Florida School Shooting: No, It Was Not The 18th School Shooting This Year — Not Even Close

Feb 20, 2018 by

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The latest mass shooting, which claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, was a horrible tragedy. But that’s no excuse for the flurry of stories parroting a gun control advocacy group’s false claims about school shootings.

In the immediate wake of the shooting, headlines starting appearing at major news sites:

  • “There have already been 18 school shootings in the US this year” — ABC News
  • “18 school shootings in 45 days — Florida massacre is one of many tragedies in 2018″—CNBC
  • “18 school shootings in US in 2018″— AFP
  • “U.S. averages a school shooting every 2.5 days in 2018” — Politico
  • “We’re Averaging One School Shooting Every 60 Hours In 2018” — Huffington Post

When not in the headline, this claim shows up in just about every story about the Florida shooting.

So, it must be true, right? Why else would every news outlet be reporting this?

It’s not true.

That number comes from a gun control advocacy group — Everytown for Gun Safety — which arrived at 18 only by shoving everything it possibly could into the category of “school shooting.”

The simplest check of its list shows how misleading the group is being.

One of the “school shootings” on the list, for example, involved a Greyson College, Tex., student who accidentally discharged a weapon at the school’s Criminal Justice Center during a class supervised by a police officer on how to use handguns.

Another on the list involved a third grader who accidentally pulled the trigger of a police officer’s holstered weapon.

Two were suicides that happened to take place on school grounds. One of them was a 31-year-old man who shot himself while parked in his car, which happened to be on a school lot— at a school that had been closed for seven months. Another was a student who shot himself in the head in the school’s bathroom.

Three “school shootings” involved fights that broke out between either adults or students in school parking lots — one of them at a college in North Carolina — in which one of the people arguing pulled a gun on the other.

Another student was shot by a robber, during a robbery that happened to take place in a school parking lot.

One involved a gun that a 12-year-old brought to school, which accidentally went off inside her backpack.

In fact, of the 18 “school shootings,” only five occurred during school hours, and only four — including the latest — are what most people would consider a school shooting; in which someone brings a gun to school with the intent of shooting students.

Of those three previous shootings, only one resulted in deaths, when a 15-year-old boy armed with a handgun opened fire inside a Kentucky high school and killed two fellow students while injuring 14 others. The two others resulted in two injuries.

This is by no means meant to downplay the seriousness of this issue. These are all terrible tragedies, and parents have the right to expect that their children are safe at school.

But it’s clear that by lumping all these together under one misleading headline, Everytown for Gun Safety wanted to make this problem sound far more ominous and far more frequent than it actually is.

In other words, the gun control advocacy group was trying to unduly scare people. And the press, most of whom enthusiastically embrace gun control, simply went along with the deception.

(These journalists, by the way, have no excuse for taking this group’s data at its word. The Washington Post fact checker blasted it two years ago for using shoddy methods to inflate the number of school shootings. And when it reviewed the current list, it came to the same conclusion we did. The Daily Wire also did what other most journalists haven’t and looked at the list.)

It’s not uncommon for gun control advocates to distort or hide facts, or point the finger of blame at Republicans, or the NRA, or the lack of certain gun control measures (that wouldn’t have prevented the shootings if they had been on the books).

But in the most recent shooting, this play on gun-control emotions is particularly troublesome because it takes the spotlight off of what is really worrisome.

In this case, the shooter was well known to the school, known to the FBI, and known to many others as a deranged person with a serious violent streak.

So why isn’t the focus of the public debate on what went wrong? Why didn’t law enforcement intervene? Or the local education system? How did the school let the shooter get back into the building after he’d been expelled from that same school for violent behavior? Why wasn’t the armed security guard on the scene sooner?

More broadly, there’s the question of whether a lack of resources, or legal impediments, or inadequate parental involvement needlessly hamper our ability to identify such people and defuse their hatred or treat their mental illness before they go on a murderous rampage.

Pushing for one more piece of pointless gun control legislation, on top of the 270 federal laws already on the books, while misleading the public about the scope of the problem or what solutions will actually work, does no one any good.

You might also find this of interest …

Facts, Not Emotions, Are Needed In Gun Debate — Here Are 3

IBD’s Complete Coverage Of The Gun Control Debate

Source: Florida School Shooting: No, It Was Not The 18th School Shooting This Year — Not Even Close | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis – IBD

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