Entertainment television continually provides a false impression of those who commit mass public shootings and how they commit them. Show after show has mass public shootings involving machine guns, though that never happens. But another myth is that attacks are frequently by white supremacists. In his first Townhall as president, Biden claimed: “And now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.” CBS entertainment television constantly portrays white supremacists as the most pressing danger facing the country, committing almost all the mass public shootings. Yet, that is far from the case.
Our dataset of Mass Public Shooting List US 1998-January 2021 provides information not only on the ages, political views, and religious beliefs of mass public shooters but also the race and gender of these killers. Mass public shootings are defined as those cases where four or more people are killed at one point in time in a public place and not involving some other type of crime such as a gang fight or a robbery. We also looked at information on the mass vehicle and bombing attacks (though bombing attacks in the US where multiple people are killed are rare). Clearly, we showed that very few of these attacks are politically or religiously motivated.
The claim that these killers are so overwhelmingly white is also misleading. While whites (excluding those from Middle Eastern descent) make up the majority of mass public shooters, that is 7.4% below their share of the population. Hispanics are even lower than their percentage of the U.S. population. By contrast, those of Middle Eastern descent, Asians, blacks, and American Indians are all above their shares of the population.
These killers are also overwhelmingly non-political (72%). The next most prominent group are Islamic extremists (9%), but you won’t see any of the television shows having Islamic extremists doing these attacks.
However, one thing that is clear is that mass public shooters are overwhelmingly male, with 96% of shooters being male.
The post The false narrative of white supremacists doing mass public shootings: Racial, Gender, Religious and Political views of these killers from 1998 through January 2021 appeared first on Crime Prevention Research Center.
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