthroat, Dunning Kruger attitude of hardcore Trumpers, and the more I engage in arguments on FB, the less energy I have for the longer , thought out, research supported arguments on the blog. Really, I can’t wait until this Drumpster Fire is extinguished and I can go back to blogging fiction and FB posting about my cats.

So for tonight, I started to post this as a FB blurb, but then thought I’d share on the blog instead…and now you can see it developed a life of its own, as my posts usually do.   But anyway, instead of more venting and frustration, here’s just a little something that has brought me bit of joy this past week.   (And I know not everyone would agree with my assessment of this circumstance as “joyful,” but here goes…)

For the past seven nights, the highlight of having to take Malachi outside to pee has been this big brown orb weaver camping out by my driveway.  (Attempts to capture her on digital camera were inadequate, but there should be a certain entertainment value in seeing a short, pajama clad woman taking flash pics of spiders at midnight.)  Anyhoo, she sets up shop in the same spot on the east corner of my house, after it’s dark, and then patiently sits in the middle (looking like she is hanging in thin air) to catch dinner. And every morning her web and any trace of her is gone.  She deconstructs and eats the old web sometime before day…and creates a new web each night, where she patiently sits like a giant, scary, patient, amazing work of art.

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Garth Williams‘ illustration from E.B. White‘s book, Charlotte’s web, a classic tale.

I know.  Spiders… not so magical to most people.  Big “nope” to most.   They’d squish one as soon as look at it. Well, I hate killing things for no reason.  When I find spiders in the house, unless they are venomous, I usually catch and release, or in the case of the teeny, tiny ones, ignore them until they go away.  Plus, “Charlotte‘s” outside.  Don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t want to share a bed with her, or anything.  But she stays in her spot, and I appreciate the creepy-crawly, ginormous miracle of nature she and her web are (“a given weight of spider silk is five times as strong as the same weight of steel” (source)) from a safe distance of several feet away on the sidewalk.  We don’t bother one another, and I actually look for her in her customary place when I take the dog out after dark.  And part of me is even a bit sad knowing that, like her namesake,  one day she won’t be there.

*Update: 8/7

She’s still there, just as big and beautiful.  She was even out there last night in the rain, scurrying down the web.  Twice, I saw what looked like a smaller, less bulbous version of her up in a corner.  Male visitor perhaps?  Wonder if she ate him after she was done with him.  Spider version of Netflix and Chill? lol

*Update 8/14

Well, Charlotte is entertaining more guests in her web tonight.  The male kind I think, not the food kind…At least, that was my interpretation of it. SO naturally then I had to Google what was essentially spider sex (click it, you know you wanna) and confirmed.

Sure enough, Char has her own little Garden Spider Dating Service going on out there.  She’s set up a little Pheromone Tindr profile and luring males in to vie for her attentions.

 Male spiders are generally much smaller than females in their species, making them easy prey. The male has to signal to the female that it is a spider of the same species, not food or a potential predator, and that it intends to copulate.

Once the female recognizes the male’s courtship behavior, she will position herself for sex, signaling to the male that she is receptive, or she will make it clear that she is not receptive. If the male is desperate to mate, because all the females in the area will soon lay their eggs, he may proceed anyway, with full understanding that the female might kill him.

Both the male and female reproductive organs are at the rear of the abdomen, but spiders don’t mate by coupling these organs. Instead, the male deposits some sperm onto a small web and picks it up on the end of his pedipalps. When the female is in position, the male deposits the sperm in the female’s genital opening. The female stores the sperm in receptacles near the ovaries. When she is ready to lay her eggs, months down the road in some species, she uses the sperm to fertilize them.

Well…turns out spider sex sounds kinda disappointing for all parties involved.

Anyway, I’m glad to see her still out there strutting her spider stuff or looking for dinner or whatever it is she’s doing.  I think I may have gotten attached to her.

