One of the things I’ve had to learn to do is to look at headlines and recognize when there’s absolutely no context given. It was an important skill to develop, especially when you spend so much of your time talking about guns.
The media is awful about context on the subject of guns. They’ll present a number as if you should be alarmed, all without giving you any information allowing you to determine if you should be alarmed or not for yourself.
Since fall sports returned, there have been over 20 incidents involving guns at youth sporting events in recent weeks, according to tracking by gun control advocate Everytown for Gun Safety.
“These are places where kids should feel safe, empowered,” Shannon Watts, founder of Everytown subsidiary Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told ABC News. “This is just one more way that guns are penetrating our kids’ schools and activities and traumatizing them.”
So, we have 22 incidents over the span of several weeks at “youth sporting events” in this country…which apparently also includes college sports for some reason. I’m not sure sports played by guys old enough to drink in many cases count as youth sports, but whatever they have to do to stretch the numbers. We’ll roll with it.
Now, I’m not going to be defending any of them at the moment because I don’t know if any are defensible. Right now, they’re just numbers, and that’s all I’m going to talk about right now.
But the numbers are important.
We have 22 incidents. That sounds scary, especially if you have a kid who participates in sports.
But that’s 22 incidents out of how many events?
There are 3,006 counties in the United States. If we only allow a single sporting event in each county per week for all age categories over three weeks, that means there were 22 incidents out of 9,018 events. It doesn’t sound like there is really that big of a problem.
However, we all know that my assumptions for the above are wrong. First, our time period is too short. We’re looking at five weeks, not three.
Further, there’s no way there’s only one event per county. Even a sparsely populated county is likely to have a least a middle school and high school game per week as well as any youth soccer and football games at the elementary and primary school levels. While some might only have one or two per week, others are likely to have a half dozen or more.
Let’s say the average is actually four per week for each of the 3,006 counties. That’s 12,024 sporting events per week. Over five weeks, that 60,120 events…with guns showing up at 22 of them.
Start to see why context matters?
Admittedly, I pulled these averages out of my posterior, but only because I couldn’t find actual answers for how many games there are. I had to make some assumptions, which I’d have rather not done. Still, it’s not difficult to start to see just how rare something like this actually is.
Groups like Everytown and people like Shannon Watts don’t want you to have the context. They don’t want you to see these as rare events that aren’t really as prevalent as they claim. They want you afraid. They want you so scared to take little Timmy to his soccer game that you’ll call your legislators and demand gun control
You know, for the children and crap.
Yet if you take a small step back and look for the rest of the picture, you realize that there’s really isn’t a pattern at all.