Mass shootings happen in many places around the world
President Barack Obama responded to the horrific shooting at a historic black church in Charleston that left nine dead with an earnest statement—well, other than that contention that was completely untrue.
Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.
Let’s set aside the assertion that it’s too easy to obtain guns in America and deal with the implication that we are somehow uniquely violent or that “mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”
The president has made this claim in various ways and with various qualifiers.
Parlez vous Hebdo? Because surely the president recalls that in January of this year two gunmen entered the office of a satirical magazine in France with an assortment of guns and murdered 11 people (and injured 11 more). After leaving, they killed a police officer. And in a marketplace catering to Jews another five were murdered and 11 wounded. France is an advanced country, is it not?
It only takes some quick research to discover that rampage killers, acts of terror (as the Charleston shooting most certainly is), school attacks, spree killers are not unique to the United States.
In 2011, a deranged Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people by setting off a van bomb in Oslo, before going on to murder 69 more people, mostly children at a summer camp.
This is the single worst shooting spree incident in history. Obama surely remembers that he left the White House and visited the Norwegian ambassador’s residence to offer his condolences.
It takes only a rudimentary search to find out that mentally unstable killers can be found anywhere.
In February of this year, nine people were killed in Czech Republic spree killing. In Erfurt, Germany, a couple of years ago, an expelled student murdered 13 teachers, two students and a policeman. That same year, in the Serbian village of Velika Ivanča, a gunman shot and killed 14 people—many of them his own relatives— and a Russia gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle killing six people. A couple of years before that, in England, a lone gunman killed 12 people and injured 11.
Advanced countries or developing ones, it’s the same thing. In 2013 a mentally unstable man in Rio de Janeiro killed 12 children and seriously wounded another 12. And you might remember that China had an outbreak of mass stabbings, hammer and cleaver attacks not long ago. You don’t need guns to kill people. One man stabbed 22 children by himself. Two attackers killed 29 people and injured 143 at Chinese railway station last year.
It should be noted that not that long ago advanced nations in Europe were busy throwing people into ovens or starving millions on purpose. The idea that violence is uniquely American is best left to fringe leftists on college campuses.
What happened in Charleston is horrifying and heartbreaking, and there’s nothing wrong with having a debate about how to avoid shootings in the future. Maybe, as the president argues, we have access to too many guns. I don’t think so, but make that argument rather than trying to score political points with a falsehood.
David Harsanyi writes for The Federalist.