Posts Tagged ‘the washington post’

One of the disadvantages of having a worldview that relies on passion vs things like objective truth and data or having a staff that isn’t fluent in math is that every now and again such a position bites you.

the Washington Post managed to do this with this publication of the following list:


Now I don’t have the time on my hands or the resources of the Washington Post so rather than questioning methodology or asking how they define mass shootings let’s take their data as given and assume that there have been since 1966 166 mass shootings resulting in 1196 deaths.

Now lets take this these figures and do a little math.

2019-1965 = 54 meaning that we are taking about a span of 54 years.

1196 number of deaths / 54 years = 22.1 deaths per year by mass shootings in the United states per year

According to the CDC here are the number of deaths in the US by various causes in 2017

Heart disease: 647,457
Cancer: 599,108
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
Diabetes: 83,564
Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 50,633
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

Now let’s take a specific cause, how about that most eco-friendly of devices the bicycle: what are the numbers there? Well according this site the number of folks killed on bicycles due to collisions iwth cars in 2017 was 783. a number over 35 times that of the number of people killed in mass shootings according to the Post’s own figures, and remember that’s just deaths on bikes from collisions with cars not deaths from falls or other accidents.

Now let’s look at it another way.

Based on the Washington Post’s own numbers we have averaged 22.1 deaths per year in the US since 1965

22.1 deaths per year by mass shootings / 50 states = .4402 deaths per state per year.

In other words we are averaging less that a single death per state every two years by mass shootings based on the Post’s own stats.

OK now let’s look at this the way the government usually looks at fatalities, deaths per 100,000 citizens

We only have a census every ten years but for the sake of argument this site   estimates the US population in 2017 at 325,980,000 people. So to figure out the death rate of a particular cause it is necessary to divide the total number of deaths by 3259.8 ( 325,980,000/ 3259.8 = 100,000 )

Therefore based on the Washington Post’s own numbers the death rate for the United States by mass shootings based on the average number of mass shooting deaths since 1965 is 22.1 / 3259.8


.006779 deaths per 100,000

So according to the Washington Post own stats, the stats that they want to use to get you to pass new restrictions on the 2nd amendment rights, An american is more than five times more likely to die from contracting flesh eating bacteria than to be killed in a mass shooting.

Now I will readily concede that for the family of someone who dies in a mass shooting or from contracting flesh eating bacteria for that matter,  the statistical rarities of these event bring little comfort when mourning a loved ones loss.

But I submit and suggest that the sorrow of those directly affected not withstanding only  an idiot or an opportunist pushes to restrict constitutional rights that Americans have fought and died for from a cause that produces the death rates that the Washington Post own figures support.

Closing thought.  I wonder why they used 1965 as a cutoff?  I’d be interested in seeing the figures from say 1945-1965 and seeing if the rate is much lower from that period compared to the period the post used.