“With respect to Planned Parenthood, obviously, my heart goes out to the families of those impacted. … I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings: This just doesn’t happen in other countries.” –Obama, news conference at COP21 climate conference in Paris, Dec. 1, 2015
“We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.” –Obama, statement on shootings at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Ore., Oct. 1, 2015
“You don’t see murder on this kind of scale, with this kind of frequency, in any other advanced nation on Earth.” –Obama, speech at U.S. Conference of Mayors, June 19, 2015
“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. And it is in our power to do something about it.” –Obama, statement on the shooting in Charleston, S.C., June 18, 2015
“But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close. And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal.” –President Obama, announcing his new executive orders on guns, January 7, 2016
“The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world. And there’s some steps we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don’t happen as frequently.” –President Obama, interview that aired on CBS Evening News, Dec. 2, 2015
“We kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than anyplace else. Well, what’s the difference? The difference is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses.” –President Obama, during Q&A with David Karp, CEO Tumblr, June 10, 2014
Yet, despite the impression that President Obama has been creating, France suffered more casualties (murders and injuries) from mass public shootings in 2015 than the US has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency (Updated 532 to 527 in Tables below). Note that these numbers don’t adjust for the fact that the US has 5 times the population of France. The per capita rate of casualties in France is thus 8.19 per million and for the US it is 1.65 — France’s per capita rate of casualties is thus 4.97 times higher than the rate in the US.
A systematic look at the frequency and deaths from mass public shootings from the US and Europe is available here. The very high rate of attacks in the rest of the world is discussed here. We use the traditional FBI definition of mass public shootings.
UPDATE: The number of people injured in the California attack was raised from 17 to 21, thus increasing the US causality total to 396. The number of people injured in the Paris attacks on November 13th has also been increased from 352 to 368 and the number of people killed by one from 129 to 130 so the total casualties for Paris alone is now 525.
UPDATE: February 4, 2016. If only by excellent police work and some luck, last November Paris was literally just three days away from several more mass public shootings planned for a nursery school, a shopping mall, and a police station.
UPDATE: Of course, there have been many terrorist attacks that have harmed a lot of people that didn’t involve just guns.
July 14, 2016: 86 people were killed and another 434 injured after a truck slammed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice. The attacker here was also shooting people but none of the breakdowns of casualties breaks out deaths from the truck with deaths from being shot.
December 22, 2014: 10 people were seriously injured when a van drove into pedestrians at a Christmas market in Nantes, France, in the western part of the country.
December 21, 2014: 11 people were injured, two seriously, when an Arabic driver yelling “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) drove his car into pedestrians in Dijon, France.
Please click on screenshots to enlarge.
UPDATE: February 22, 2017.
- Tours, France, October 29, 2001: Four people are killed and ten are wounded when a French railway worker opens fire on a busy city intersection.
- Nanterre, France, March 27, 2002: A man kills eight city councilors after a city council meeting.