Us VS. Them VS. the US (a.k.a Feminism is not the Enemy)

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This. I hate that “feminism” has a acquired a taint because of a few militant feminists. When people make the argument “why is it called ‘feminism’ and not ‘equalism'” (or whatever name they think is more appropriate) if it isn’t skewed towards women, it’s  because HISTORICALLY, all the rights women have now are relatively new (DUH!). We never started on equal footing, so the movement to give us the same rights men have always had probably did seem female-centric. The beginning of feminism is basically when we started sticking up for ourselves.   And a lot of rights we now enjoy, we take them for granted because we have lost touch with the women (and in some cases, probably a few men)  in our history who had to fight for us to get those rights.

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It bugs me that even today, some WOMEN refuse to identify as feminist. It’s sorta sad, because it shows not only a gross misunderstanding of what feminism is, but also that in some ways, that the old social patriarchal programming is still in some ways in tact. They actually DISDAIN “feminists.” To me that’s like a mother of many, who hates kids.

And speaking of kids, what if you’re a woman who doesn’t want children, and especially not before you’ve had the chance to finish school…or go to college.53110672_814366642249280_3509339789545439232_n

or marry the person you love instead of someone who is chosen for you by family or religion or politics…

 

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Thanks to feminists, you have access to birth control.  You also have the right to divorce and leave a marriage that isn’t healthy or is not working out.

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If you are assaulted, you have the right to accuse your attacker.  If you have been impregnated by a rape, you have the choice to terminate your pregnancy.

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You even have this option under normal circumstances, if you are just not ready or willing to have a child…you get to make decisions about what you put your body through.  And there are people who want to take away that right, in the name of “religion” and their morality.  Personally, I don’t see anything moral about taking rights away from a living, breathing, autonomous woman, and giving them to an nonviable fetus.

The point is, as woman in America, we have access to tons of things we haven’t always historically been “allowed,” all because of feminism, and yet, sadly, in this country as of late, we are seeing a push to deliberately regress in social progress.  And not just for women, but for minority peoples, people of color, non-Christian people, immigrant people, and queer people (who are STILL fighting for all their rights.)  But all people are people, and they deserve the basic amount of respect and freedom to live their lives if they see fit.  We can NOT afford to be silent or apathetic to what is going on now.  Not to us, not to our other marginalized brothers and sisters, and not to our planet (because Mother Earth is suffering at the hands of the plutocrats too.)

I know I sound wacky, (and that’s what the people in power want you to think, because that narrative makes me the bad guy) but let’s be real… We all want comfortable lives, but more than that, we want comfort and happiness for future generations, specifically our kids.  OUR children, and America’s children.  But before we can get back to that, we have to reconcile our own fears and insecurities.  I know you’ve probably heard it before; Equality is not a pie.  There is not less for you if you share it with others.  We have to get over this competitive adversarial attitude towards our fellow Americans.  We can care about our own interests without feeling like other people need to suffer for it, but we need to start asking the right questions.

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There are a handful of very powerful and rich people in the US who only want MORE.  They want to have obscene amounts of money and power- to acquire it and to grip it in a death spiral, only the death isn’t theirs…it’s ours, it’s our future’s, it’s our planet’s.   I am sure I could expound upon this all day, but I will wrap up by suggesting you watch this short non-partisan video on corruption in America.  This video not only details some of the failings in our system, but ways we can start to address them I say “non-partisan,” but my guess is the people in power see it as very partisan; Us VS Them, and they use fear and insecurity to bait us into blaming each other instead of them so they can stay in power.  But it doesn’t have to be Us VS Each Other.  It is so hard, so,so hard, when we’re surrounded by bad news and hate and strife every day. I am just as guilty as anyone of feeling angry and adversarial at times.  But I want to try to do better too.   Let’s do better together.  Blessed be.

 

Edit: 3/16  I mention American a few times in here, us needing to be unified, etc.  I’m not trying to push any sense of overblown nationalism or “America First” BS here.  It’s just that this is where I live and I feel like under this administration, we’re actively imploding as a nation.  I don’t feel like we should be at odds or ‘comparing’ and competing with hardships of anyone, including refugees, immigrants, people of other faiths, etc.  All suffering matters and I just wish the people most likely to trot out the ‘all lives matter” phrase would start SHOWING it in their actions and their voting choices.

