After the tragic Charleston shooting that left 9 Americans dead, President Obama said the following:
But let’s be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.
But is that true?
Since most statistics on mass shootings in the world compare apples and oranges by not correcting for population, let’s get a chart that makes sense, shall we?
Boom, here we go: The Rampage Shooting Index. Taken from a now-defunct website, it assembled data from around the world to construct a per capita mass shootings index that controls for population differences.
And since we’re just talking about members of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), we can assume these 34 countries are sufficiently “advanced” to enter into the discussion.
The bottom line: The United States falls from number one due to its frequency of 38 mass shootings from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2013 (which would be number one without correcting for population) to number seven.
Security Magazine commented on the data findings:
Between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2013,there were 413 fatalities from mass shootings in the 34 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). From the five-year period of 2008-2012, there were 373 total spree shooting fatalities.
According to the OECD’s latest version of the Rampage Shooting Index, a pair of deadly shootings in Switzerland in early 2013 pushed the U.S. out of the top five OECD nations for the most per capita fatalities, but the U.S. continues to have the most rampage shooting deaths (one reason could be its size – The U.S. population accounts for 25 percent of the OECD total). However, the U.S. saw a drop in mass shooting deaths from 93 in 2012 to 68 in 2013.
The U.S.’ index of 0.12 per 5,000,000 places it behind Norway (recall the Anders Breivik massacre), Finland, Slovakia, Israel, and Switzerland – at half the ratio.
Another thing one might note: The top 5 countries for mass shootings per capita all have “restrictive” gun policies.