Greta Van Susteren is one of a few voices on Fox News who comes across as somewhat close to sane. But in a commentary about the Oregon shooting, she made a suggestion that may not have been exactly what she was intending.
On the October 6 edition of her show, Greta, Van Susteren asks her audience if they remember “if you see something, say something?” She goes on to say that if you have the “courage to risk being politically incorrect,” you could save lives. She thinks that profiling is a good idea, and that if what you report turns out to be incorrect, then an apology can be issued later.
In fairness, Van Susteren does direct a portion of her commentary to the families and friends of people like Oregon shooter Chris Harper-Mercer, calling for them to pay attention to things like an unusual interest in guns. But members of the public who see those people on the street will have no clue about what they might be doing in private. That’s ok, Greta says, the profile for a mass killer always includes someone “acting weird.”
It may not have crossed Van Susteren’s mind when she wrote her commentary. And it probably didn’t register on the Fox News audience, who will now be on the streets looking for swarthy complexioned ne’er-d0-wells. But by calling for citizens to report people who fit the profile of a mass murderer, she is calling for them to profile white males.
Mother Jones keeps a database of mass shootings, which they define as incidents where four or more victims are killed. Why four or more victims? That comes from the baseline defined by the FBI in the early 2000’s.
According to the data compiled by Mother Jones, here is the profile of a mass killer:
- The average age of a mass shooter is 35.
- A majority were mentally ill. Some, but not all showed signs of their illness before they committed their crime.
- Most obtained their weapons legally, and a large percentage of those weapons were so-called “assault” weapons.
- Out of 72 mass shootings in the Mother Jones database, 44 of the killers were white males. Only one was a woman. 36 percent of the American population is composed of white males. Considering that that number takes into account white male children, the percentage of adult white males is somewhat lower. Yet, white males account for 61 percent of mass shootings in the U.S. in recent years. So the person who “fits the profile” of a mass killer is a 30-something white male.
Watch out for those white guys. They’re always up to no good!
Here are Van Susteren’s comments, via Fox News:
Featured image via Fox News screen capture