There have NOT been 11 school shootings so far this year

There have NOT been 11 school shootings so far this year

I knew it wouldn’t take long, I just didn’t know what inflated statistic they would claim this time. Of course I’m referring to Everytown for Gun Safety. After the recent rare occurrence of two school shootings happening within a day of each other, the Italy High shooting and the Marshall County High shooting respectively, the gun control advocacy group came out with the claim that there have been 11 school shootings in the U.S. so far in 2018. To make matters worse, once again, the media has taken this number as gospel and has run with it.

Let’s look at Everytown’s past record. In 2014, they claimed 74 school shootings had happened since Sandy Hook. My estimate puts that number around nine. In the Fall of 2015, they claimed there had been 47 school shootings that year, while by my estimates there had only been one. In late 2016, they claimed there had been 200 school shootings since Sandy Hook. I only counted 17. Last year, they claimed a gun was discharged in a U.S. school at least once a week. At that point, I just threw my hands up in frustration at their hyperbole.

So why such a large discrepancy in numbers? It comes down to what their definition of a school shooting is. In my opinion, school shootings are typically when a student or outsider storms a school, armed with guns, with the express purpose of killing as many victims as possible. Everytown defines them in this way…

The list tracks “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds,” which could include suicides, accidental discharges, and criminal activity, such as gunfire related to an armed robbery.

So basically, any crime committed with a gun that just happens to be somewhat near a school.

So why is Everytown using such inflated statistics? Well, it’s my opinion they’re using exaggerated numbers in order to further their agenda, which of course is the stricter regulation of firearms in the U.S. Now whether you agree with their position or not doesn’t matter. What matters is their loose definition of a school shooting and questionable statistics are making the problem worse. If we believe that 200 school shootings have happened since Sandy Hook then we become further desensitized to the impact of such horrific crimes until they no longer have any impact on us. As the saying goes, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

It’s almost like they’ve become the PETA of gun control.

A gun is NOT discharged in a US school about once a week

A gun is NOT discharged in a US school about once a week

In the wake of last week’s shooting at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California, a gun control advocacy group is once again making hyperbolic claims. Tragically last week, Cedric Anderson shot and killed his estranged wife Karen Smith, and two students, killing one, before killing himself. Now this week, Everytown for Gun Safety has come out with the claim that a gun is discharged in a US school about once a week. This is not surprising as previously they have claimed that there have been 200 school shootings since Sandy Hook. Again, the devil is in the details.

Much like their definition of a school shooting, their definition of ‘school’ itself is quite vague and open to a lot of interpretation.

The list tracks “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds,” which could include suicides, accidental discharges, and criminal activity, such as gunfire related to an armed robbery.

So basically, one could interpret that anytime a gun is discharged within earshot of a school, Everytown considers that gun being fired in a school. Now I have no problem with gun control groups, they have their right to seek gun control as they see fit. What I do have a problem with is the distorting of facts. Everytown would have had a better and more logical argument if they had said a gun is found in a school about once a week. While I’m only going by anecdotal evidence of news articles that I’ve read in my research, that seems way more plausible than their wild claims of guns being fired in schools.

With every one of these wildly unrealistic claims, Everytown for Gun Safety becomes less of an advocacy group and more of a parody of one. In my opinion they’re the PMRC or Jack Thompson of guns. They are so out of touch with the facts that they never really had any credibility to begin with.

There have NOT been 200 school shootings since Sandy Hook

>There have NOT been 200 school shootings since Sandy Hook

I have no problem with gun violence prevention groups, that is unless they try to portray the facts wrongly. That’s what I think Everytown for Gun Safety is doing once again. Previously in June of 2014, they claimed that there had been 74 school shootings since the shootings at Sandy Hook. Then in late 2015, they claimed that there had been 47 school shootings that year. Now with yesterday being the anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the advocacy group is now claiming that there have been 200 school shooting incidents since then. As usual, it feels like Everytown is misleading the public with their claims. This time not only is Everytown playing fast and loose with the numbers, but they’re also misrepresenting themselves with their phrasing as well.

