Propaganda Alert: ‘No coincidence’: US leads world in gun ownership & mass shootings, study says


Although the US accounts for just 5 percent of the world’s population, it was home to almost one-third of the world’s mass shootings between 1966 and 2012. A new study says the rate is due to shattered “American dreams” and the ease of gun ownership.

The research – titled ‘Mass Shooters, Firearms, and Social Strains: A Global Analysis of an Exceptionally American Problem’ – is the first quantitative analysis of all reported public mass shootings around the world. The study was presented at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Chicago on Sunday.

Analyzing data from 171 countries between 1966 and 2012, study author and University of Alabama Criminal Justice Professor Adam Lankford found that the US had by far the most public mass shooters, totaling 90 in the 46-year period – or 31 percent of the world’s shootings.

That figure is five times more than the second-placed country, the Philippines, which had 18 mass shootings.

Those numbers are significant, considering around 300 million firearms are believed to be owned by US civilians. A 2011 Gallup survey found that 47 percent of all US adults reported keeping a gun in the home.

It’s a link that cannot be ignored, according to Lankford.

“My study provides empirical evidence, based on my quantitative assessment of 171 countries, that a nation’s civilian firearm ownership rate is the strongest predictor of its number of public mass shooters,” Lankford said in a statement.

“Until now, everyone was simply speculating about the relationship between firearms and public mass shootings. My study provides empirical evidence of a positive association between the two.”

Lankford also pointed to another reason for the high rate of mass shootings in the US, suggesting that citizens are promised the “American dream,” but quite often fail to achieve the high levels of success they were guaranteed.

“In the United States, where many individuals are socialized to assume that they will reach great levels of success and achieve the American Dream, there may be particularly high levels of strain among those who encounter blocked goals or have negative social interactions with their peers, co-workers, or bosses,” Lankford said.

Those levels of strain are often combined with depression, schizophrenia, paranoia or narcissism, creating a lethal mix, the professor added.

“Unfortunately, due to some combination of strains, mental illness, and American idolization of fame, some mass shooters succumb to terrible delusions of grandeur, and seek fame and glory through killing,” Lankford writes in his paper. “They accurately recognize that the only way they can guarantee that their names and faces adorn magazines, newspapers, and television is by slaughtering unarmed men, women, or children.”

According to Lankford, those who conduct mass shootings in the US are also 3.6 times more likely to use multiple weapons than foreign shooters.

“Given the fact that the United States has over 200 million more firearms in circulation than any other country, it’s not surprising that our public mass shooters would be more likely to arm themselves with multiple weapons than foreign offenders,” Lankford said.

US shooters are also more likely to attack in schools, factories/warehouses and office buildings than offenders in other countries. Meanwhile, foreign attackers are “significantly more likely” to strike in military settings – including bases, barracks and checkpoints.

Lankford suggested the US could “likely reduce its number of school shootings, workplace shootings, and public mass shootings in other places if it reduced the number of guns in circulation.”

Through his analysis of 170 additional countries, Lankford found that the remaining top four nations for gun ownership – Yemen, Switzerland, Finland and Serbia – were within the top 15 countries in public mass shooters per capita.

“That is not a coincidence,” he said, stressing the link between the ease of firearm ownership and mass killings.

Lankford’s study used the FBI’s definition of mass murder, which indicates the killings of four or more people. The study excluded domestic incidents, as well as shootings that involved gangs, hostage-taking, or robberies.

5 thoughts on “Propaganda Alert: ‘No coincidence’: US leads world in gun ownership & mass shootings, study says

  1. “US leads world in gun ownership & mass shootings, study says”

    You can probably make the same correlation between intelligence agencies and mass shootings.

  2. From 1966- 2012? I guess they decided not to count anything that happened in Vietnam or anything that happened in the middle east since 2001.
    Best to leave “police actions” and “democratic humanitarianism” completely out of the study I suppose.

  3. Can’t find anywhere “MASS SHOOTING” is defined.

    Pretty ambiguous term to pin an entire study on and not define. Im sure they must say in the actual report.

    The all of europe could fit withing the US area nearly twice without Alaska. That makes for a pretty diverse population. Lots of ‘wild’ pigs and bears too.

  4. It’s silly to discuss that they happened without honestly addressing who was behind them.

    We may have the most mass shootings, and the most guns, but that’s not proof that the presence of guns causes mass shootings.

    Remove all the mass shooting from the equation that are suspected of being government operations, and do the math again. I think this is a very peaceful country when you consider all the guns we have and how few shootings there are. If there was a gun violence problem at all, our government wouldn’t have to stage mass shootings to convince the public of the fictitious danger.

    The fact of the FBI admitting that Sandy Hook was a hoax is the end of the debate. If there were real shootings for the gun-grabbing crew to cash in on, they wouldn’t need hoaxes.

  5. “… study author and University of Alabama Criminal Justice Professor Adam Lankford…”

    That’s ALL I need to know.

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *