America’s Mass Shootings: A Few Problems Confused with One Name 

(Photo: Live 5 News)

(Photo: Live 5 News)

In our last post, we examined the role of guns—specifically semi-automatic rifles—in crime.  

Today, we will specifically look at mass shootings, trying to understand what exactly they are. By striving to understand the horrors that rock our headlines all too often, we may gain insight into how to prevent them.  

Generally, when we talk about mass shootings, we are referring to events like those in Uvalde, Buffalo, or Parkland. The term immediately conjures a pretty clear picture in our minds; a lone gunman entering a school, place of worship, or store and killing many defenseless people for no clear reason beyond psychiatric disturbances. However, given a bit more time to think, we begin to realize there are other types of mass shootings. There’s workplace violence, once so common in America’s Postal Service, that violently lashing out at your co-workers became colloquially known as “going postal.” There are shootings that occur in larger areas such as the Vegas shooting (the largest mass shooting on record). There are clear incidents of terrorism in which the attacker chooses a firearm rather than a bomb or vehicle, such as the Fort Hood shooting

Even still, these examples do not account for anywhere near all of the mass shootings that occur.  

So, what is a mass shooting? 

Believe it or not, there’s no one answer.  

Some organizations define a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are shot and killed. 

Some define it as an incident in which four people other than the gunman are shot and killed. 

Others define mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people other than the gunman are shot—regardless of how many people died.  

The FBI does not even define mass shootings, instead, defining an event in which four or more people are killed—regardless of the weapon used—as a “mass murder.” 

To understand any topic, we have to choose a definition, so for the purposes of this article, we will be going with the broadest definition; a mass shooting is an event in which four or more people, other than the shooter, are shot.  

It’s important to understand how broad this definition is. This definition combines events like the Uvalde shooting with gang-related gunfights like this one in Providence, Rhode Island, in which two groups of individuals shot at one another.  

However, if we were to try and limit the definitions to exclude cases in which victims of a shooting fired back, we would discount any case in which, say, church security shot the gunman or an armed vice-principal stopped a shooting.  

Given this, the media and political leaders rely on data of questionable value when discussing waves of violence.  
Consider these headlines:  

The Washington Post

Both of these appeared on major outlets, and both articles specifically call out the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings. However, neither makes any attempt at clarifying, as we have done in this piece, that parsing out gang-related violence is extremely difficult when looking at mass shooting data. 

These stories are rarely run after horrifying shootouts such as this one in St. Louis, last year or this shooting on June 30th in Colorado in which multiple police officers were shot executing a search warrant. 

We are left with the impression that marauders are entering our schoolyards and places of worship daily and committing unspeakable acts. The reality is that we are in the midst of a large spike in violent crime in America, which started in 2020.  

This distinction is extremely important to understand.  

As the headlines above noted, there have been over 250 mass shootings in the United States in 2022. There have been 27 school shootings. That means that if every single school shooting were a mass shooting—and not all are, as in some cases, the number of victims is fewer than four—they would only make up 10% of the total. It should be clear that we cannot hope to prevent a school shooting in the same way that we would prevent gang violence.  

The type of person who shoots school children has a different profile than the individual who joins a gang, for example. The difference that’s easiest to identify? School shooters are almost always extremely socially isolated. Gang members, on the other hand, by definition, identify with a group of people and have strong bonds with that group.  

While both of the youth in these cases would certainly benefit from healthy socialization, in the case of a gang member, one would have to ensure the safety of the youth that one is trying to break out of the gang; a difficulty simply not present in the profile of a young school shooter.  

That’s just one example.  

There are numerous profiles of shooters; some are nihilistic, and some are true believers in a twisted ideology. Some are acting alone, and others choose to be the vanguard of a movement.  

But all of them cause mass casualties, tearing families apart, and staining communities.  

We must find new ways of identifying these crimes, rather than simply relying on the term “mass shooting.” It is so broad that it blurs the nature of the crimes involved.  

This may lead many to say, “what they have in common is the gun. Target their guns!” 

While at first blush this makes sense, we covered the nature of American gun crime in our previous post. Simply put, most guns used in crime are acquired illegally; if every single legally obtained gun were removed from criminals’ hands, it would account for about 10% of the total.  

Instead, we must treat these problems as different as they appear.  

We must create a better method for discovering potential school shooters. At the moment, school resources are stretched beyond their limits in attempting to find any potential mass shooter. 

We have to better fund anti-gang forces in local law enforcement, while also providing clear alternatives to those already trapped in gang life.  

We have to secure potential targets of mass shootings, to ensure that when the systems fail—as they inevitably will—the targets of a shooter are better prepared and safer.  