 

Friday Morning Poetry Special

Been a while since I have done my Monday Morning Haiku…or have written much of anything for that matter.  Today’s poetry is inspired, as always, by the trials and tribulations of being me.  My hope is that you might find some humor in it.

Spring is Sprung

Spring is sprung, the grass

is green.  Not really. It’s all

mud, and I’ve got hives.

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Seriously… (not a haiku)

March; “corned beef, cabbage

and tater” time.  All the ingredients prepared, and dumped into the pot.

Wait a minute…

There’s no seasoning packet in this package of brisket.

 

 

Nano2018

There will be nothing substantive in this post.  I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I ‘finished’ in 2016, quit about halfway in last year, and I’m gonna try again this year.  My book is going to be a supernatural thriller in the vein of Stephen King and his “thinnies.” (shocker, I know).  Even if I don’t finish, I’ll have more on paper than I started with.  Any fellow WriMos?  What is your book going to be about?

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Tuesday afternoon rant

Every day Facebook reminds me what a depressing place this country is becoming lately.  New bullshit every day.

And yet in the comments sections of practically any political post (and plenty of non-political posts too) remarks from the ignorant, the deluded, the angry, and the downright degenerate faction of the country, that portion that is disproportionately vocal to the sane people, but (hopefully) isn’t as big as it seems. (It’s still big enough to make me depressed there are this many assholes in the world.) So pretty much, the more stuff changes, the more it stays the same.
Today’s rant is brought to you by the “It  has nothing to do with race; Obama was an awful president/Trump is a way better President” comment crew.

Lyin’ ass motherfuckers … Which policies of Obama’s specifically didn’t you like? Was it how he wanted everyone to have healthcare and take care of the earth? Gee, what a dick *eye roll*.  Lemme guess. That’s code for  you were mad caring about others and the environment might cost you more? *bigger eyeroll* And now that Trump is President you claim the rest of us should “accept” it and respect the office.  *eyes roll out of head and down the street*
First of all, the right bitched and moaned the ENTIRE time Obama was president. You didn’t accept or respect him. There were plenty of the n-word and lynching references being thrown around, cries to impeach, and it’s on record how McTurtle (McConnell) filibustered Obama’s supreme court nominee. So stop being fucking hypocrites. Secondly, Obama was a LAW SCHOLAR. Trump is a FAILED business man. Obama was articulate, impartial, and smart. Even tempered. Social minded. Just because he gave attention to the racial divide in America doesn’t mean he was putting down white people . Trump is reactionary, immature, petty, ignorant of policy, and (it seems) half illiterate. And Trump has been named (literally tagged in graffiti) and referenced in various incidences of racial hatred since his election. He has emboldened race hate. His lies can be directly fact checked (and HAVE been. He is reported to have already uttered over 3000 lies since his campaign, Maybe since Fox didn’t report it you all missed it.) You are fully entitled not to like Obama, but don’t even try to pretend Trump can hold a candle to him. Don’t pretend he isn’t a dumpster fire set on catching fire to everything around him if it gets him more money or power. Don’t pretend Trump cares about you. If you believe that, you’re a bigger fool than you sound (and you sound plenty foolish when you say dumb shit like this). And we are just as entitled to NOT like Trump because of the way HE runs this country, (we can actually cite specific examples and their fallout too, unlike most of you when you complain about Obama) which is quickly turning into a cesspool that feeds on and is a monument to Evangelical white male fragility.
I understand SOME of you are too proud to renege or backpedal (although best believe backpedaling is one of the things Trump does best.) I understand you would hate to have been “wrong” or admit that the man you backed so loudly and proudly is a charlatan. But do the rest of us a favor, if you insist on dying on this battle field, take that “Trump is a way better President than Obama was” shit and tell it to one of your fellow Trumpers. They are the ONLY people who believe it. The rest of us, (including and not limited to people watching from other countries) are sick of your denial, sick of your bullshit, sick of your President, and frankly no longer have the energy to argue abject reality with people who choose to remain deliberately ignorant.  But thank you all for having the courage to band together and vote your heart, even if it is simply to fuck up an entire half century of social progress.
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Are we still bitching about Kaepernick?

