Letter to the editor — May 16, 2019

Tracy Keagle’s column on the opinion page of Saturday’s paper may have left readers too scared to take in a Saturday afternoon movie or a Sunday morning worship service. Let’s take a look at some of the statements she used in her efforts to terrify the populace about mass shootings.

1. “Nearly 40,000 died from gunfire last year.” I’m guessing she might have been using 2017’s figures because I found a New York Times article from late in 2018 with basically that headline. That article included the information that about 60% of those gun deaths were by suicide and only 37% were homicides.

2.  “Between January and April of this year, there have been 105 mass shootings.” While the FBI defined mass murder as “four or more victims slain, in one event, in one location,” (not including the shooter if he, too, dies) and Congress defines mass killing as “three or more killings in a single incident,” Ms. Keagle’s source uses a different yardstick as those 105 mass shootings resulted in 120 fatalities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mass_shootings_in_the_United_States_in_2019

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