In a later post, we will detail what these solutions might look like.  

In the meantime, remember; that America’s mass shootings are not all the same. Treating them as such makes our efforts to save lives less effective.  

America’s Mass Shootings: A Few Problems Confused with One Name 

South Austin News | SARC

“This morning, Austin Energy had around 3 dozen homes without power, but around by 5:25 a.m. that number jumped to 7,772.” FOX7 “People were seen fighting over food in the dumpster at an H-E-B store in South Austin on William Cannon and I-35 yesterday.” FOX7 “A residential development containing 375 units and rising up to seven floors at the…

Patriotic Things to Do on Veteran’s Day – Movies, Blogs, Projects and More | SARC

By Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, Nov. 9, 2017

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”

George S. Patton

Veterans Day is a time to pay tribute to those who have served and those who are currently serving whether active duty, National Guard, or Reserve.

Veterans Day is a time of remembrance and gratitude, but also a time to celebrate as Americans.

The American tradition of barbecues, military-themed gatherings, and special events is definitely what helps us feel connected to those that have served – helping those that have served to feel connected to the country.

SARC has put together a list of things you can do this Veteran’s Day that will help bring you closer to Veterans and the spirit of America.

If you have a favorite film, personal story or something to add that we missed – please send us an email or comment below! We’d love to hear from you!


The Great Escape

Director: John Sturges
Starring: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough


Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe

Top Gun

Director: Tony Scott
Starring: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer

The Great Escape

Director: John Sturges
Starring: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough


Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe

Top Gun

Director: Tony Scott
Starring: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer

Iron Eagle

Director: Sidney J. Furie
Starring: Louis Gossett Jr., Jason Gedrick, David Suchet

The Great Escape

Director: John Sturges
Starring: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough


Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe

Top Gun

Director: Tony Scott
Starring: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer

Iron Eagle

Director: Sidney J. Furie
Starring: Louis Gossett Jr., Jason Gedrick, David Suchet

Stalag 17

Director: Billy Wilder
Starring: William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger

Black Hawk Down

Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore

A Few Good Men

Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Pollak


Write a Letter to a Veteran via

Read Books About Soldiers’ Experiences via

Interview a Veterans via

Create and Send Paracord Survival Bracelets via

Take a Virtual Trip to a Military Museum or Memorial via –
The National WWI Museum and Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri:
 The museum offers a number of online exhibitions on topics including volunteerism during World War I, the end of WWI in 1918, and more.National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Washington, D.C.: Your students can view artifactsdigital exhibits, and photography related to various wars. In addition, the museum offers high school lesson plans on Pearl Harbor.Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex, New York, New York: The complex offers virtual tours and talks as well as videos on its YouTube channeloral history interviews with those who served on board the famous aircraft carrier, a searchable database of the Museum’s collection of items, and more.The National WWII Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana: View exhibits including “Road to Tokyo” and “Road to Berlin,” which contain historical photographs and information. The museum also offers distance learning opportunities and resources for students and teachers.Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington D.C.: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund offers a virtual tour of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, which is available online or via the VVMF’s Mobile Tour app.


Veterans Day Parade – Thu, Nov 11, 8 AM Congress Avenue Bridge
Congress Ave, Austin, TX

Cookies for Cops – Thus, Nov 11, 1pm 715 E 8th St, Austin, TX 78701

Veterans Day Parade – Sat, Nov 13, 12 – 6 PM Kyle, TX

The 5th Annual Veterans Day 5K – Sat, Nov 13, 7 AM – 12 PM Fritz Park
400 Park Ave, Hutto, TX

VETERANS DAY EVENT – Thu, Nov 11, 7 AM – 5 PM The American Legion George Johns Post 447 1000 N Georgetown St, Round Rock, TX

Heroes & Hot Rods Veteran’s Day Car Show – Fri, Nov 12, 4 – 10 PM Downtown Bastrop 904 Main St, Bastrop, TX

Veteran’s Day Bus Tour (2nd Annual) – Thu, Nov 11, 11 AM – 6 PM Lazydaze Pflugerville 1202 Farm to Market 685 Suite A5, Pflugerville, TX

Veterans Day Ceremony – Thu, Nov 11, 4 PM 1011 S Bagdad Rd, Leander, TX

2021 Veteran’s Day Dinner and Dance – Thu, Nov 11, 5 – 8 PM Dripping Springs Distilling 5330 Bell Springs Rd, Dripping Springs, TX

Vets Day Classic Car Show and Cruise In – Fri, Nov 12 – Sat, Nov 13 1107 Pine St, Bastrop, TX