A while ago (at least over a year ago,) USA Today reporter Brent Schrotenboer created a database that included arrest data for NFL players dating back to at least the year 2000.

Now I don’t follow football and I don’t give a tin shit about the NFL (or Nike, for that matter) but I DO care about all the thinly veiled racism, deliberate ignorance, and privilege I see being bandied about.
Of course many of these crimes are misdemeanors and the player list includes all players going back to like 2000. But you can check by year, team, and position.
This is a good source. It is, legit, just stats, no partisan opinion one way or the other. But you can draw your own conclusions. These are mine.  I am not suggesting every person who commits a crime, even a “small one,” should lose their jobs or positions.  BUT …. the fact the players who committed more serious crimes like domestic violence, bomb threats, and eluding police are still allowed to play is one thing. The fact that they are also able to do so without the “patriotic” public making a stink, boycotting the NFL, or calling for their individual blackballing of the players speaks volumes to me.  Only a week or so after the Nike ad featuring Kaepernick dropped, tantruming adult-toddlers are calling for boycotts of Nike, burning their Nike gear (prompting one online comedian to troll that he was a  Trump supporter who had burned his own Nikesto his feet).  And all of this petulant floor stomping actually may have affected Nike.  (Then again, some sources are reporting a rise in Nike’s online sales since they announced Kaepernick as the new face of Nike.)
Either way, all the fuss and anger of a man kneeling for a song in the “land of the free” is such hypocritical bullshit.  All of this over a black man who dared not stand for an anthem?  I am tired of people making excuses. Is domestic violence more “American” than kneeling in peaceful protest? Because that’s how these very vocal band of boycotters and complainers make it seem.  These people are ragging on athletes who “get rich for doing what they love”, are “ingrates”, and are “not being paid to protest.”  It almost sounds like they like their strong black men playing sports for public entertainment but otherwise keeping their mouths shut.
Now I have already touched on my opinions on this “to stand or not to stand” issue.  But what I forgot to mention in that post was that I have heard the argument that it is disingenuous for a rich, successful black athlete to protest an issue that many people see as not being “their problem.”  But to me, that logic is fallacious on two levels.  Firstly, this is usually spoken by a white person who has no idea of the black experience, rich OR otherwise.  And for them to assume that just because a person is wealthy that they may not face discrimination is …well, not their goddamn place for one thing.  The second reason this argument falls short is just this:  for EVER we have had famous or wealthy celebrities and athletes as spokespersons for everything and anything.  Obviously paid spokesmanship for a product is different from a cause, but many celebrities have lent their voices (and often their money) to charities and causes dear to them, from Alicia Silverstone for PETA, Alyssa Milano for UNICEF, Arnold Schwartzenegger for Special Olympics to Lebron James and Kaepernick himself (once and for all putting to rest the assertion by bitching flag worshipers that he doesn’t really care about the cause, that he isn’t “putting his money where his mouth is.”)
Anyway, as usual, I digress. The bottom line is there is nothing more American than protest, and the people pissed about Kaepernick and Nike are also exercising their right to protest, in the form of boycotts.  But wouldn’t their time and energy be better spent is “putting their money where their mouths are” to help come up with a solution instead? Or even if (in their infinite privileged wisdom) they don’t believe in the cause or “problem”, focusing their energy on one of our country’s many other plights?  Perhaps they could give away all their Nike gear to all the homeless vets they only ever seem to care about when they (the vets) can be used as an excuse to keep out immigrants or “reform” welfare.
Lastly, I’m sorry to my regular readers that I haven’t blogged in a while. Part of it is really just mental exhaustion.  I think about this stuff a lot of the time, but the idea of sitting and slogging though my thoughts and feelings in order to articulate them is overwhelming.  I could say I have been busy (I have) but there is always time for writing.  I just haven’t felt motivated to do it.   Also, pardon me for turning off the comments for this post.  I just don’t have the mental bandwidth for the inevitable trolls that follow posts like this.  It’s overwhelming enough dealing with people in our lives daily who think what is going on now is not a problem.
As always, thanks for reading and have a blessed day. ❤
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