This is one of those oddball quotes that the President gave in Paris in the last day or two, and it got picked up several journalists (or they were prep'ed by someone to utter the phrase and run for the mileage with it). It's a curious statement and bears some pondering and thought.
A mass shooting is defined by four people attacked and killed by someone. Now, I should note....it's not a clear definition because if the shooter kills himself.....he would count as number four if he'd shoot the other three. But facts are facts.
So, let's start with the general word that fits. If you talk around Europe.....they generally like to use the word "rampage", which is defined as someone who is showing reckless, uncontrolled, or destructive behavior. In other words.....they aren't right in the head or mind.
Now, I realize that the American news media hates that definition because obviously the guy must have know what he was doing.....but if you were to do mental tests or drug tests on every single mass killer of the past twenty years in the US.....the guys involved (oddly, it's always guys) were either mentally unfit (crazy) or drugged to the extent that they could not control themselves or emotions. I'll stand to be corrected if anyone can show a case which doesn't fit profile A or profile B, unless it a murder for hire (the Alps execution of an entire family from a coupe of years was an execution, and the killer has never been identified).
The IRA murders don't count toward this issue because almost all were under the defined number of four deaths from a single episode.....yet over 1,700 people were killed....one by one....during the thirty-odd years of the 'war'.
In Germany since 2000, there's been two mass shootings...both of which revolved a school.
In France since 1995, there's been five noted mass shootings....two in just this year.
Why the lesser numbers? I would point out three significant factors.
First, people with destructive or raging behavior in Germany.....tend to get locked up. A relative or a judge will into the middle of things and exercise social responsibility. Psychological counselors and doctors have more of an opinion that risk needs to be measured and assessed. Just handing drugs out and hoping that the drugs will keep person sedated to a degree.....well....it doesn't sell well.
The German authorities will admit that they have very special places for people who don't fit into society or possible are a threat to society. They even have a special law which can be applied in type of case....where your normal sentences has run it's course, and they decide that you are very special....and can never leave a secure facility. Your rights? You lost them once you showed violent rage tendencies.
Second, while anyone can apply for a weapon....once you look at the review process, there's paperwork involved and you will have to have a doctor say you are physically and mentally fit for the use of such a weapon. Once the doctor notes your background and possible drug or mental issues.....the doctor is on the hook. He can't commit fraud against the law unless he desires jail. So your paperwork does't get signed and you don't advance to the next step.
Third, drug usage in comparison to the US urban situation....is probably ten-percent or less. You can take an urban area like Frankfurt and compare against Baltimore.....similar in population....and find that for 2015....Baltimore had roughly 370-odd murders and I believe at the current pace....Frankfurt won't go past 20.
Even in my own neck of the woods within Wiesbaden....a city of 280,000....I doubt if the city will go past five for the year. Drug usage round Wiesbaden? Mostly Ecstasy and marijuana.....with LSD and heroin around major urban centers like Frankfurt. Meth has just started to appear in the last five years.
If you drug-tested every single guy accused of a single murder (not the mass murder types but just one single death involved).....I think the US average would involve well over ninety-percent with something in their system. Go out into the middle of Iowa and look for murder-shootings in general.....then compare against an urbanized area like DC-Philly-Baltimore. Drugs make a ton of difference in a society.
So, the President can talk on this topic all he likes....but its just not the same case. If I could clean out the drug craze in Baltimore and put the deranged folks into a secure facility for their own sake.....I could cut the 2015 murder rate of 370-plus down to twenty people. But the question....would the public want that type of enthusiasm? I kinda doubt it.