One issue that is visceral for almost every American is the subject of school violence. The term itself evokes images ranging from Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech to Santa Clarita and Great Mills High School. It usually involved someone at least trying to conduct a mass shooting. Whether or not they’re successful is neither here nor there. They’re all tragedies.
So, of course, when anti-gunners talk about the violence on schools, that’s what people tend to think of.
Yet in a report about how common such things are, the media kind of debunks itself.
A gun is fired on a school campus in America nearly twice a week. Suicide, homicides, a police shooting, attacks on students by other students: more than once a month this past year, gunfire on American school and university campuses has turned deadly, according to a database of school gunfire incidents compiled by advocates.
That, of course, sounds absolutely awful. However, there’s much more to the story than would be suggested.
You see, these aren’t “school shootings” as we tend to think of things. Oh no. That’s revealed in the very next paragraph.
In the latest in a series of brutal shootings in California, and 11-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy were shot to death in the parking lot of an elementary school in Union City, California, in the early hours of Saturday morning. Police had no immediate motive for the shooting, but said that a suspect or suspects had fired into the van the boys were sitting in multiple times.
So, wait, this was a shooting that took place on a Saturday when there was absolutely no class going on? The only tie to the school is that it happened on school property, in this case a parking lot?
In other words, this is a tragedy that only has the most tenuous relationship to schools at all.
Of course, a look at the database finds even more cases like this. For example, on November 24, at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Florida, the database reports a shooting. That incident was a gunfight between three men that just happened to take place there. It wasn’t a school shooting as most people think of it.
It also includes an unintentional discharge at the University of Georgia back in October as well as one by a security officer at a Long Beach elementary school back in May.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Everytown make this claim, only to find out that they’re using the broadest definition possible as a means of trying to manipulate public sentiment. Once again, they’re trying to make it look like our schools are battlegrounds when many of these incidents are being misrepresented.
Honestly, does a school security guard’s negligent discharge really fall into the same category as Parkland? Not for an instant, and anyone who would try to claim otherwise is likely to be called down for the liar they are. No sensible person really can put them on the same level. Further, while it may be terrifying when it happens, it’s hardly what the average American would consider “violence.”
Everytown is doing nothing more than manipulating the data to create a reaction. The Guardian, the left-leaning publication quoted above that was quick to publish Everytown’s nonsense, had this to say:
Schools are one of the safest places for kids in the United States, and shootings in and around schools represent only a tiny fraction of the violence that children face here on a daily basis. But even the small amount of gun violence that occurs at American schools adds up.
Yet what they failed to note, however, is just how many times that violence is incidental to the school setting. A shooting in a parking lot. A high school football game open to the public. A negligent discharge by a supposedly trained security officer. None of these are what the public thinks of when it reads “two shootings per week” or some similar phrase.
Now, are these shootings indicative of an issue? Oh, absolutely. I wouldn’t dream of claiming otherwise.
But the problem is that we need to be discussing the right issues. To do that, we need unbiased data that clearly defines things in narrow, useful ways. That’s not what Everytown is about, though, now is it?
So no, we don’t have an epidemic of school shootings taking place. We do have problems, to be certain, but Everytown’s database isn’t going to help solve them. It just muddies the waters.