On Sunday, the Washington Post shared a list of names which included every person victim killed each mass shooting since 1966—all 1196 names.
The headline was kept simple: “54 years, 165 mass shootings, 1,196 victims: The Lives Lost” and each of the names followed.
The page serves as a powerful reminder that each individual—some of which were fathers, mothers, friends, neighbors, children—was tragically killed in a mass shooting incident somewhere in America.
Check it out:
A stunning page in today's Post print edition: the name of every mass shooting victim since 1966. pic.twitter.com/M8wMLJIh1J
— Mark W. Smith 💁🏻♂️ (@markdubya) August 11, 2019
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The page was shared on the heels of a pair of mass shooting incidents just a week ago in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, where more than 30 people were killed.
Twitchy reports that several people online argued, however gripping the page may be, it seems to counter the mainstream media narrative that gun violence and mass shootings are an epidemic in the country.
Just under 1,200 mass shooting deaths over 54 years amounts to just over 22 deaths per year, Twitter user @NoahPollak said in a post. He also called the Washington Post effort “a media own goal.”
If you want to stoke outrage about this issue it's probably better not to highlight the fact that only 22 people a year are killed in mass shootings in a country of 300M+. A media own goal. https://t.co/vJmFq2cbsL
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) August 11, 2019
Georgetown Law professor Randy Barnett called the mass shootings a “very rare event” that mainstream media is “politicizing.”
The WaPost unintentionally puts recent shootings in perspective. This is a very rare event and marginal cause of deaths—even deaths by murder. But if we keep politicizing these events to accomplish our policy objectives, we just might manage to make them more common. https://t.co/XSeCs8vwFu
— Randy Barnett (@RandyEBarnett) August 11, 2019
Editor Robert Tacinski said the manner of printing every victim of any incident would make it look just as daunting.
“This is virulent innumeracy: trying to make a comparatively rare event look much bigger than it is by the way you print it out,” he said in a tweet. “Figure out how many of these pages it would take to print the names of everybody struck by lightning since 1966.”
This is virulent innumeracy: trying to make a comparatively rare event look much bigger than it is by the way you print it out.
Figure out how many of these pages it would take to print the names of everybody struck by lightning since 1966. https://t.co/d39heZHW0a
— Robert Tracinski (@Tracinski) August 12, 2019
Other people echoed these sentiments:
Honestly, this feels like it actually downplays the issue. Less than 2,000 in a half century is nearly nothing when compared to, say, the AIDS epidemic (700K since beginning) or opioid overdoses (nearly 50K in 2017 alone). https://t.co/LXpABMPtyg
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) August 11, 2019
I don't think it downplays mass shootings to point out that a little over 1,200 deaths in 54 years is not exactly the terrifying plague that this implies it is. For perspective, 60 times more people died from opioid overdoses in 2017 alone. https://t.co/aMndB8lMNj
— neontaster (@neontaster) August 11, 2019
The trend on mass shootings is a serious issue, but I’m not sure that this is a good way to frame it.
For context: Many on the left argue that late-term abortions are very rare and therefore not a big issue, but there are 10,000-12,000 such abortions every year. https://t.co/FnO8kPp0st
— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) August 11, 2019
It is August 11th. About as many people have died in traffic accidents already in August as have died in mass shootings in the last 53 years. https://t.co/tHVwd918Ek
— Boomieleaks (@notwokieleaks) August 11, 2019
Shooting implies an instance where shots were fired, mass implies a greater than one amount of people
Some standards require people to have been killed to be a "mass shooting" some don't
In terms of more than four people shot, Chicago has had 26 'mass shootings' this year alone https://t.co/WFB2ooN8be
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) August 11, 2019
So far, 1636 people have been shot in Chicago this year. How many of those names have appeared in the Post? If they don't help the liberal agenda they don't exist. https://t.co/NUIrCkdla9 https://t.co/eS9CEWu4Ne
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) August 11, 2019