After major television and online news outlets referred to an attack on a mall in Columbia, MD as a “mass shooting,” the U.S. government decided to increase the criteria for such an attack to a minimum toll of 50 dead and 100 wounded persons.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which previously defined a mass shooting as the murder of at least four people, believes that the high frequency of public shootings in recent months warrants a revision to those parameters. “In 2013 alone, there were 365 recorded incidents of armed gunmen opening fire on a crowd of people,” FBI Director James Homey said in a Wednesday press conference. “According to the new guidelines, nothing short of a full-blown massacre will be officially considered a ‘mass shooting.’”
“Times are changing,” Homey added, “and the government’s policies should reflect that.”
The revision applies not only to future shootings, but retroactively redefines previous attacks that fell under the original rubric for a mass shooting. For instance, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, which claimed the lives of 20 first graders and seven faculty members, will now be considered a “minor firearms incident,” as will the 2013 Navy Yard shooting in Washington and the 2012 attack on a movie theater in Aurora, CO.
Initial public response to the revisions has been generally positive. “I think it’s a really great step forward that gives the nation a more modern perspective on senseless, public violence,” long-time Daily Nexus reader Barbara Stanton said. “Just the other day, I was watching ‘Bowling for Columbine,’ and during the scene where they show the surveillance tapes of the Columbine massacre, I was sitting there thinking ‘that’s not that big of a deal.’”
The nation’s serial killers have voiced their vehement opposition to the updated criteria, arguing that such a high kill quota makes it difficult for the average unhinged murderer to achieve even a modicum of infamy. “Back in the golden days, you only had to publicly silence maybe five or six people to get a week long cycle of in-depth media analysis and your own Wikipedia page,” now petty murderer Eric “Trigger Finger” Toole said from his cell in Riker’s Island. “Now, if you want to ‘show them all,’ you really have to show them all.”
Toole’s cellmate, fellow murderer Kendall Devereaux-Manstones, sees the change in policy as an opportunity for those in the murder business to step up their game. “These days, any amateur with a semi-automatic rifle can barge into an office building, shoot a couple of people and get his 15 minutes,” Devereaux-Manstones said. “I think the government is doing us a big favor by challenging us to dream bigger.”
“My response?” Devereaux-Manstones added. “Challenge accepted.”
Mathew Javidi is the founder and editor-in-chief of Gaucho Marks Magazine. For more UCSB humor/satire, visit www.gauchomarks.com.