In this episode of CBS’s SWAT (S4 E9 Feb 17, 2021), the team is morning the death of one of their members from an “armor piercing round” fired by a white supremacist. They also discover that the white supremacists are in training for another mass public shooting. Of course, the white supremacists are training with machine guns.
The show really goes all out to make it seem as if the country is being overrun with white supremacists intent on committing a massive number of hate crimes. The show links the white supremacists to both Christianity and to those who honor the American flag.
Our updated research shows that such shows are incredibly misleading on many fronts. Only a few percent of mass public shootings are done by white supremacists, and some of those white supremacists are extreme environmentalists so that hardly fits the “right-wing” image. Indeed, the vast majority of these murderers have no known political affiliation (72%). While whites males are the majority of the attackers, they are underrepresented compared to their share of the population.
As the Crime Prevention Research Center has often pointed out, television crime shows seem to think criminals constantly use machine guns to shoot people. Despite claims frequently made in the news media, none of the mass public shootings have involved machine guns.