A paper on mass public shootings by Adam Lankford (2016) has received massive national and international media attention, getting coverage in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, plus hundreds of other news outlets spanning at least 35 different countries. Lankford’s claim was that over the 47 years from 1966 to 2012, an enormous amount of the world’s mass public shooters -- 31% -- occurred in the United States. Lankford attributed this to America’s gun ownership.
It's so strange how the rest of the world just can't wait to migrate to such a horrible, brutal, and lethal country. Of course, the paper is utterly false but it makes the US look bad, so it's good!
Even when we use coding choices that are most charitable to Lankford, his 31 percent estimate of the US’s share of world mass public shooters is cut by over 95 percent. By our count, the US makes up less than 1.43% of the mass public shooters, 2.11% of their murders, and 2.88% of their attacks. All these are much less than the US’s 4.6% share of the world population. Attacks in the US are not only less frequent than in other countries, they are also much less deadly on average.
It's certainly true that in the past few decades the US has had more shootings than other Western nations. However, the argument that the US is, on average, more deadly than the violent shitholes of the world is absolutely laughable.
Given the massive U.S. and international media attention Lankford’s work has received, and given the considerable impact his research has had on the debate, it is critical that this issue be resolved. His unwillingness to provide even the most basic information to other researchers raises real concerns about Lankford’s motives.