|Image HT: Wintery Knight|
Ron Borsch, who monitors active killing incidents worldwide, has released his latest statistical summary, indicating that the frequency of these bloody events is continuing to escalate and that the interruption of a suspect’s murderous rampage is most likely to be initiated by a single citizen or LEO.
Borsch, manager of the Southeast Area Law Enforcement Regional Training Academy in Bedford, OH, tracks what he terms Rapid Mass Murder (RMM): four or more persons slain within 20 minutes in a public place.
He also tallies attempted RMMs: incidents that would likely have reached the four-victim level had they not been aborted. Attempts, he concedes, are a case-by-case judgment call, determined by the number of persons wounded, the weapons and ammunition the offender had, suicide notes, and/or other evidence suggesting apparent intent.
Among Borsch’s findings:
+ RMMs are at a record high. From 1975 through the Columbine massacre, “successful” and attempted RMMs in the US and abroad averaged one per year. Post-Columbine through 2010, the yearly average was four. Last year there were eight, and the total for 2012 through Thanksgiving was 9.
+ Statistically, the most dangerous months are March (23%) and April (16%), with September and December tied at 11%.
+ Schools (pre-school through 12th grade) are target 38% of the time; colleges/universities 17%; and churches/religious facilities 10%.
+ Intervention occurs to stop the killing in just over half the incidents, Borsch estimates. Of known aborts, two-thirds are accomplished by civilians and one-third by law enforcement.
+ Citizens for the most part act unarmed, and eight out of 10 times their intervention is initiated by a single actor. “When law enforcement successfully stops RMM,” Borsch reports, “the abort is initiated by a solo officer seven out of 10 times.“
+ Borsch has found examples of successful two-officer and three-officer intervention on occasion, but he says he has “never been able to objectively document a case where four or more officers acting together in a formation have been able to stop RMM.”* FSI is subscription only, a subscription gained only by submitting a lot of personally identifiable information. However, they publish their list of available newsletters here, after a lag time of a few weeks/months.
Takeaways: (1) Gun-free zones, like educational institutions and sports arena create very tempting, soft targets for those intent on doing a lot of evil in a short amount of time. (2) RMMs are increasing in frequency. (3) A single civilian with a tactical mindset (IOW, a sheepdog), or a lone LEO are most likely to stop the RMM.
Conclusions: (1) Being in a gun-free zone poses an additional risk to your life. (2) Homeschool or die, physically as in the case of Newtown, Columbine, Santee, Paducah, Jonesboro, Springfield (Ore), or worldwide as one may see here, or politically/morally/socially as one may see here. (3) Many more RMM "aborts" would occur if the tactically minded sheepdog(s) were armed...when seconds count, LEOs are minutes away. (4) SWAT-style dynamic entry interventions are not effective at stopping RMMs in a timely manner, likely because of the time it takes to assemble and dispatch a team.
Now on to Wintery Knight's post. First, he links to this editorial in USA Today, by Instapundit, aka Glen Reynolds:
Plenty of people...[would] be much more comfortable seeing ordinary Americans disarmed. And whenever there is a mass shooting, or other gun incident that snags the headlines, they do their best to exploit the tragedy and push for laws that would, well, take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.
There are a lot of problems with this approach, but one of the most significant is this one: It doesn’t work. One of the interesting characteristics of mass shootings is that they generally occur in places where firearms are banned: malls, schools, etc....
Policies making areas “gun free” provide a sense of safety to those who engage in magical thinking, but in practice, of course, killers aren’t stopped by gun-free zones. As always, it’s the honest people — the very ones you want to be armed — who tend to obey the law.Adding to the pile on comes John Lott of "More Guns, Less Crime" fame:
Because America has the most guns, multiple-victim public shootings are an American thing, right? No, not at all. Contrary to public perception, Western Europe, most of whose countries have much tougher gun laws than the United States, has experienced many of the worst multiple-victim public shootings. Particularly telling, all the multiple-victim public shootings in Western Europe have occurred in places where civilians are not permitted to carry guns. The same is true in the United States: All the public shootings in which more than three people have been killed have occurred in places where civilians may not legally bring guns.
It may be a surprise to those who believe in gun control that Germany was home to three of the five worst attacks. Though not quite as tight as the U.K.’s regulations, Germany’s gun-control laws are some of the most restrictive in Europe. German gun licenses are valid for only three years, and to obtain one, the person must demonstrate such hard-to-define characteristics as trustworthiness, and must also convince authorities that he needs a gun.
The phenomenon is not limited to school attacks. Multiple-victim public shootings in general appear to be at least as common in Western Europe as they are here.It isn't the gun that kills. A firearm is an inanimate object; it is the criminal intent on doing so that pulls the trigger. And the wolves--the vast majority of whom are men with no/low attachment, the subject of a different, later post--find their pool of ready targets in places where the sheepdogs aren't. Or are disarmed before they can enter.
Rather than infringe upon the common man's natural-law right to defend himself, it would be better to outlaw gun-free zones. You can't stop crazy with rules crazy doesn't observe....but 350-450 ft-lbs (the energy delivered by a .45) just may.
Update: Seems the shooter's parents divorced three years ago. I'm not sure how much to make of it, since the divorce happened when he was nearly of the age of majority, but it is certainly an interesting data point that may help explain why this happened.