Sunday, September 28, 2014

They Learn From Us

One of the funnier things I've read about ISIS lately is that they adopted the brutal, graphic, violent methods they did in order to "shock and awe" American society and draw us into a conflict we are too weak to prevail in. Funny because I'm not sure how you can shock American culture through brutality or violence when we remain one of the most violent cultures on the planet. ISIS has a long way to go to catch up to the 16,000 American who are murdered by their fellow Americans annually, or 44 people EACH DAY killed right here in the good ol' U.S. (throw in suicides, and we take out an average of 150 fellow citizens each day via violence).

Further evidence that we are violent and getting more violent is the rise in mass shootings in just the last seven years. According to this new FBI report, the prevalence of spree and mass shooting has jumped from 6 each year to 16 per year, killing on average 50 people or more annually. Since 2000, spree or mass killings have killed or wounded over 1000 people.

A report released by the F.B.I. on Wednesday confirmed what many Americans had feared but law enforcement officials had never documented: Mass shootings have risen drastically in the past half-dozen years.

There were, on average, 16.4 such shootings a year from 2007 to 2013, compared with an average of 6.4 shootings annually from 2000 to 2006. In the past 13 years, 486 people have been killed in such shootings, with 366 of the deaths in the past seven years. In all, the study looked at 160 shootings since 2000. (Shootings tied to domestic violence and gangs were not included.)
And the police are powerless to stop them.
Many of the sprees ended before the police arrived, the report said. In 44 of the 64 cases in which the F.B.I. was able to determine the length of the shooting, the gunfire lasted less than five minutes. Twenty-three shootings ended in less than two minutes. In 64 of the 160 total cases, the gunmen committed suicide.

Just two of the 160 shootings involved more than one gunman, and six of the killers were women. Two of the twelve shootings that occurred at colleges or universities were by women.

Roughly 45 percent of the shootings occurred in offices or stores, and about 25 percent at schools or universities. Other sites included military bases, government offices, homes, places of worship and medical facilities. In 24 of the 160 shootings, the gunmen attacked more than one location. Mass shootings occurred in all but 10 states.
Interesting if you delve into the report, almost all the college, high school and middle school shootings were done by students who attended there; only the elementary schools involved deranged adults intent on wreaking havoc among the most innocent and unable to defend themselves.

Unfortunately the report doesn't have any other demographic information on the shooters themselves, which would help in profiling/prediction/prevention. My guess is that they were overwhelmingly white and working class/lower middle class disaffected individuals. The precise group which bore the brunt of the Great Recession layoffs and who have yet to return to full employment. Just a guess.

Bottom line: we sanitize our own violence and up-sell other cultures in order to assuage our collective guilt in the whole thing. Sure, we don't film and upload to Twitter videos of our crime scenes in the U.S. but can you imagine what that might look like if we did? Day after day, 45-150 times each day, law enforcement uploads still photos and video of every violent homicide/suicide death in the U.S.? The ISIS terrorists in their ninja turtle get ups would run for hills.

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