Veterans Day Luncheon – Thu, Nov 11, 5:30 – 7:00 AM First Lockhart Baptist Church Connection Center 200 S Blanco St, Lockhart, TX




Veteran’s Day Quote to Share

Happy Veteran’s Day! “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.” – George S. Patton

South Austin News | SARC

“Roughly a dozen families living at a mobile home park in South Austin who received 60-day notices to leave will be able to stay for the time being after a Travis County judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday.” KUT 5 Fun Things in South Austin – DO512 “A 25-year-old man has been arrested for…

Are We Rewarding Failure? | SARC

Austin City Council voted to increase their pay by 40% last week by an overwhelming margin. Out of the eleven members, only three opposed this egregious hike in pay; Paige Ellis (D8), Vanessa Fuentes (D2), and the redoubtable Mackenzie Kelly (D6).

How 9/11 United The Nation | SARC

On this faithful day in September 19 years ago, I was in middle school. I had just entered art class. The teacher, Mr. Slaughterback, came rushing into the room mid-morning wheeling in a television. He quickly plugged it in and turned it on, turning to the class asking us to quiet down and to pay attention to the TV.

8:46 am EST • Within moments we could tell something wasn’t right as the news commentator described the plane that had previously hit. Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 crash the plane into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.

Within 5 minutes, a moment transpired that changed the world for everyone; the second plane appeared against the crisp blue New York City sky…

9:03 am EST • Hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 75-85 of the WTC’s South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building

“The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom.”


9:37 am • Hijackers aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the western façade of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.”

George W. Bush

11 am • Mayor Rudolph Giuliani calls for the evacuation of Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, including more than 1 million residents, workers and tourists, as efforts continue throughout the afternoon to search for survivors at the WTC site.

6:58 pm • President Bush returns to the White House after stops at military bases in Louisiana and Nebraska.

8:30 pm • President Bush addresses the nation, calling the attacks “evil, despicable acts of terror” and declaring that America, its friends and allies would “stand together to win the war against terrorism.”

The terrible events of that day will live in our hearts and minds forever. The men and women that fought that day to protect the citizens will never be forgotten. The brave service members that died serving their fellow Americans will be forever engraved in our hearts and in stone in New York City’s memorial to the fallen.

The American spirit is what keeps us unified against the evils in this world. And, the American spirit grew bright in the aftermath of 9/11. We came together as Americans and became stronger and more focused than ever before. We reignited the patriotic fire. And, above all – we did not (and won’t ever) allow an event like September 11th define who we are. Instead, we rise up, rise above, and continue to be the unified people of the great United States of America.

“The lesson of 9/11 is that America is truly exceptional. We withstood the worst attack of our history, intended by our enemies to destroy us. Instead, it drew us closer and made us more united. Our love for freedom and one another has given us a strength that surprised even ourselves.”

Rudy Giuliani

Murders in the Park | SARC

In 2020, the city council removed $150 million from the Austin Police budget. While this author has given special attention in the past to the obscenity of losing our sex crimes unit, there is another element that was eliminated causing all too tragic consequences. 

Tell a Worker ‘Thank You!’ Today; Here’s Why: How Labor Day Represents American Patriotism | SARC

“Labor Day is seen as a day of rest for many hardworking Americans.”

James P. Hoffa

You have your burgers and hotdogs ready for grilling. Maybe, you have your favorite beer or chilled beverage in your hand to celebrate the hard work of dedicated Americans across the nation.

Labor Day is one of the most patriotic holidays that have grown out of the activities of the America people.

The Labor Day holiday evolved out of the activities of the developing labor movement at the end of the 19th century.  Labor supporters had developed a tradition of holding parades, picnics and other events to rally strikers or to show support for specific labor issues.  In New York, the Central Labor Union was a group made up of members from many labor unions.  Early in 1882, the Central Labor Union decided to hold a parade and picnic as festival in support of labor sometime in September.  By August, a union committee had selected the park and the date – Tuesday, September 5 1882 –for the celebration and the union passed a resolution “that the 5th of September be proclaimed a general holiday for the workingmen in this city.”  The celebration was a huge success and it was resolved to continue the celebration annually. By 1884, the union had selected the first Monday in September as the official holiday and were urging unions in other cities to celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date.

Labor Day is patriotic because this is when America celebrates the citizens that work to keep this great county moving. We celebrate the Americans that have endless energy and strife to make this country the best it can be. You are the hard working citizens that keep the great American machine moving forward. Today, on this 138th Labor Day we solute you and all the hard work you put in day in and day out.

Until next year, enjoy the grill and chilled beverage. And, know you are appreciated by all Americans.

“A truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.”

Grover Cleveland