After every mass shooting anti-gun groups blame the availability of firearms and promote their standard list of gun laws whether relevant or not. But guns are just one tool of mass murder, not the most efficient tool, and NOT a motivation. i.e. no one suddenly realizes that they can legally buy a gun, and because of it decide to go to the mall and murder everyone they see.
The fact is that a murderer decides to commit murder and THEN chooses his tool from what is available. They often do choose a gun of one type or another, but if guns are not available there are many other effective weapons that are. And as can be seen below, the largest mass murders in every category were committed not with firearms, but with explosives.The main reason for this gruesome statistic is the same lesson learned by the armies of the world and the major terrorist groups; firearms are designed for personal defense, and ordinance (explosives) are many times more effective for attacking a large force or group of people.
For those who view this post as ghoulish I truly apologize. I am not trying to make a pro-gun point with it and not trying to use the tragic events below to influence the gun debate; I’m just trying to show that it is not guns that cause people to commit murder, but the hatred and murder in their hearts. Whether civilian gun ownership is a negative or positive for a modern society is a subject upon which intelligent people can disagree, but in combatting the phenomenon of mass murder perhaps we should focus more on the society that spawns mass murderers and less on the tools they choose.
I wish this post were not necessary, but it seems the largest anti-gun groups have no qualms about using mass murders to promote their viewpoint (asking for $1 per victim for the Virginia Tech massacre, using the incident to promote unrelated gun laws, etc.) and I believe someone should point out that many mass murders do not involve guns. And from the pro-gun rights point of view anti-gun groups threaten to disarm law abiding civilians, restrict a constitutionally protected right, and insure that citizens are helpless before the very mass murderers they claim to be trying to stop.
The information below is a list of events, particularly recent events, and not proof of anything except that murder is determined by what is in a person’s heart, not the tool in their hand. The list should, however, put at an end the habit of anti-gun people trying to end a debate by self-righteously proclaiming: “Well … I don’t see how you can be pro-gun after Virginia Tech and Columbine …”
Many people believe that widespread gun ownership, particularly of handguns and military style weapons, is detrimental to society and I respect their opinion. But I would respectfully ask that they at least be cautious in how they utilize occurrences of mass-murder to promote their viewpoint, and at least restrict that promotion to laws that might have affected what happened in the actual event.
Worst Mass Murders in US History (any weapon):
By no coincidence all of the worst mass murders in US history have been non-gun.
Worst School Massacre in US history: Bath, Michigan School Massacre. 1927. Murder accomplished with explosives. 44 victims (equal to the Columbine and Virginia Tech massacres combined).
Worst Domestic Terrorist Attack in US History: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing. 4/19/95. Murder accomplished with a rental truck full of fertilizer based explosives. 168 dead (including many children in an onsite day care).
Worst Foreign based Terrorist Attack in US History: September 11, 2001 attacks on NYC, PA, Pentagon. Murder accomplished with box cutters and commerical airliners. ~3,000 people dead.
Non-Gun Mass Murders (worldwide):
By no means is this a complete list. I have focused on 2008, and NOT included the majority of terrorist attacks in recent times, most of which involve car bombs (London), attaché bombs on trains (Madrid), the Sarin gas attack in Tokyo, etc. (and in fact almost all modern terrorist attacks are done without guns for the reasons of efficiency stated above).
Arson, Stabbing Rampage in Seoul South Korea : 10/20/2008. 6 people dead, 5 from stabbing. 7 others wounded, 4 seriously. An angry man felt people “looked down on him.”
Anti-police stabbing spree in Shanghai, China: 7/2008. 6 Police Officers stabbed to death, 4 wounded. 28 year old man angry at police attacked a police station with a knife.
Akihabara Massacre, Chiyoda City, Tokyo, Japan: 6/8/2008. 7 people killed (3 struck by car, 4 by stabbing), many more injured. Man slammed into a crowd with his car, then jumped out and began stabbing people to death.
18 year old slashes 4 to death in Sitka, Alaska, US: 3/25/2008. 4 people killed. 18 year old (old enough to purchase a rifle over the counter) kills 4 people, related to him, with a 5 inch knife.
Stabbing Spree kills 2, Tsuchiura, Japan: 3/23/2008. 2 killed, 7 wounded. Man “just wanted to kill anyone.”
Stabbing spree wounds 41, 6 seriously in Berlin Train Station: 5/26/2006. 41 wounded, 6 seriously. Thankfully no one died in this attack, but not for lack of trying on the part of the drunk 16 year old.
4 killed in stabbing spree in London, UK: 9/2004. 4 killed, 2 wounded. Mentally ill man attacks mostly older people.
6 killed over Xbox dispute in Deltona, Florida, US: 8/6/2004. 6 killed. 4 men (all old enough to legally purchase firearms) bludgeon 6 people to death with baseball bats over purloined Xbox.
Daegu subway fire, Daegu, South Korea: 2/18/2003. 198 killed, 147 injured. A 56 year old unemployed taxi driver, dissatisfied with his medical treatment, sets fire to a crowded train.
Osaka School Massacre, Osaka Japan: 6/8/2001. 8 children dead, 13 other children and 2 teachers wounded. Committed by 37 year old former janitor armed with a kitchen knife.
Thankfully mass murders are extremely rare. There are 200 hundred million adults in the United States and only a few mass murders per year (any weapon). Per capita, I have seen statistics that claim Europe as a whole has fairly close to the same number of people murdered in mass murders as the US, though a far lower gun ownership rate and a far lower overall murder rate.