Monday, December 7, 2015

How Many Mass Shootings?

By Matthew Schafer
Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved

Context is a funny thing, without it anything can mean anything.  Mass shootings are, of course, horrible and this should be an area where people strive particularly to provide context but unfortunately this isn’t the case.  Instead people use these situations to further their own agendas.

There is this statistic going around, I’ve seen it in a few articles and all over Facebook, that so far in 2015 there have been 355 mass shootings.  That number was even given in an article ran in the Washington Post.  While most people read that and freaked out I, and others, read that and thought “bullshit.”  There have not been 355 mass shootings in the US this year; that is ridiculous.

Luckily others thought so too and found out where this statistic came from.  This statistic comes from a website run by, you guessed it, gun control advocates.  How did this group arrive at the number 355?  It seems that they did it by using their own definition of “mass shooting” to inflate the numbers.  The founder of the “shooting tracker” project, who calls himself “Billy Speed”, was quoted in an interview saying, “Three years ago I decided, all by myself, to change the United States’ definition of mass shooting.”

I have always found that whenever there is a big misunderstanding that just won’t go away often, at the core of the issue, is simple semantics.  Many people have their own definition of what a mass shooting is and this isn’t helping anyone.

The FBI defined a mass shooting as a single shooting event in which 4 or more people were killed.  In 2013 they lowered their definition to incidents where 3 or more people were killed.

Here is where context is so important; when I say “mass shooting” you naturally think of some whack job grabbing a bunch of guns and shooting up a mall, school, church, restaurant, theater, or another public place while dozens to perhaps hundreds of people hide or run for their lives.  That is what I think of too and that really is what we are all concerned about.  However, that hasn’t happened 355 times this year.

What we have to remember when looking at statics about violence is that America is actually a pretty safe place and the lion’s share of all the violence reported on in these statics is actually gang on gang violence that occurs in select small pockets of bad neighborhoods in some of our biggest cities.  If you hear a story that 5 people were killed in a shooting spree you’re probably picturing 5 innocent law abiding citizens like yourself being gunned down by a criminal, however, chances are if you looked into the story a little more chances are the shooting happened in a bad neighborhood in a big city and it was one gang shooting another gang, probably over drugs.

I’ve always liked and they been keeping a database on mass shootings that goes back to 1982.  However, theirs filters out the white noise, so to speak, so we can see the real problem. Their data base looked at instances where 4 or more people were killed but they removed cases of gang on gang violence, domestic violence situations that occurred in a private residence, and cases of armed robbery.  After these things were removed what was left was just instances of what you think a mass shooting should be: some asshole shooting up a public place.

So, how many times has some asshole shot up a public place this year?  4 times.  There have only been 73 true mass shootings in the US since 1982 (which is still too many).  In those last 33 years there has only been 502 people killed in mass shootings, a number that sounds large but when put in context it really isn’t.  Over the last 33 years 15 people have died, on average, by being caught in a mass shooting each year while 52 people die each year from lightning strikes. 

You are nearly 4 times more likely to be killed in a lightning strike than in a mass shooting.  What are your chances of dying in a lightning strike?  I looked it up and according to the National Center for Health Statistics it is: 1 in 89,930.

Below I’ve taken information from Mother Jone’s database to list every single mass shooting since 1982 that meets our criteria.

Note: Other public shooting attacks, such as the rampage at Fort Hood in April 2014, another in Isla Vista, California in May 2014, and another on a bridge in Wisconsin in May 2015, have not been included because there were fewer than four victims shot to death in each of those cases.

6/17/2015, Charleston Church Shooting, Charleston, South Carolina, 9 killed, 1 injured
7/16/2015, Attack on military sites, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 4 killed, 3 wounded
10/1/2015, Umpquah Community College shooting, Roseburg, Oregon, 9 killed, 9 injured.
12/2/2015, San Bernardino Shooting, San Bernardino, Calif, 14 killed, 21 injured

10/24/2014, Marysville-Pilchuck High Schoolshooting, Marysville, Washington, 5 killed, 1 injured
2/20/2014, Alturas tribal shooting, Alturas, California, 4 killed, 2 injured

4/21/2013, Pinewood Village Apartment shooting, Federal Way, Washington, 5 killed
6/7/2013, Santa Monica rampage, Santa Monica, California, 6 killed, 3 injured
9/16/2013, Washington Navy Yard shooting, Washington, D.C., 13 killed, 8 injured

2/22/2012, Su Jung Health Sauna shooting, Norcross, Georgia, 5 killed
7/20/2012, Aurora theater shooting, Aurora, Colorado, 12 killed, 58 injured
8/5/2012, Sikh temple shooting, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, 7 killed, 3 injured

