At The Federalist: Data Shows White Supremacists Are Not The Most Likely Mass Murderers

2 months 2 weeks ago

 I have a new op-ed at The Federalist.

Democrats are lying to Americans about the most likely motivations for mass murderers and the prevalence of guns in violent crime. 

In his Buffalo, New York speech last week following a mass shooting, President Biden showed he still has only two things on his mind regarding crime: guns and white supremacists.

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No one can defend white supremacists. But with violent crime soaring and this latest attack in Buffalo, people want something done. Yet Biden’s agenda won’t make people safer. 

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“Look, we’ve seen the mass shootings in Charleston, South Carolina; El Paso, Texas; in Pittsburgh. Last year in Atlanta. This week in Dallas, Texas, and now in Buffalo. In Buffalo, New York. White supremacy is a poison. It’s a poison. It really is. Running through our body politic. And it’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes. No more. I mean, no more.”

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Of the 82 mass public shootings from January 1998 to May 2021, 9 percent have known or alleged ties to white supremacists, neo-Nazis, or anti-immigrant views. And many of the anti-immigrant attackers, such as the Buffalo murderer, hold decidedly environmentalist views that are more in line with the Democrat agenda. 

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Other groups commit mass public shootings disproportionately more than whites do. While non-Middle Eastern whites make up about 64% of the population, they make up 58% of the mass public shooters. Another nine percent are carried out by people of middle eastern origin, who make up only 0.4% of the country’s population. That makes middle easterners the most likely ethnic/racial group to carry out mass public shootings. Blacks, Asians, and American Indians commit these attacks at a slightly higher rate than their share of the population. Hispanics commit them at much lower rates (11% lower) than their share of the population.

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Seventy-one percent of mass public shooters have no identifiable political views.

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But you would never know this from watching TV police dramas or listening to Biden’s constant claim that white supremacists pose the biggest threat of domestic terrorism.

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed in testimony in April that white supremacy is the top terrorism-related threat to the homeland. But when pressed, Mayorkas couldn’t name a single white supremacy case that his department referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution.

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White supremacists with guns are not the threat that our government would have us believe. It’s not just that white supremacy is rare – so too are gun crimes. The number of gun crimes has been falling dramatically, and they now make up less than 8% of violent crimes in America.

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“We can keep assault weapons off our streets. We’ve done it before. I did it when I passed the crime bill last time, and violence went down, shootings went down. We can’t prevent people from being radicalized to violence, but we can address the relentless exploitation of the internet to recruit and mobilize terrorism. We just need to have the courage to do that, to stand up.”

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Biden’s focus on guns, and particularly assault weapons, is misplaced. On Tuesday, Biden again bragged about how wonderful his 1994 assault weapon ban was in stopping mass public shootings, but even studies paid for by the Clinton administration couldn’t find evidence of its effectiveness. 

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If the Federal Assault Weapons Ban really drove the changes in the rate of mass public shootings, attacks with assault weapons should have become less common during the ban. Then they should have become more common, at least as a share of total shootings, after the ban ended in 2004. But that isn’t what happened. Comparing the ten years before 1994 to the ten years after, we find that the percentage of mass public shootings with assault weapons rose slightly when the ban was in effect (going from 22.2% to 23.5%) and then fell in the ten years after the ban ended (23.5% to 18.2%).

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Biden’s “guns first” approach ignores a basic fact – over 92% of violent crimes in America do not involve firearms. In addition, although Biden blames guns for the increase in violent crime, the latest data show that gun crimes fell dramatically.

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new McLaughlin & Associates survey of 1,000 likely voters from April 20th to 26th for the Crime Prevention Research Center shows how misinformed people are. People across the country, of all races and incomes, have wildly inaccurate beliefs about how frequently violent crime involves guns. The average likely American voter is way off, thinking that over 46% of violent crimes involve guns. The people who had the most inaccurate views that the rate of violent crime with guns was the highest were the ones who most strongly supported gun control.

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It might not be easy to accept, but focusing solely on guns and white supremacy isn’t a wise use of resources. 

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John R. Lott, Jr., “Data Shows White Supremacists Are Not The Most Likely Mass Murderers,” The Federalist, May 23, 2022.


John Lott

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