Whether you agree with the widely reported statistic that there have been nearly 300 mass shootings this year might depend on how you define “mass shooting.”
In the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre, left-leaning media outlets have been playing fast and loose with the data on mass shootings to inflate their number and suggest that white men make up a disproportionate share of the perpetrators.
John R. Lott, founder and president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, said the left uses an overly broad definition to capture gang violence and other incidents not typically considered to be mass shootings.
“It’s two different types of shootings we’re talking about: mass public shootings and shootings that occur in a public place as part of some other crime, like gang fights,” said Mr. Lott, author of “The War on Guns: Arming Yourself Against Gun Control Lies.” “So when they want to emphasize that they’re committed by whites, they use the traditional definition of mass public shootings, like the Las Vegas attack that we just had. But when they want to make people think that this happens all the time, then they use a different definition.”
On Oct. 2, the day after the Las Vegas gunman left 58 dead and 489 injured, The New York Times editorial board published a graphic purporting to show 521 mass shootings over the previous 477 days.