10/14/2011, Seal Beach shooting, Seal Beach, California, 8 killed, 1 injured
9/6/2011, IHOP shooting, Carson City, Nevada, 5 killed, 7 injured
1/8/2011, Tucson shooting, Tucson, Arizona, 6 killed 13 injured

8/3/2010, Hartford Beer Distributor shooting, Manchester, Connecticut, 9 killed, 2 injured

3/29/2009, Carthage nursing home shooting, Carthage, North Carolina, 8 killed, 3 injured
4/3/2009, Binghamton shootings, Binghamton, New York, 14 killed, 4 injured
11/5/2009, Fort Hood massacre, Fort Hood, Texas, 13 killed, 30 injured
11/29/2009, Coffee shop police killings, Parkland, Washington, 4 killed, 1 injured.

2/7/2008, Kirkwood City Council shooting, Kirkwood, Missouri, 6 killed, 2 injured
 2/14/2008, Northern Illinois University shooting, DeKalb, Illinois, 6 killed, 21 injured
6/25/2008, Atlantis Plastics shooting, Henderson, Kentucky, 6 killed, 1 injured

2/12/2007, Trolley Square shooting, Salt Lake City, Utah, 6 killed, 4 injured
4/16/2007, Virginia Tech massacre, Blacksburg, Virginia, 33 killed, 23 injured
10/7/2007, Crandon shooting, Crandon, Wisconsin, 6 killed, 1 injured
12/5/2007, Westroads Mall shooting, Omaha, Nebraska, 9 killed, 4 injured

1/30/2006, Goleta postal shootings, Goleta, California, 8 killed
10/2/2006, Amish school shooting, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 6 killed, 5 injured

3/12/2005, Living Church of God shooting, Brookfield, Wisconsin, 7 killed, 4 injured
3/21/2005, Red Lake massacre, Red Lake, Minnesota, 10 killed, 5 injured

12/8/2004, Damageplan show shooting, Columbus, Ohio, 5 killed, 7 injured

7/8/2003, Lockheed Martin shooting, Meridian, Mississippi, 7 killed, 8 injured

2/5/2001, Navistar shooting, Melrose Park, Illinois, 5 killed, 4 injured

12/26/2000, Wakefield massacre, Wakefield, Massachusetts, 7 killed

4/20/1999, Columbine High School massacre, Littleton, Colorado, 15 killed, 24 injured
7/29/1999, Atlanta day trading spree killings, Atlanta, Georgia, 9 killed, 13 injured
9/15/1999, Wedgwood Baptist Church shooting, Fort Worth, Texas, 8 killed, 7 injured
12/30/1999, Hotel shooting, Tampa, Florida, 5 killed, 3 injured

6/20/1994: Air Force base shooting, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, 5 killed, 23 injured.

3/6/1998, Connecticut Lottery shooting, Newington, Connecticut, 5 killed, 1 injured
3/24/1998, Westside Middle School killings, Jonesboro, Arkansas, 5 killed, 10 injured
5/21/1998, Thurston High School shooting, Springfield, Oregon, 4 killed, 25 injured

9/15/1997, R.E. Phelon Company shooting, Aiken, South Carolina, 4 killed, 3 injured
12/18/1997, Caltrans maintenance yard shooting, Orange, California, 5 killed, 2 injured

7/1/1993, 101 California Street shootings, San Francisco, California, 9 killed, 6 injured
8/6/1993, Luigi's shooting, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 4 killed, 8 injured
12/7/1993, Long Island Rail Road massacre, Garden City, New York, 6 killed, 19 injured
12/14/1993, Chuck E. Cheese's killings, Aurora, Colorado, 4 killed, 1 injured

5/1/1992, Lindhurst High School shooting, Olivehurst, California, 4 killed, 10 injured
10/15/1992, Watkins Glen killings, Watkins Glen, New York, 5 killed

10/16/1991, Luby's massacre, Killeen, Texas, 24 killed, 20 injured
11/1/1991, University of Iowa shooting, Iowa City, Iowa, 6 killed, 1 injured
11/14/1991, ,Royal Oak postal shootings, Royal Oak, Michigan, 5 killed, 5 injured

6/18/1990, GMAC massacre, Jacksonville, Florida, 10 killed, 4 injured

1/17/1989, Stockton schoolyard shooting, Stockton, California, 6 killed, 29 injured
9/14/1989, Standard Gravure shooting, Louisville, Kentucky, 9 killed, 12 injured

2/16/1988, ESL shooting, Sunnyvale, California, 7 killed, 4 injured

4/23/1987, Shopping centers spree killings, Palm Bay, Florida, 6 killed, 14 injured

8/20/1986, United States Postal Service shooting, Edmond, Oklahoma, 15 killed, 6 injured

7/18/1984, San Ysidro McDonald's massacre, San Ysidro, California, 22 killed, 19 injured

8/20/1982, Welding shop shooting, Miami, Florida, 8 killed, 3 injured

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Become An Instant Super-Spy With These Three Top Secret Techniques!

