Monday, December 31, 2012

A year of Walmart Shootings: 2012

(This is a cross-post from the Walmart Shootings blog, HERE.)

(image from Per's Decent Blog)
When I started the Walmart Shootings blog, it was to chronicle what has become a sad fact: the retail giant Walmart, the number one retailer of guns and ammo in the United States, and possibly the world, has a higher rate of shootings and gun crimes on its properties than any other “big box” retailer in the nation.

As I have chronicled on this blog, Walmart had 53 shootings reported in the media in 2012.  That’s more than one a week, on average.  HERE is a listing of those incidents.  Though I didn’t look carefully until recently, I also found 21 other gun crimes where shots weren’t fired.  That’s at least 74 incidents in at least 28 states. 

Crimes and shootings included armed robberies, customers angry at each other, shoplifters (including of assault weapons!), road rage, law enforcement encounters, drug deals gone wrong, and even suicides.  Twice there were accidental shootings, both times by gun owners with legal conceal carry permits.

I found 8 homicides, 25 attempted homicides or aggravated assaults with guns, 2 gang-related incidents, 3 drug-related events, 18 armed robberies, 11 shoplifting incidents, 2 accidents, 10 law-enforcement related incidents, and at least one murder/suicide (some of these categories overlap).  There were also two plots for mass murders at Walmarts.

48 incidents were in the parking lots.  24 were inside the stores.  2 were at Walmart gas stations attached to the parking lots. 

In 2005, a movie was released entitled “Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices.”  You can see on YouTube, embedded below.  For their abysmal record on shootings and assaults, watch timeframe 1:16:11 - 1:25:06.  At timepoint 1:19, note that Walmart did their own internal study and found that 80% of assaults happened in their parking lots.  When they posted a roving guard in the parking lot, incidents dropped to nearly zero.  And yet, Walmart squashed the study and did not change their national policy regarding policing of their parking lots other than additional security cams.  No surprise, then, that here at Walmart Shootings we found that there is nearly twice the rate of incidents in the parking lots than inside stores in 2012.

It leaves you wondering.  Why Walmart?  What is it about Walmart stores that attracts gun crimes?  Is it their lax policy toward guns (they allow conceal carry in all stores, complicit with state gun law, are the number one retailer of guns in America, and even sell assault rifles).  Other retail giants, like Target, Kmart, and Costco almost never have gun crimes occur on their properties, so the issue isn’t just related to number of stores.  Or is it something about the clientele that Walmart sells to?  I don’t have an answer to these questions – seeking the answers is why this blog is here.

In the meantime, as we go into 2013, shop carefully if you go to your local Walmart.  There might be a Walmart Shooting coming to a store near you.

Walmart.  Save money.  Die faster.