Why Are There So Many Mass Shootings In The U.S.?

On October 1st, 2015, a gunman at a college
in Oregon shot 18 people, killing nine. The mass shooting followed an ongoing pattern
seen throughout the United States. In fact, the US sees a considerably larger number of
these shootings than any other industrialized country. So we wanted to know, why exactly
does the United States have so many mass shootings? Well, it is important to note that there is
no easily agreed upon definition for what constitutes a “mass shooting”. According
to media sources, there have only been 72 mass shootings in the last 30 years. Meanwhile,
a cited list of mass shooting incidents lists 377 in 2014 alone. Why the distinction? Well,
the first refers fairly specifically to indiscriminate murder sprees in public places like the massacres
in Oregon, Sandy Hook, and Aurora. But the FBI defines a “mass murder” as any four
or more murders occurring in a single incident. This skyrockets the number of cases, and includes
gang disputes, domestic altercations, and armed robbery. Obviously there is a concrete
difference between a person who shoots up a school and gang violence. The causes and
solutions to both are very distinct, and often the source of much misunderstanding. When addressing the total number of mass shootings,
there is a clear and defined correlation between the number of guns and rates of shootings.
A Harvard study found that wherever there are more guns, there is more homicide, even
after accounting for rates of assault, robbery, unemployment, poverty, and alcohol consumption.
This follows the fact that in states where it is easier to purchase guns, there are naturally
more guns, and thus higher homicide rates. Recent reports have attempted to make it clear
that mental illness is not a major contributing factor to most mass murders, and that gun
control is the real solution. But when addressing the less common, but more
frequently discussed public massacres, there are certain, specific patterns that emerge.
A majority of the attackers have been white men showing signs of mental instability, who
had acquired their guns legally. And this is relatively unsurprising. Gun background
checks are limited in their ability to check private mental health records. And mental
health care in the US overall is lacking. In 2012 it was reported that roughly 90 million
Americans lived in an area without adequate access to mental health care, which is also
expensive and massively stigmatized within American culture. The fact is that there are many different
types of mass shootings, with a combination of contributing factors. When lawmakers and
media personalities discuss various solutions, especially involving gun control and mental
health care, they are often speaking in different contexts. Yes, overall mass murders will go
down with stricter gun control laws, however, better mental health care would likely reduce
the number of public massacres. America’s real mass murder problem is when those deaths
are politicized, and solutions are ignored along partisan lines. Some people claim that stricter gun control
laws are the solution to ending mass shootings. But just how easy is it to get a gun in the
U.S. anyway? Watch Seeker Daily’s video to find out. Thanks for watching! Make sure
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