Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, likely to be representing New York’s 14th Congressional District in January, wasted no time using a mass shooting in Annapolis, Maryland, to enter the national gun debate.
The 28-year-old socialist who defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley in Tuesday’s Democratic primary told Twitter followers that a shooting at the Capital Gazette was the “195th mass shooting” of 2018.
“Horrifying. This is our nation’s 195th mass shooting — this year,” said the rising political star, who will be heavily favored in November’s general election in the overwhelmingly Democratic New York district.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s claim drew jeers for using statistics from Mass Shooting Tracker, a website used by CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and others.
“We define a mass shooting to be an incident of violence in which 4 or more people are shot,” the website says. “We do not consider the motive of the shooter, or whether he or she shot up a school, workplace or street corner. Our mission is to record all incidents of mass gun violence.”
Critics took issue, for example, with the idea that deadly gang violence should be lumped into statistics generally equated with unprovoked attacks on law-abiding citizens, as happened in Annapolis.
“Shooting people is not OK in any sense, but over-exaggerating information to get the belief of needing more gun laws is despicable,” responded one reader.
“If you actually look at what they count as mass shootings, almost none would be what most people would think of a mass shooting,” added another.
A CBS affiliate in Arizona highlighted the difficultly with reporting on mass shootings on June 18 when it noted the following: “The F.B.I. defines a ‘mass killing’ as the killing of three or more people in a public place, but the federal agency also defines a ‘mass murderer’ as someone who has killed four or more people in the same location.”
Thursday’s shooting at the Capital Gazette, which is owned by the Baltimore Sun, killed five and wounded several others.
Police apprehended a suspect at the scene.
“There are several people who have died from this incident and several others who are injured,” Annapolis County Executive Steve Schuh said at a press conference.