By Matthew Schafer
Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved

Ok, no, you won’t be a super spy after reading this but these three techniques, which are little-known outside of the military/intelligence/security/law enforcement community, but you’ll find that they are actually very useful in your everyday life.  I learned these three things during counter-terrorism training and I use them quite often. 

I’ve learned some pretty interesting stuff in my life, some in the military and some out, but it is really interesting how often things taught in the military or intelligence community are useful in regular life.  There are so many things that just aren’t taught to the general public it really is a shame.

So, without further ado, I’ll go over how to see without your glasses, how to make hard decisions in a hurry, and how to tell when someone is lying to you (with about 80% accuracy).

Super Spy Secret #1: Let’s say you misplace your glasses but you still need to see something like a license plate number of a car that is leaving the scene of an accident.  All you have to do is curl your index finger in and place your thumb overtop of it, sort of like you’re making the “OK” sign with your hand but make sure no light is visible when you look at your index finger.  Now hold your hand up to you eye and open your index finger just enough so a very small pinhole of light appears and look though that tiny hole at what you’re trying to see and you’ll find that you can magically see it clearly!  Try it by trying to read type at a distance and play around with the distance your hand is from your eye and size of the pin hone.  You’ll notice that the smaller the hole you look through the more focused the image is.

This works not by focusing light but rather by blocking out unnecessary light leaving only the light that goes straight into your eye from the image to get through.  I once had a friend who only wore glasses for watching TV and one day the he stepped on his glasses breaking both lenses.  He was quite upset having to watch blurry TV until his new lenses came in so I took two index cards and put tiny pin holes in each one and taped them to his glasses.  After moving them around to get them just right, he found he could see well enough through those little pin holes where he could watch TV in focus until he got his replacement lenses.

Super Spy Secret #2: Let’s say you have an important decision to make and you don’t know what the right answer is.  Your subconscious mind, being far more observant and intelligent than your conscious mind, probably does know what the right answer is, but the trick is getting the answer from your subconscious.

Here is a little trick taught to everyone from secret agents to Navy SEAL’s; stop what you’re doing and take a few seconds to relax.  Take one or two seconds to loosen your body and shake any tension out.  Then take at least three or four deep breaths (the more the better) while you concentrate on what it feels like to breathe.  Doing this should make you more relaxed and take your attention off your problem.  Now, take one more seconds to shake it out again.  Finally, say to yourself, “I don’t know what the answer is.  But…if I did know what the answer is what would it be?  It would be…”  And just go with whatever your next thought is and let it pop into your head.   If you’re asking the question to someone else it would go, “You don’t know what the answer is, right?  But, if you did know what the answer is what would it be?”

Most people find the answer just jumps into their minds.  The answer that does just in comes right from your own subconscious mind and is based on all the different pieces of information that you took in but your conscious mind didn’t pick up.  Maybe you want to decide if you should go somewhere; well earlier that day the TV was on and the weatherman gave his forecast for today but you were too busy doing something else to pay attention.  However, even though your conscious mind didn’t pay attention your subconscious took everything in.  Your subconscious mind was paying attention not only when the weather report was on but also when you were on the elevator at work yesterday talking to a co-worker and unbeknownst to you another co-worker standing behind you was talking about when they went to that place last week and what their experience was like.  Your subconscious picks up everything and has a lot more information to base decisions on and its decisions are usually far wiser than those of your conscious mind.

Final Super Spy Secret, how to tell (with about 80% accuracy) if someone is lying to you.  First you need to know if they are right or left handed.  This is usually simple enough and if you don’t know I’m sure you can figure it out.  The technique is when they’re talking simply ask them a question about a detail of what they’re talking about and see what way their eyes move.  If they’re eyes move toward their dominant side they are probably lying while if they move toward their non-dominant side they are probably telling the truth.

The way this works is that your eyes tend to move in certain directions depending on what parts of your brain you are accessing at that time.  If you are right handed then the left side of your brain would be used to recall memories while the right side would be used for engaging in creativity (making things up).  So if you’re right handed and you’re telling me you’re late for work because you got stuck behind a slow driver I could ask you what color the car was and if you look towards your left I can assume you’re accessing your memory to get the answer, while if you looked towards your right I can assume you are accessing your creativity to come up with a lie.

There are several factors that can make this not work so it should be tested with a follow up technique but it is a fairly accurate indicator. 

So there you go…three super spy secret techniques they don’t teach in them fancy book-learning schools.  You are now like a less cooler version of James Bond with no sexy gadgets and less gonorrhea.