Ever since Parkland, we’re told over and over and over that school shootings are a deeply troubling problem that needs to be addressed. We’ve been led to believe that it’s a massive problem that’s only growing. But, are our kids really at risk the moment they go to school?
Well, one report claims that they’re not, and since this is from left-leaning NPR, perhaps anti-gunners won’t dismiss it so easily.
The Parkland shooting last month has energized student activists, who are angry and frustrated over gun violence. But it’s also contributed to the impression that school shootings are a growing epidemic in America.
In truth, they’re not.
“Schools are safer today than they had been in previous decades,” says James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University who has studied the phenomenon of mass murder since the 1980s.
Fox and doctoral student Emma Fridel crunched the numbers, and the results should come as a relief to parents.
First, while multiple-victim shootings in general are on the rise, that’s not the case in schools. There’s an average of about one a year — in a country with more than 100,000 schools.
“There were more back in the ’90s than in recent years,” says Fox. “For example, in one school year — 1997-98 — there were four multiple-victim shootings in schools.”
Second, the overall number of gunshot victims at schools is also down. According to Fox’s numbers, back in the 1992-93 school year, about 0.55 students per million were shot and killed; in 2014-15, that rate was closer to 0.15 per million.
In other words, school shootings aren’t a growing problem.
However, that’s not to say we shouldn’t take a look at how we can better protect our kids. After all, my concern is the same as it’s always been. They’re soft targets with, at most, one or two school resource officers there to protect the kids but are otherwise undefended. Take out the SRO, and you’ve got open season on school kids.
We should take steps to prevent that.
But that doesn’t mean stripping ordinary, everyday Americans of their Second Amendment rights because some maniac might do something. That’s the wrong approach.
Instead, the approach should involve making schools less tempting targets for these killers. We’ll never get rid of potential mass murderers, but we can make our children less tempting targets for them. Potentially armed teachers, for example, would do that very, very well.
Yet if we do nothing, it seems our children are still pretty safe, as NPR notes. And that makes sense. Most of these shootings are perpetrated by kids who attend that school, and contrary to what the anti-gunners like to think, kids generally don’t have ready access to firearms. It makes school shootings more difficult.
Past years–particularly in the 1990s–taught parents how important it was to keep your weapons secure. During that time, plenty of kids snatched Dad’s handgun and went on a rampage at their school. As a result, parents started locking up their guns. They didn’t need laws to tell them to do it, they just did. While they knew their son or daughter was a good kid, they worried some friend might grab a pistol. Whatever they needed to tell themselves, they still took steps.
And it seems to have paid off.
But that won’t stop the anti-gun zealots from trying to use it to take away our sacred right to keep and bear arms.