The focus is on the wrong statistics

James Alan Fox (“Mass shootings vs. mass killings,” Opinion, Aug. 19) misses the real tragedy of gun violence — the nearly 40,000 gun deaths in the United States per year (to say nothing of the nearly 100,000 people injured by guns annually). This daily stream of individual gun deaths across the country averages more than 100 a day. Think of it this way: In less than a year and a half, as many civilians die from gun violence as all of the US service members who died in the Vietnam War.

No other major country in the world has anything close to as many gun deaths per capita as the United States. And these deaths and injuries have a devastating effect on millions of people in the families of the victims. This must stop.


The Globe has done excellent reporting on mass shootings (for example, the recent front-page coverage of the El Paso and Dayton slayings). Sadly, those reports obscure, and distract us from, what is really going on: In those two days, approximately 200 Americans died of gun slayings — unreported nationally — more than six times the number who died in those two widely reported incidents.

I’ve called on the Globe in the past to focus our attention on the real tragedy of gun violence; I do so now, again.

Peter J. Metz


Parsing the data offers no reassurance

James Alan Fox wants us to be reassured by the fact that, although the number of mass shootings in the United States has grown alarmingly, and is unacceptably high, “only 7 percent” are actually mass killings — meaning, at least four victims are killed.

I am not reassured. I am terrified by the prospect of being exposed to a mass shooting, whether or not anyone is killed. Terror and trauma should not be acceptable risks for anyone.


Bobbie Sproat