School shootings, by the numbers
Have there really been 27 school shootings in 2022?
The emotional wounds are still fresh, but it has not stopped politicians from pouncing, in order to raise their own profiles for political gain. Broken hearts and clouded minds are calling for a complete kill-switch moment on gun ownership, and the Second Amendment.
To be clear, when you hear a politician or anyone else referencing hunting, while talking about our Second Amendment rights, you can be certain those people have not familiarized themselves with our Constitution. The fever dream of mass gun roundups is the reason we have a Second Amendment. To wit, we have been assured the right – and duty - to arm ourselves, in the event our government falls into the hands of unscrupulous players, bent on taking our freedoms away, “for our own good.”
Any curbing of our rights is never for our own good.
We do, however, have a problem. Our problem is violence. Our problem is a failure to properly identify and treat mental health issues. All of our problems are strongly rooted in the continued erosion of the traditional family unit.
All of these are valid points for discussion. For now, we simply support those who mourn with sincere prayers and empathy. The community of Uvalde, Texas deserves no less than the most delicate care. The horrors of that day cannot be overstated.
I say all of that, to get to this point: Along with those politicians, hoping to gain relevancy through the politicization of this tragedy, we should also consider the ulterior motives of the media and various special interest groups around the nation.
Blood, unfortunately, sells. If you have an agenda to push, we’ve become all-too-familiar with deceptive headlines and the social media maelstrom that follows, when a complicit media is eager to promote their preferred narrative, facts be damned. The monstrous players involved in these events make it all too easy for them.
The latest seems to be the claim that the Uvalde nightmare is the 27th school shooting of 2022. I was confronted with this stunning number by colleagues earlier in the day. I’ve since noticed the breathless proclamations across Twitter and Facebook about just how precarious it is to send your children to school, these days. It’s as if packing your 10-year old up for her day is equivalent to sending her to war, 5 days a week.
It makes for effective panic porn, but is it true?
The answer depends on how loosely you use the term, “school shooting.”
The somber reports of these numbers all seem to be coming from what you think would be a reasonably reliable source: Education Week. The site bills itself as, “America's most trusted resource for K-12 education news and information,” and boasts an audience of over 1 million readers.
In its latest update, the EW website emphasizes that there have been 27 school shootings in 2022. It provides a helpful list of each shooting, counting down from the most recent, to the first. It lists where, the date, how many were killed, or how many were injured, as well as a brief summary of the event.
If you’re more inclined to search out the details, rather than settle on a sensationalist headline, you see the holes in the hysteria.
Those details reveal that actual, in-school number of shootings, counting the Uvalde tragedy, is 5, with a grand total of 22 deaths.
Yes, that would be 1 more than the number of dead from the Uvalde shooting. That particular tragedy happened at Tanglewood Middle School, in Greenville, SC, on March 31, 2022. A 12-year old suspect managed to get a gun into the school, and killed one of his classmates.
So where is this discrepancy in the numbers?
Again, it depends on what you consider a school shooting.
Of the 27 shootings referenced in the media and through EW, 5 were actually inside a school. The overwhelming majority of those reported may or may not fall under a true definition of school shootings.
At least 6 of those 27 listed shootings happened outside of the school setting, in the parking lot, with not every victim being a student, or even an employee of the school.
Other accounts were simply listed as “outside the school” or somewhere in the vicinity of a school, thereby earning them the distinction of being called a “school shooting.”
A for instance would be the events of February 9, 2022, at McKinley High School, in Buffalo, NY. According to the blurb on EW:
Police say a security guard and a 13-year-old student were shot and wounded outside the school. A 14-year-old student was stabbed during the incident.
Knife control now.
North Gardens High School, in Miami Gardens, Florida reported a more ambiguous event, a month later, on March 9, 2022.
Three people were wounded in a drive-by shooting.
We can assume this didn’t happen inside the school. What we aren’t sure of is how close to school grounds this may have occurred, or if these were even students.
There was a reported “school shooting” at Oakdale Elementary School, in Charlotte, NC on March 28, 2022.
A teenager was shot and injured in the school parking lot during a fight over a gun on a teacher workday.
So teenagers were hanging out in the parking lot of an elementary school on a teacher workday, when no students would have been present, got in a fight over a gun, and one was injured. This is what is being called a “school shooting.”
Another interesting factoid in the numbers presented is that 4 of these shootings happened outside of the school building, after basketball games.
It may be time to look at the connection between basketball and school violence.
There were 5 incidents that happened in vehicles or buses. Most of those appear to be accidental shootings, resulting in injury, and were also noted to have happened after school hours or after some event.
Of all the inside-a-school shootings listed, only Uvalde is a mass shooting event, where an outsider with evil intent rushed in to inflict as much horror as possible. The Tanglewood shooting also seemed intentional and gang related. The 12-year old shooter will likely be tried as an adult.
We have a gang problem in America. I work in a prison, and the majority of my clients are gang-affiliated, in for violent crimes.
I don’t present this information to belittle the events of Tuesday, or diminish the heartache, in any way. I mourn each innocent life taken. My heart breaks for that community, and especially those parents.
What I hope to convey is that if we are to make our schools and communities safe, we need to stop harping on gun control as the fix-it-all, and give an honest look at real solutions. We will never get all the guns off the street, and if any politician thinks they’ll be sending troops in to unarm everyone who may have a gun, with door-to-door raids, then they’re the reason we have a Second Amendment.
Good questions to ask are how did some of these students walk into school, or get on school buses with guns? In some cases, they went throughout the day and after events with guns in their backpacks.
Is it time for strictly clear backpacks and metal detectors?
There was at least one lunatic on April 22, 2022 in Washington, D.C., who opened fire from his apartment building, at the end of the school day at Edmund Burke School, injuring 4 people. The 23-year old shooter, Raymond Spencer, was later found dead by law enforcement, and no motive has been uncovered.
Reports are that Spencer had a makeshift “command center” set up, with radios and assorted instruments that would indicate he was making plans for something.
He was obviously dealing with some sort of mental dysfunction.
What was his mental health history, and was he receiving care? Should there be security fencing or walls around school grounds?
Guns in the wrong hands are a problem, but our most immediate solutions are in safeguarding. If the politics of the issue can be put to rest long enough, we may be able to put in place those things that will make your Uvaldes and Parklands less likely.