Obama believes in American exceptionalism, except he believes we are exceptionally prone to mass murder.
After the shootings in San Bernardino Wednesday in which a couple killed 14 and they themselves were killed by police, Obama said, “We don’t yet know what the motives of the shooters are but what we do know is that there are steps we can take to make Americans safer. We should never think that this is just something that just happens in the ordinary course of events because it doesn’t happen with the same frequency in other countries.”
He said this country’s record of mass shootings “has no parallel anywhere else in the world,” and said the U.S. needs stronger gun controls to prevent such events.
Speaking to reporters in Paris the day before, Obama addressed the shooting in Colorado Springs at an abortion clinic, saying, “I mean, I say this every time we go one of these mass shootings, this just doesn’t happen in other countries.” Yes, he was in Paris, the scene of the recent massacre of 129 people and the wounding of hundreds more.
But John R. Lott Jr., writing in Investor’s Business Daily and prior to Wednesday’s shooting, begs to differ and does the math.
Lott notes that in 2015 alone France has suffered more casualties due to mass shootings than the U.S. has had during Obama’s entire presidency — 508 to 394, plus the 35 from San Bernardino, 37 if you count the shooters.
The U.S. actually ranks eighth per capita in mass public shooting fatalities, Lott calculates, well behind European countries with far more strict gun control laws. “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,” he writes. “The U.S. comes in eighth with 0.095 mass public shooting fatalities per million people. Austria and Switzerland are close behind.”
Something surely needs to be done, but it helps to start the dialogue with facts instead of false rhetoric.