In a 12-page print section, The Washington Post on Sunday decided to list all the names of the victims killed in mass shootings since 1966, which came to 1,196.
According to a separate WaPo database where mass shootings are tracked, the paper defines mass shootings as an instance where four or more people are killed by one, or in some cases, two shooters. This definition excludes gang violence, robberies, and domestic shootings within private homes.
Eleven hundred ninety-six.— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 11, 2019
That’s the number of names on this page. People who were doing ordinary things until they were shot to death by killers bent on mass fatalities.
In today’s Washington Post, a special 12-page print section lists every mass shooting victim since 1966. pic.twitter.com/kgXDJq8bMY
The pace of the deadliest public mass shootings has accelerated significantly in recent years. The 423 people represented here died between the Sandy Hook massacre and last weekend’s attack in Dayton, Ohio.— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 11, 2019
They accounted for more than a third of the 1,196 killed since 1966. pic.twitter.com/04mkucWlM6
The Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, said the “section is dedicated to them and to their families and friends. Our purpose is to ensure that none of us forgets what all of us, as a nation, have lost.”
But many on social media criticized the section for making the problem appear to be much bigger than it is.
This is virulent innumeracy: trying to make a comparatively rare event look much bigger than it is by the way you print it out.— Robert Tracinski (@Tracinski) August 12, 2019
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
More people die per year by accidental interaction with lawnmower blades than mass shootings. Yes, I actually looked this up. This is a moral panic.— Phil (@philllosoraptor) August 11, 2019
That's 1,196 across 53 years?— Brian Cates (@drawandstrike) August 11, 2019
Did you know there were 70,237 opioid deaths in 2017 alone?
Also, I wonder what the # would be of people who saved their own lives with a firearm during this 53 year time period.
Interested in digging into that? ??
But the media tells me there's THOUSANDS of these, about 40k this year alone.— Lucille (@EvelynF24687915) August 12, 2019
Oh wait that's suicides involving guns, my bad.
1,200 in 54 years in a country with more guns that people is nothing, its a non issue, its such a tiny % its hard to even calculate it.
22 deaths per year on average from "mass shootings" out of let's round down to 300,000,000 people in the U.S., equates to... 0.00000733333% of the population per year killed in "mass shootings."— Aldous Huxley's Ghost™ (@AF632) August 11, 2019
Others thought gang violence that plagues inner cities ought to be given consideration.
Frankly, while all violentbdeath is horrific, I’m more disturbed at the widespread, chronic murders in poor neighborhoods by various sociopaths who terrorize grandmas, mothers, young men, old men and kids. Admittedly, it’s not as sexy but each heartbreak is just as ghastly.— Lady Bee (@ChurnDashSlash) August 11, 2019
Do Chicago next please. They are at 26 mass for the year.— Kambree Kawahine Koa (@KamVTV) August 11, 2019
I was just thinking how awesome it is to have an objective media that in no way has a biased agenda.— Nuclear Herbs (@NuclearHerbs) August 11, 2019
Also, Chicago would like a word, as they feel underrepresented in this piece.
Chicago took just 2 years time to exceeded this number - 2016 -2017.— IronJawedAngel (@AngelJawed) August 11, 2019
Where is the list of those 1,445 victims?
Some also called on the Post to do abortion next:
Now do abortion.— Mindy Robinson ???? (@iheartmindy) August 11, 2019
Now do the 65 million since Roe V Wade.— ..... (@marshallsheldon) August 11, 2019
Absolutely terrible to see anyone killed. Is next week's edition going to have the faces of the million's that were aborted during the same timeframe? pic.twitter.com/5DpkeqJBxO— Eric Loiselle (@AmalgamArt) August 11, 2019
Good people with guns also help stop mass shootings, which some users also pointed out:
There's this too. https://t.co/GOv8KllrZ3— LibertarianRedhead (@LibertarianRed1) August 11, 2019
Of course, focusing on these angles would not fit the narrative.