In Paris today (of all places), Obama repeated his ridiculous line that mass shootings don’t happen in other places. That line has been fact checked previously and found seriously wanting for truth. However, looking at one of those fact checks made me realize something interesting.
In a study cited in this article, over a 15 year period, the US had roughly six times the number of mass shootings as other nations with 133 incidents compared to just 23 in other countries. However, the US had only 2.4 times as many fatalities and just over two times as many wounded.
The average number of dead in incidents in other nations averages out to about 8.7 versus 3.6 in the US. The average number of injuries overseas is 10, while in the US it is 3.8. (It’s worth noting that these numbers were before the latest Paris incident, so the 120+ dead in that incident are not included.)
In other words, while the US does, in fact, have far more incidents, the death and injury tolls are likely to be far lower here. There is actually a pretty logical reason for that. As gun control opponents often state, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”
In the wake of the first Paris attacks – the January Charlie Hebdo attack – a lot of people noted that the first police on scene were seriously overpowered by the firepower of the assailants. They were unable to adequately protect the population. Paris has strict gun control laws. It is estimated there are roughly 7.5MM legal guns in the country and as many as 12.5MM illegal guns. The average police officer is therefore not equipped to deal with incidents such as the Hebdo attack or the attacks last month.
By comparison, the average police officer in the US is outfitted with a sidearm, and quite often a shotgun or heavier weapon in their cruiser. Police in the US are also usually outfitted with body armor. While these attacks are far more common here, because we have more gun ownership, our police are better equipped, and better able to respond to such attacks when they happen, thereby reducing the death toll when they do.
Any loss of life is tragic, but there is actually a pretty decent argument that America’s looser approach to gun control leads to better prepared police and lower loss of life despite the larger number of incidents. In an unarmed society, the citizens are much more likely to die because the police are less able to respond.