First, let’s take a look at the number 200. There have not been 200 school shootings as we think of them. When most people think of school shootings, they think of tragedies like Sandy Hook or Columbine. Since Sandy Hook, there have been 17 school shootings with the most recent one being the shooting at Townville Elementary School back in September. As far as their phrasing goes, Everytown is trying to play it coy this time. Instead of saying there have been 200 school shootings since Sandy Hook, they’re now saying that there have been 200 school shooting ‘incidents’ since Sandy Hook. The word ‘incidents’ is a C.Y.A. word like ‘allegedly’. The problem is, even if they’re using the word ‘incidents’, the public, and most media, still perceive it as 200 school shootings. If they wanted to be more honest and use fewer scare tactics they would say that there have been 200 gun-related crimes that happened near schools since Sandy Hook, but that doesn’t make a catchy headline.

Please don’t get me wrong. Not only is 17 school shootings in 4 years still pretty disturbing, so is 200 shootings near schools. However, as I have said in the past when you call everything a school shooting, it lessens the impact of actual school shootings. After a while, we’ll all become numb to whatever is being called a school shooting, and we’ll just shrug them off like it was a shoplifting charge.

My advice to Everytown is not to sensationalize the statistics. 17 school shootings, or 18 including Sandy Hook, in the past four years, is still pretty disturbing. However, as the saying goes “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic” and you’re getting awfully close to statistic territory.

Study says that background checks will prevent school shootings. They’re wrong.

Study says that background checks will prevent school shootings. They're wrong.

Whenever there is a study about guns and school shootings I always feel the need to preface my blog posts about them. While I support the right of responsible gun ownership, I do not belong to any pro-gun organization, nor do I own a firearm.

With that out of the way, a study was recently made public that says states with background checks for gun and ammunition have fewer school shootings. Normally I would dismiss a study like this as correlation does not equal causation, but in my opinion the study is much more flawed than that.

Once again the definition of ‘school shooting’ in this study is a lot broader than what most people think of as a school shooting. To me, a school shooting is when a gunman enters a school or campus in order to cause the most violence possible. This study defines a school shooting as “an incident when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds.” I call that the ‘Everytown’ definition as it was first used to my knowledge by the anti-gun organization Everytown for Gun Safety. Everytown has made previously made claims such as there were 47 school shootings in 2015. The problem with this is if you call every shooting within a 5 mile radius of a school a school shooting, it lessens the impact of an actual school shooting.

As far as background checks go, I’m actually in favor of them. However, you have to remember that in many cases of school shootings the shooter could either have passed a background check, obtained the gun illegally, or stole the gun from their parents.

While some people think that you can just waltz into Wal-Mart and buy a fully automatic machine gun, that’s just not true. We are currently living in a time where it’s more difficult to purchase a gun than any other time in history. As I’ve posted about before school shootings are not about the access of guns, but rather the entitled children we’re raising who don’t have the emotional wherewithal to deal with failure.

Update the scoreboard: There have been 101 craigslist killings

101

The Washington Post has recently run an article entitled “Think twice before answering that ad: 101 murders have been linked to Craigslist”. That number is provided by the AIM Group who maintain a public list on the Craigslist Killings – Craigslist Safety blog. They also include the criminals who have been killed which I don’t, but more or less the number is correct.

The article also goes on to mention Aim Group’s SafeTrade initiative to turn police stations into safe zones for craigslist transactions. That should tell you volumes right there on how unsafe craigslist really is. If a major watchdog group and numerous police departments across the country are urging you to use police stations to do business on craigslist then it really isn’t all that safe.

As I’ve said since craigslist has such a low barrier to entry and the fact that it’s almost anonymous it allows a large criminal element to inhabit the site and craigslist isn’t about to do anything about it…

Neither Craigslist nor its publicist responded to multiple interview requests, and the company has not commented publicly on safety issues since a 2010 Congressional hearing.

And if they can help they won’t since that costs money. Craigslist may have been founded on Bay Area hippy principles, but today they are nothing but cold-hearted capitalists whose only concern is the bottom dollar.

There have not been 47 school shootings this year

stupidmap

Once again, much like last year, headlines are making the rounds gain exaggerating the numbers of how many school shootings there have been this year. This year the number being tossed around is that there have been 47 school shootings this year and the stat has been brought to us by the same people who made the equally ridiculous claim last year of 74 school shootings since Newtown.

