The data I use comes from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security but unlike a lot of people, I examine each of the incidents. I do the same with the “mass shooting” data from the Gun Violence Archive.
I find the focus simply on big numbers is highly deceptive — from both sides of the issue. It’s often a case of GIGO (garbage in; garbage out).
In the case of school shooting data, there is a huge difference between a shooting that occurred in a fast-food restaurant across the street from a school where a student and a school staff member happened to be eating and Parkland. Yet both were counted as “school shootings.”
In fact, out of the 95 incidents reported as school shootings, there were 27 that involved no injuries at all; 12 that did not involve students; and one incident in which a 17-year-old-male was killed outside of a school when it was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
This is part of the issue, as I see it. If we can’t even rely on honest reporting of a threat, it only fuels hysteria and poor decisions.
In fact, to address the scourge of guns in schools, the only new legislation that might have an effect is either enacting or stiffening parental responsibility laws. Coupled with active promotion of programs like Project ChildSafe to encourage the secure storage of firearms, we can do our best to ensure gun owners with children know they will be held responsible for their children gaining access to firearms.
This, combined with “see something; say something” would seem to be our best shot at reducing the risk of school shootings.
It’s almost ironic: our best opportunity to make schools safer may well be education.