Anytime you see a “gun violence researcher” taking part in anti-gun rallies it’s a pretty good indicator that they’re not exactly a fan of unbiased research. After all, if they’re interested in gun control at all, history has shown how studies will be skewed to push the anti-gun position.
Now, that anti-gun research is about to be at the fingertips of every American, particularly students.
Daniel Webster has been studying gun violence for three decades. He’s read about more mass shootings than he can count. He’s watched homicide rates surge and fall and surge again.
After all those years immersed in the issue, Webster said he’s never witnessed anything like he did March 24, when he joined hundreds of thousands of people — many of them teenagers — who converged on Washington to honor those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre and call for tighter gun control.
“This is a really unique time and a unique coalescence of committed people,” Webster said. “You can tell we’re not going to do this for a year and then move on to other things. I believe the March for Our Lives movement is really setting a course that will be felt for many years.
“Being an educator,” he said, “I wanted to play a role in helping to facilitate that.”
In the months since, Webster and his colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research have worked to craft an Internet-based class aimed at providing high school and college students access to gun violence research and training on how to interpret it.
They are developing a massive open online course — a freely available online class, designed to accommodate as many people as possible and known as an MOOC — that will help students understand legal issues and use data to inform policy debates about gun violence. The class will launch in 2019 and be offered at least twice a year.
Now, Johns Hopkins is a private institution, so it can waste money on whatever it wants.
However, let’s also be realistic and recognize that a number of teachers throughout this country are likely to have their students go through this nonsense as part of their curriculum if at all humanly possible. That means they’ll be facing indoctrination in anti-gun pseudoscience masquerading as unbiased research.
That’s a problem.
Frankly, it would be a good idea for pro-gun organizations to work to counter this by studying this course and issuing refutations where applicable. My guess is that there will be plenty to refute.
Additionally, we need to be on the lookout for schools that decide to make this part of the educational experience. If students are being indoctrinated, we need to know about it. We need to know it, we need to expose it, and we need to make it so that if the subjects of guns come up within schools, we see unbiased information presented without commentary or opinion.
Fat chance of that happening, but that doesn’t mean we should let the anti-gunners get away with their indoctrination efforts.
We fight because it’s too costly not to, and this is setting itself up to be a prime example.