Friendly Reminder: School Shootings Are Still Rare. More Kids Are Killed Walking To School

Posted: Feb 22, 2018 7:30 PM
Friendly Reminder: School Shootings Are Still Rare. More Kids Are Killed Walking To School

If you were to totally buy into the drivel peddled by the anti-gun Left, you’d think America was at war with itself. You’d think our schools were shooting galleries. You’d think this is the new normal. It’s not. In fact, it’s far from it. Everytown, a Michael Bloomberg anti-gun group, says there have been 290 school shootings since Newtown in 2013. That’s a total lie. Some shootings occurred near school property, but when classes were not in session. In one instance, a BB gun broke a school bus window. No one was hurt, but it was still classified as a school shooting (via Free Beacon):

Everytown for Gun Safety uses its own definition based on what it said is "expert advice and common sense," which the gun-control group claims is "straightforward, fair, and comprehensive." The group said it counts "any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds."

This broad definition places two separate suicides, a January 9 incident where a man shot a BB gun at a bus window resulting in no injuries; a January 10 incident where a student in a criminal justice club accidentally shot a peace officer's real gun at a target on a classroom wall instead of a training gun resulting in no injuries; a January 9 incident where gun shots were fired from somewhere outside of Cal State San Bernardino, which struck a building on campus without injuries; and other incidents next to the murder of a Winston-Salem State University student at a nightclub on the Wake Forest University campus, the January 22 shooting of a 15-year-old at a Dallas-area high school, and Tuesday's Marshall County High School shooting which left 2 dead and 18 others injured.

Now, James Allan Fox, the Lipman Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University, clarified the data in USA Today. In short, school shootings are still rare—and the anti-gun Left keeps bloating the data to paint a picture of pure chaos to feed their narratives [emphasis mine]:

For all those who believe that schools are under siege like never before, it is instructive to take a statistical road trip back in time

Since 1990, there have been 22 shootings at elementary and secondary schools in which two or more people were killed, not counting those perpetrators who committed suicide.

Whereas five of these incidents have occurred over the past five-plus years since 2013, claiming the lives of 27 victims (17 at Parkland), the latter half of the 1990s witnessed seven multiple-fatality shootings with a total of 33 killed (13 at Columbine). 


Of course, I don’t mean to minimize any of the one-per week on average school shootings, but they should not be conflated with the most deadly but rare events.

Unfortunately, most readers and viewers don’t appreciate the distinction when statistics including non-fatal school shootings are cited whenever there is mass killing at a school.

Notwithstanding the occasional multiple-fatality shooting that takes place at one of the 100,000 public schools across America, the nation’s schools are safe. Over the past quarter-century, on average about 10 students are slain in school shootings annually

Compare the school fatality rate with the more than 100 school-age children accidentally killed each year riding their bikes or walking to school. Congress might be too timid to pass gun legislation to protect children, but how about a national bicycle helmet law for minors? Half of the states do not require them. There is no NRA — National Riding Association — opposing that.

There you have it. Yes, tragic still, but not nearly in line with the narrative that there’s endless carnage every week because of the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment. If we can’t get past this shoddy data sharing that’s exacerbated by left wingers simply not caring that their numbers have been proven wrong time and again, then the gun wars will continue. Oh, and that 18 school shootings since the start of 2018—that’s also total trash. Even The Washington Post called that one out.  Even FiveThirtyEight noted that trying to reduce gun violence by only looking at mass shooting is a fool’s errand:

From that reporting, and other sources, we know mass shootings are different from other kinds of gun deaths in several ways.

First, they’re rare, and the people doing the shooting are different.


…policies aimed at reducing gun deaths will likely need to be targeted at the specific people who commit or are victimized by those incidents. And mass shootings just aren’t a good proxy for the diversity of gun violence. Policies that reduce the number of homicides among young black men — such asprograms that build trust between community members, police and at-risk youthand offer people a way out of crime — probably won’t have the same effect on suicides among elderly white men.Background checksand laws aimed at preventing a young white man with a history of domestic violencefrom obtaining a gunand using it in a mass shooting might not prevent a similar shooting by an older white male with no criminal record.

If we focus on mass shootings as a means of understanding how to reduce the number of people killed by guns in this country, we’re likely to implement laws that don’t do what we want them to do — and miss opportunities to make changes that really work. Gun violence isn’t one problem, it’s many. And it probably won’t have a single solution, either.

Similarly, a former data cruncher for FiveThirtyEight said she supported most of the initiatives peddled by the anti-gun Left, but that “crumbled” when she looked at the data. It’s not just passing a so-called assault weapons ban, or even enacting Australian-style gun control. 

…[M]y colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.


I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions. Potential suicide victims, women menaced by their abusive partners and kids swept up in street vendettas are all in danger from guns, but they each require different protections.

Older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts.

This is going to take time, but that’s something unpalatable to anti-gunners—that and actually having a solution because nothing will be acceptable to them without that aura of confiscation.