Last week, a group of Wisconsin students walked out of school in protest against school shootings. Now, no one actually supports school shootings except for, you know, school shooters. Everyone else tends to agree that they’re horrific and that even one such shooting is too many. We all want to address the issue and put an end to them forever.
Not that such a thing is particularly realistic, of course, but it’s a worthy goal nonetheless.
However, the student walkout wasn’t really about the violence.
High school students in Wisconsin walked out of class Friday, to take a stand against gun violence.
At a young age these students are taking on one of the most debated issues across the country as they organized the demonstration.
“We don’t want to be next,” student Michael Orlowski told WITI.
Orlowski and other students of Wauwatosa West High School organized the walk out, followed by a rally and march.
Both of Orlowski’s parents are supporting his efforts.
“This isn’t to take guns out of people’s hands that are using them and acquiring them correctly,” said his dad, Jay.
“I don’t know why anyone would be against protecting our children and our future is unfathomable to me,” his mom, Erin, said.
No one is. The problem is that the solutions being pushed don’t actually protect our children or our future. They hurt law-abiding citizens and create the illusion of safety rather than addressing the root causes.
Now, I said this wasn’t really about violence, and it’s not, though I don’t think Orlowski understands it.
You see, this is more about fear than violence. It’s about how the media beats the drum of gun control by selling the American people the myth that you’re somehow not likely to see your children come home someday. Nothing is further from the truth.
There are almost 133,000 schools in the United States covering grades K-12. There are another 5,300 colleges and universities in the nation. Out of all of those schools, there were two shootings recently.
Now, as I noted previously, those are two too many, but let’s also be realistic here. Those two are statistical anomalies rather than an indicator of some epidemic that requires everyone to give up their Second Amendment rights to make a few other people feel a bit better.
However, those shootings get a lot of press. The media jumps all over them and makes a big thing about them. We soon learn everything there is to know about the killers and their families, how they got their gun, what kind of gun it was, the community where the shooting took place, everything. We get inundated with information to such a degree that we feel a closer connection to what happened.
Yet there’s an inverse ratio to the frequency of something occurring and how much coverage it gets in the media. You see, when something gets that kind of media attention, it’s a signal that such an event is exceedingly rare. It’s not an everyday thing because if it were, there wouldn’t be enough resources to cover them.
Don’t believe me? Look at the coverage of homicides in high-crime areas like Chicago or Baltimore. They typically cover the homicides, sure, but there’s no in-depth reporting on the families, the neighborhood, or anything else. Look in your local paper and see how much attention is given to burglaries or car thefts.
That’s because these aren’t really shocking news events. While Chicago homicides will remain news in the Windy City, there’s too many to delve into the background surrounding these shootings. They’re not particularly rare, after all.
School shootings, and mass shootings in general, are though. They’re very rare. You’re more likely to be struck by lightning than to lose your life in a mass shooting.
These kids are walking out not because they’re at risk of being killed, but because the media has convinced them they’re at risk of being killed. They’re far more likely to die in a car accident, yet are they staging walkouts to push for safer driving by their peers? No, because they’re not afraid of that. They’re not afraid of anything except what the media has conditioned them to be afraid of.
That’s where the real problem is.