The Facts Shoot Holes In Obama’s Claim That US Is Only Host To Mass Killings
by John R. Lott
On Tuesday, President Obama stunned Americans and French alike with his false claims about gun violence in America. “I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings. This just doesn’t happen in other countries,” claimed Obama. It is a claim that he has continually repeated over the years.
Talk about being self-absorbed.
The French have witnessed three mass public shootings this year. January saw two attacks, one on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and another on a Paris supermarket.
In the November attacks, 129 people were killed and 352 were injured. In just 2015, France suffered more casualties – killings and injuries – from mass public shootings than the U.S. has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency (508 to 424). This number includes the San Bernadino massacre on Wednesday.
Obama also overlooks Norway, where Anders Behring Breivik used a gun to kill 67 people and wound 110 others. Still others were killed by bombs that Breivik detonated. Of the four worst K-12 school shootings, three have occurred in Europe. Germany had two of these — one in 2002 at Erfut and another in 2009 at Winnenden, with a total death toll of 34.
Obama isn’t correct even if he meant the frequency of fatalities or attacks. Many European countries actually have higher rates of death from public shootings that resulted in four or more murders. It’s simply a matter of adjusting for America’s much larger population.
Let’s look at mass public shootings from 2009 to the middle of June this year. To compare fairly with American shootings, I excluded attacks that might be better classified as struggles over sovereignty. For instance, I did not count the 22 people killed in the Macedonian town of Kumanovo last month.
Norway had the highest annual death rate, with 2 mass public shooting fatalities per million people. Macedonia had a rate of 0.38, Serbia 0.28, Slovakia 0.20, Finland 0.14, Belgium 0.14, and the Czech Republic 0.13. The US comes in No. 8 with 0.095 mass public shooting fatalities per million people. Austria and Switzerland are close behind.