Mass murders with firearms justify stricter gun control laws: that’s the core assumption of the news media and politicians (which are pretty much identical). So what is the weapon that is the big killer in American mass murders? So big that more than half of all mass murder victims since 1657 were killed with this weapon, one that was not invented until the 20th century.
My current research project is a comprehensive history of mass murder. I have identified 360 mass murders (defined as three or more persons murdered or wounded in a 24 hour period). This includes 5,948 dead.
And the most commonly used weapon? Airplanes: 3,316 (or 55.8%) were murdered with airplanes. Three of those four mass murders were on 9/11. By comparison, where a single weapon was used in mass murders, firearms of all types caused 965 deaths (16.2%).
But what is the appropriate response to the most deadly mass murder weapon?
1. Background checks for airline tickets? This might have stopped the 9/11 mass murderers, especially because some FBI agents were already asking questions about why men were training as pilots, but were not very interested in learning takeoffs and landings. (The fourth airplane mass murder would not have been stopped; he was just fired airline employee.)
2. Tighter immigration laws to keep out dangerous radicals? That’s just racism. Ask any journalist and most politicians.
Gun control is not about preventing mass murder. It is about a culture war by the elites against the people who grow their food, fix their cars and plumbing, babysit their children, and mow their lawns.
Clayton E. Cramer teaches history at the College of Western Idaho. His ninth book, Lock, Stock, and Barrel was published earlier this year. Click Here to buy a copy on Amazon.