Sunday, June 15, 2014

There have never been any school shootings in the US.

They have been over 100,000 gun violence incidents since Sandy Hook of which between 7 and 74 were at or near schools.

But, from what I understand, for a "school shooting" to occur:
  1. The shooter needs to be a student
  2. The shooting needs to be within the school
  3. The shooter intended to kill students in the school
  4. The shooting needs to happen during school hours
  5. The shooting cannot be related to extracurricular reasons
Wow, that knocks out a lot of shootings.

In fact, using this criteria we can not only knock off a few victims from the toll, such as Rachel Scott who was shot outside the school at Columbine. We can also get rid of a few school shootings!

For example, the 1999 Jonesboro, Arkansas shootings occured OUTSIDE the school!

Even better, Adam Lanza WASN'T A STUDENT!  Even better, we can knock out a few of the victims are not students. This criteria confirms what gun nuts have been saying all along--The Sandy Hooks shootings weren't school shootings, but it was a mass shooting.

Now, if people want to look like dicks, then they have to admit this is the case and they can knock that one off the books.

The real confusion is whether a school shooting is a mass shooting or not.

Some people only want the mass shootings which happen in schools to be considered "school shootings".  That is the fallacy which Politifact falls into in their piece:
For many people, this is the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the phrase "school shooting" -- an incident such as Sandy Hook or, before it, the 1999 Columbine shooting in Colorado that left 15 dead, including the shooters.
But, the people who want to dispute these numbers want to limit the amount of School Shootings to a number which is somehow "acceptable" rather than address the issue that gun violence is far too pervasive in US culture.

On the other hand, The Daily Beast came up with the number 68:
We keep a tally of school shootings at The Daily Beast, too, using a slightly different methodology. We include only shootings that occur on school campuses while students are present. We count shootings that result in no fatalities as well as those where the only victim was a shooter who committed suicide.

We published a report last year using our data to show just what a school shooting looks like, noting specifically: “These events aren’t necessarily the types of tragedies that come to mind when one thinks of “school shootings”—madmen in fatigues roaming school hallways, strapped with automatic-style guns, murdering indiscriminately—nor do they receive the media attention of such mass shootings. But they can be similarly traumatizing for students and staff, and they have led to at least 24 injuries and 17 deaths over the past year.”

The following day, another school shooting at Arapahoe High School added to our tally. As of today, we count 68 school shootings, with 28 dead, and 66 injured.
Oliver Burkeman gets to the point in his post at the Guardian:
(If you think this kind of absurdity is confined to the fringe, see this only slightly less mendacious CNN piece (and Politifact), which brings the figure down from 74 to 15 by excluding, among others, shootings motivated by "personal arguments, accidents [or] alleged gang activities and drug deals". Johnson says the cable channel stole his work.)

What’s especially dispiriting about this flat denial of reality is how little prospect it offers for rational discussion or compromise. Even if you're a supporter of gun control, you can still hold a reasoned discussion with somebody who believes that the benefits of widespread firearms ownership outweigh the harms. You can discuss international comparisons; and how no comparable country experiences anything like this level of gun violence; the other person can seek to establish why those comparisons aren't relevant; or that, yes, violent deaths are actually in decline in the US, and so on. But when the pro-gun side of the argument consists of simply insisting that the gun violence that people are so distraught about isn't real gun violence? Then there's no clear way forward at all.

And let’s not forget the bigger point here. A pro-gun journalist applies the most stringent imaginable criteria to the term 'school shooting'; he rejects every instance he possibly can, for reasons many might regard as spurious, and then triumphantly declares that there have only been … seven bona fide school shootings in America since December 2012!

Only seven school shootings since December 2012.

I hope I never to get to the point at which the word "only" in that sentence makes even the slightest bit of sense.
As I said we can knock the numbers down even further if we want to say there have never been any school shootings in the US.  That should appeal to the people who do nothing to stop the plague of US gun violence.

So, do we want to split hairs or try to come up with a solution to a real problem is the real issue here.What is important is that people died. What category some people choose to put a specific shooting is irrelevant to our mission. Our mission is to stop future shooting, no matter what the location or circumstance.


