ABC News Focuses On Panic Over School Shootings, Not Reality

AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

School shootings are awful events. I speak for pretty much everyone who isn’t insane when I say we don’t want to see another one happen. However, we don’t really get a say on that. Those who would commit such an atrocity get a vote, unfortunately.

When they carry out such an attack, every parent thinks just a bit about how they would deal with it if it was their child’s school. I sure have and I know I’m not alone.

With ABC News looking at “gun violence” in America as part of a series, we had to know they would take a look at this subject. However, instead of reporting reality, they reported on the panic.

A generation of K-12 students have grown up in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting preparing for the possibility of a shooting at their school, even if they don’t know it.

In a kindergarten classroom in New Jersey, 6-year-old Liam and his classmates practiced a drill they have yet to learn the significance of, an active shooter lockdown drill. They were told the intruder was an animal. He recalled to his mom Tara Gimbel, an ABC News producer, “We had to go down and hide under our desks and we pretended there was a bear.”

Hannah Jack, who’s 19, calls this the new normal. “That was life at that point it didn’t even dawn on me that it would be any different.”

Jack was in 5th grade in Watertown, Connecticut, when the Sandy Hook shooting happened. “I could see the pain in their face and how scared they were when the alarms went off and it scared me too, you know?”

Cox says the ripple effect of gun violence is far-reaching and long-lasting. “The reality of America, is that gun violence, there’s 400 million-plus guns in this country. Gun violence can affect a family or a child’s life at any time, regardless of the community that they’re in,” he said.

Cox points to other countries whose gun-fatalities numbers are far lower than ours. “There is no evidence that Americans are more evil than people in Australia or England or Canada or anywhere else,” he said. “The difference is anybody who wants to get a gun in this country at this moment, it’s not that hard.”

However, Cox and everyone else ABC News spoke with failed to mention one important thing: Schools shootings are still statistically rare.

On the average school day–assuming kids are attending class normally, that is–tens of millions of school kids go to school and come home without incident, not even seeing a gun unless it’s in the holster of a school resource officer.

The odds of anyone being in a mass shooting is 1 in 11,125. The odds for a school shooting, in particular, are even higher.

For some reference, the odds of an unlikely event like choking to death on food is 1 in 3,461.

Yet where was anything alluding to that fact? Instead, they treat the fear of this as completely rational, yet downplay the fear of dying in a car accident as irrational (a 1 in 108 chance).

While it’s fine to want to try and reduce school shootings, let’s not get carried away with the fear. That’s what’s happening in our schools, and yet we get ABC news failing to look at that critically at all.

Par for the course with the media, though.

Sep 22, 2021 6:30 PM ET