“This type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”
We compared mass shooting incidents across countries is to calculate the number of victims per capita — that is, adjusted for the country’s total population size.
Calculating it this way shows the United States in the upper half of the list of 11 countries, ranking higher than Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Germany and Mexico.
Still, the U.S. doesn’t rank No. 1. At 0.15 mass shooting fatalities per 100,000 people, the U.S. had a lower rate than Norway (1.3 per 100,000), Finland (0.34 per 100,000) and Switzerland (1.7 per 100,000).
We’ll note that all of these countries had one or two particularly big attacks and have relatively small populations, which have pushed up their per-capita rates. In Norway, that single attack in 2011 left 67 dead by gunfire (plus additional bomb casualties). Finland had two attacks, one that killed eight and one that killed 10. And Switzerland had one incident that killed 14.
Still, while the United States did rank in the top one-third of the list, the fact that three other countries exceeded the United States using this method of comparison does weaken Obama’s claim that “it doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.” In at least three countries, the data shows, it does.
Elsass warned PolitiFact of a few caveats about the data. While they believe their database “to be among the most exhaustive compilations available,” Elsass noted that it may not include every instance of mass shootings. It also doesn’t include every example of mass killings — just those committed by firearms, even though mass stabbings are not uncommon in such places as China. Finally, their database doesn’t include acts generally considered to be terrorism, such as the attack in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
“If these were included, we are likely to see something much different statistically as there have been a number of very high-profile terrorist attacks in Europe, some including the use of firearms, that are excluded from the current analysis,” she said. But in all likelihood, this would only make the case against Obama’s claim stronger.
Emphasis mine – I don’t mind talking about the issues. I don’t mind admitting that America, for whatever reasons, is more homicidal then many other countries. But let’s be honest in our debate.
Please join the discussion.