Radio Derb on "Spree Killings"

John Derbyshire, who has occasionally published books on math in addition to becoming a social pariah, works out the numbers.
Spree killings are anyway only a tiny proportion of gun deaths. There are about 30,000 gun deaths a year in the U.S.A., two-thirds of them suicides. Of the ten thousand or so that aren't suicides, spree killings are a fraction of one percent. If you add up the spree killings for 2015, for example, there were 3 in Chapel Hill in February, 9 in Charleston in June, 2 in Lafayette in July, and 14 in San Bernadino in December; total 28. Out of 30,000.
Round it to thirty, and you've got an easy figure: one in a thousand.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

It is a similar phenomenon to airplane crashes versus car accidents. We notice the bigger number, but the others add up.

Grim said...

That's a good point. Car crashes are almost numerically identical to "gun deaths" writ large (i.e., including suicides and accidents as well as crimes). Spree killings are... well, even smaller than airline crashes in real numbers. And airline travel is the safest way to travel there is, we always hear.