  1. "What is important is that people died. What category some people choose to put a specific shooting is irrelevant to our mission. Our mission is to stop future shooting, no matter what the location or circumstance. "

    Ok Laci, it sounds like you have a problem that you can address directly. You have but to go to these advocacy groups that come up with these statistics and ask them to stop for the very reasons you just gave.
    Everytown/Mayors/MOMs made a point of releasing this "study" for the PR value that they would garner with the image of children being gunned down. Implying of course that protecting children is more important than protecting other people. A mindset I happen to follow myself.
    The VPC has their "Concealed Carry Killers" "database" with the goal of portraying people with carry permits to be less law abiding than they really are. Both used techniques to inflate their data to better communicate their sentiment, yet by using this data that even media on your side of the issue is calling BS on, it turns out to be an overall loss to your argument.
    I wish you luck on trying to convince these groups to stop categorizing deaths by gun violence.

    1. I found Laci's post to be right on. ss, aren't you one of the guys who took issue with the reclassification of accidental kid deaths? Aren't you one of the guys who rushed to point out that changing some of the homicides to accidents didn't change the total numbers of dead?

      Well isn't this about the same thing? Call them school shootings or mass shootings or whatever the hell you want, they're all examples of gross misuse of firearms by people who should never have had guns in the first place. And, as you well know, I put the blame for that squarely at your doorstep, you personally, all the other gun rights advocates, the NRA and the gun manufacturers. This is your doing.

  2. It's really kind of sick the way gun loons use word and statistical games to try and persuade that the gun shot death problem is not as bad as it is, or that the concerns by rational people about gun shot deaths are misplaced and in error. The accident/negligent word game is one that allows idiots to go unpunished for their deadly mistakes. To say it is, or is not a school shooting is absurd and the victims are just as dead. The point they are trying to make is what? Our schools are safer than the number of dead kids is telling us? Truly depraved thinking.

    1. "To say it is, or is not a school shooting is absurd and the victims are just as dead."

      You're correct, as is Laci when she said the same thing in her post. So why aren't gun control advocates taking your allied groups to task when they make these claims using figures that hurt your collective credibility to stop doing that.
      You fault those that question the faulty data, but you don't hold the people who originated the faulty data in any way accountable. Even Politifact has called BS on Everytown's "study"

      "The group’s figure is accurate only if you use a broad definition of "school shooting" that includes such incidents as suicides, accidents and spillover from adjacent criminal activity. The figure has some value in quantifying the proximity of guns to school campuses, but the group makes a significant stretch by tying the statistic so closely to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook. By doing this, the group closely associates the statistic with planned mass shootings targeting students and school staff -- a category that, using a more strict definition, accounts for only 10 of the 74 incidents."

      "The statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False."

    2. Don't put me in your crowd, or any crowd that argues definitions and numbers over deaths. I could care less about your "gotcha " points of whose study is right. The unnecessary deaths keep adding up and you prefer to try and define yourself as correct by citing some else is incorrectly counting the bodies. Again you show your gun loon character.

    3. I find it kinda funny that you seize on the gun control side's supposedly losing credibility by using the widest possible definition. People are dying unnecessarily, lots of them. Proper gun control is the answer.

  3. Wait, wait. Let's do some more semantic gymnastics for the gun guys and get REALLY dickish about it.... Let's quibble over the term "School." I mean, is it really still "school" if it happens before classes begin, as the recent Oregon shooting was, or after the final bell, or during recess? What if it's just a private school or charter school. Those aren't public schools, so maybe those shouldn't count? And do Kindergarten and Preschool really *count*? I mean, they just color and do ABCs and nap, right?

    And what about "shooting"? I mean, if they don't actually hit their target with 100% efficiency, isn't it really just a "discharge"?

    As that one writer said, it's not really a "school shooting" but really just "a shooting that happened to occur on school grounds." TOTALLY different!!! I mean, TOTALLY!! Right???