Quick: what do you picture when you hear the phrase, “school shooting?”
If you’re like most people, you get the terrifying image of a deranged gunman bursting into a classroom and opening fire on hapless children at their desks who have little chance to escape.
Guess what? That doesn’t seem to happen anymore.
Police officer and noted firearms instructor Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training (pictured below) crunched the numbers on 71 reported “school shootings” reported from 2013-2016. When he factored out those that occurred on college campuses, individual targeted fights between two individuals, gang activity (including drive-byes after sporting events), he was left with a grand total of seven “active shooter” incidents where one gunman shot multiple students on a school campus in the past three years.
As Ellifritz notes, seven on-campus active shooting incidents in a nation of 320+ million souls over three years is a remarkably low number. I guess that’s why Everytown had to lie with such reckless abandon when they fabricated their school shooting report, which we audited and destroyed.
Now, let’s look at what he found in those seven incidents.
- An Oregon school shooting happened when students were walking to their first period class (before school).
- A New Mexico school shooting happened before school as well.
- The after-school shooting happened in Wisconsin. A student set up with a rifle in the school parking lot and shot students leaving the high school prom.
- An eighth grader shot students during a school lunch period.
- A 15-year old shot five students during a school lunch period.
- A South Carolina teen targeted elementary school children playing on a playground during recess.
- A Student fired five shots during a scheduled high school fire drill.
What can we learn from these shootings?
The most obvious fact is that NONE of the shootings took place in a classroom during school hours! Some of the attacks happened outside of school hours. Of the attacks that occurred during the school day, ALL happened in locations other than classrooms. Two shootings happened during school lunch periods. One was during a fire drill. The other happened during an elementary school recess.
I think that tells us that school security measures are working. Kids know that they will be caught if they carry guns into the school, especially into the classroom. They depend on the natural chaos that occurs during lunch periods or fire drills to mask their intentions to kill other students.
The problem is that schools are preparing for the last threat. They are training to lock down classrooms in response to a school shooting. But the classrooms aren’t where the shooters are operating! Schools need to take the next step to secure their “public” areas (like lunch rooms) and train to respond to attacks either before or after school hours.
I think Ellifritz’s analysis is spot-on. Please read it in full.
Just as generals always prepare to fight the last war, it appears that the vast majority of school safety plans are geared towards combatting the last perceived major incident, something like the December, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of children in their classrooms.
NONE of the seven active shooter incidents on elementary and high school campuses since Sandy Hook fit that profile.
As parents and school safety advocates, we need to push our school districts to put plans in place for the more common emerging threats, which incidents that occur in large common areas such as cafeterias and libraries. We also need to have administrators develop plans and action drills so that faculty, staff, and students know what to do when an incident happens before and after school.
Our kids are our most important asset. Let’s make sure we’re doing everything we can to have adequate plans in place to protect them.