Public mass shootings are statistically very rare. Northeastern University Professor of Criminology James Alan Fox published an op-ed in USA Today (archived links) recently, which I’ve covered here before. To summarize, according to the CDC, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are less than one in a million. In comparison, per Prof. Fox, the risk of a student or staff member being killed at school has a 1-in-8 million risk. There were some insights that stood out to me in the op-ed, and they’re worth revisiting:
The real epidemic is fear. Perhaps a better understanding of the data will provide some needed perspective on the actual risk.
Our nation’s schools are safe. In fact, only one-half of 1% of school-age victims of gun homicide are killed at school. Children are safer in school, where they have supervision and structure, than on playgrounds, ball fields and street corners. Indeed, some are safer at school than in their own home.
Fear is a valuable political resource to harness into action. There’s a great quote by H. L. Mencken which says it well:
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”
Gun control groups know this intuitively. Like in the movie Monsters, Inc., they power their enterprise by scaring the public and then harvesting their fear. Every school lockdown and active shooter drill works to their advantage. They pounce on every incident they can exploit, while ignoring obvious counterexamples. Today, they got another opportunity at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (archived links).
Victim killed in UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus shooting identified as Zijie Yan
The university’s students, faculty and staff were alerted to go inside and lock all doors.
Sources have indicated that an associate professor Zijie Yan has lost their life in the shooting incident.
[***], a UNC doctoral student, was taken into custody.
Earlier today, at 1:02 p.m., UNC Police received reports of gunfire within Caudill Laboratories on our campus.
By around 2:30 p.m., the authorities successfully apprehended the suspect, who is now under custody.
[***] was captured near Williams Circle, located approximately two miles north of the campus, at approximately 2:40 p.m. Law enforcement officers surrounded him, and he was seen sitting on a road in front of a driveway while in handcuffs. He was later escorted to a waiting patrol car.
A notification of an “all clear” for the campus was issued at approximately 4:15 p.m., indicating that there is no longer a pressing danger.
Public mass shootings seem to happen in clusters, with the news of one somehow seeming to precipitate the next in a media-driven contagion. After last weekend’s horrific racist attack in Jacksonville, there was a scare today at UNC Chapel Hill. As the initial fog lifts, it seems that this was not a public mass shooting, attempted or otherwise; this looks like a graduate student killing his Ph.D. advisor for some reason.
But gun grabbers never let any gun-related incident go to waste. Here’s former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ namesake organization basking in the fear her side has stoked and harnessing that for political power:
More kids hovered in corners. More kids traumatized by gun violence.
It’s the first day of school for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, and all of their elementary, middle, and high schools are under lockdown due to the threat at UNC Chapel Hill.
We are failing our children. https://t.co/M7lifYgrMz
— GIFFORDS (@GIFFORDS_org) August 28, 2023
Thanks to your scare tactics, “half of all young people report thinking about a mass shooting each week.”
My heart aches for students at UNC Chapel Hill and the nearby schools that were in lockdown.
This generation lives with the threat of gun violence every day. Half of all young people report thinking about a mass shooting each week.
We cannot continue like this. We need change. https://t.co/puzHHXJmVx
— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) August 28, 2023
All you care about is how to use the victims and those you scared as vehicles for your disarmament agenda:
If you don’t want your kids to be continually traumatized by active shooting situations then I encourage you to donate & vote for only candidates who will actually #HonorWithAction to stop these shootings. Too many politicians talk the talk about being “gun safety champions” but… https://t.co/MmWqCNGC3V
— Po Murray🟧 (@po_murray) August 29, 2023
This is back to school in America.
Run, hide, fight.
Jump out of windows.
Barricade behind doors in classrooms, dorms and bathrooms.
Duck and cover.
Hide under desks.
Text your parents goodbye. pic.twitter.com/nczpy3PLoY
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) August 28, 2023
Note that NONE of these organizations or activists would have said a single word if the victim had been stabbed to death. There would have been nothing to exploit. We’ve seen that over and over again; in fact, there was a stabbing incident at a North Carolina high school last year which resulted in 1 death. There was not a peep from these groups. If there’s a gun in the mix, these political vultures swoop in to feast and strengthen their agenda.
I’m totally pessimistic about reasoning with gun controllers. They lie repeatedly, play dirty tricks, exploit victims, and even collude with foreign governments like Benedict Arnold. They avoid debate so their fraud isn’t exposed.
It comes down to raw numbers and voting, even though the Bill of Rights is supposed to protect individual rights and put them outside the grasping hands of the majoritarian mob. We must swell our numbers and grow our ranks. The window of opportunity is narrow and may be closing fast but fight we must, lest America – the last best hope of Liberty in the world – self-destructs into tyranny after disarmament.