The ABC article I linked to doesn’t even try to hide the fact that the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety has exaggerated the numbers…

Of those shootings, 26 were classified as attacks that resulted in injury or death.

The 21 remaining shootings were a mix of attempted or completed suicides, accidental shootings or instances in which a gun was fired at campus, including grade schools and colleges, but no one was injured.

It seems like to me that Everytown for Gun Safety is once again using the loosest definition of school shooting. I almost want to say they consider every shooting that was within one square mile of a school was considered a school shooting.

While I’m not trying to lessen the impact of these other shootings and the pain that they’ve cost there has really only been one school shooting this year that fits my definition and that was the one at Umpqua Community College. As I’ve said before my definition of a school shooting is when a student or outsider storms a school with guns with the express purpose of killing as many victims as possible. Suicide attempts, parking lot confrontations and shootings that take place off of campus are not school shootings and to report them as such is not only irresponsible journalism but it’s also fear mongering.

When media presents statistics from a biased source as fact it’s done only for the sake of sensationalism and pageviews. Don’t just read the headline and think you have all the facts. The devil, as they say, is always in the details.

Does the media glorify killers with history?

guntimeline

In the wake of the tragic loss of life at Umpqua Community College the debate has stirred up again whether or not naming the killers is giving them the fame that they craved. As I’ve said in a previous blog post I believe that the killers should be named so they don’t become more legend than statistic. However there is something that most media outlets use usually on the heels of such a crime that does more damage than naming the killers and that’s the ‘timeline’.

It never fails after a mass shooting like this. Just about every known part of the media will publish the list of the past mass shootings in this country, usually using Columbine as a starting point.

Here’s an example of some of the headlines I received in the days after the tragedy in Roseburg, Oregon.

“Recent history of mass shootings in the United States”

“Tragic List: The Deadliest Mass Shootings in US History”

“The worst school shootings in American history”

“142 school shootings since Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn” (Trench’s note: That stat is grossly overblown, I posted about this last year when the number was claimed to be 74)

“In the wake of Oregon massacre, here are 11 of the bloodiest school shootings since Columbine”

“Major school shootings in US since 1999”

“Factbox: Major shootings in the United States”

“5 Deadliest Mass School Shootings in Oregon”

“A look at the history of high-profile shootings in the Pacific Northwest”

“Deadliest shootings on or near U.S. college campuses”

“Timeline: Deadliest school shootings since Columbine”

“A look at major school shootings that have erupted in the US over the past decade”

“A look at deadliest shootings on or near US college campuses”

And so on.

These timelines are not only unnecessary but just lazy journalism. They’re used in out post Buzzfeed society to garner pageviews and anyone with a half a brain already knows that there is a crisis of violence in our country unmatched by any other Western society. We don’t need a constant reminder of every singe tragedy and every single loser who perpetrated it. When you do that it’s my opinion that the killers are then being glorified by posting these ‘hall of fame’ lists.

The only place I found that used the timeline concept wisely was the Washington Post who posted a list of the victims who should be remembered rather than the monsters who killed them.

Things are looking up in Camden

Then again you can only look up from the bottom.

Then again you can only look up from the bottom.

Mark this day down, I was wrong about something. It seems that the disbanding of the Camden. New Jersey police department and replacing them with a county police force has actually been good for the city. Not only has their been a drop in the murder rate in Camden but they’ve dropped off the list of most dangerous cities where they’re usually in the top 3.

While this is good news for the people of Camden it’s still going to take a very long time before businesses and taxpayers move into the city. Not to mention that I have concerns if the other taxpayers of Camden County are helping foot the bill for a police force that is county in name only as they only patrol Camden itself.

Non-lethal weapons infographic

I found this infographic about non-lethal alternatives to firearms interesting. Your mileage may vary. I especillay find it interesting that in some states TASERs and stun guns are banned but firearms are permitted. For instance in my state of North Carolina you can carry a gun with a concealed carry permit but TASERs are only allowed in homes and businesses. Doesn’t make a lot of sense.


Via: BrickHouse