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Op-ed overstates issue of mass shootings in schools

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I like my job, but there are times when it’s less than fun. Those are when I have to write about a mass shooting. I had to do it again today, this time involving a shooting in New Mexico that left three dead as of this writing.

It’s news, of course, and so we have to talk about them, but I have reasons why this is less than great, to say the least. Not only are innocent people being killed, such as what happened in New Mexico, but also the fact that many will demand gun control before we even know what happened.

Not that it’s better after we do.

Many seem to think that when it comes to these horrific events, we have two choices only: We either pass gun control or let it continue.

I am scared that when I walk onto my college campus and walk through the classroom doors, it may be my last day on this Earth.

In 2022, there were more school shootings than in any year since 1999, while more than 70 people have been killed or injured by guns at American schools already in 2023.

In March, three children and three staff members were fatally shot at the Covenant School in Nashville. In February, a gunman killed three people and injured five others on campus at Michigan State University. Two of the victims were juniors, the same grade that I am in. There have been 380 school shootings since 1999 where more than 352,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since the Columbine school shooting.

To stop these heinous massacres and protect our students, I urge legislators to pass stricter gun laws and regulations throughout the process of purchasing a gun or assault weapon.

I get that she’s scared, but she shouldn’t be.

Yes, the numbers look troubling, but we also have to look at the probabilities here. While I’m not up on the math itself, I can look at and compare numbers.

For example, let’s use her number of 380 school shootings in the last 24 years. There are nearly 130,000 schools in the United States, not counting colleges and universities. That’s both public and private K-12 schools. There are nearly 4,000 more colleges.

If you average out the school shootings over 24 years, you get about 16 shootings annually. Among nearly 135,000 schools.

That means the odds of your school being a target are actually pretty small. There’s no reason to be afraid to go to school.

In fact, I suspect you’re more likely to die in a car accident on the way to and from school than you are to be killed in a school shooting.

Why does this matter?

Because the author here is pushing for us to pass gun control laws to address an issue that isn’t really as big of a thing as she’d like to make it out to be. That’s especially troubling when you consider that many of these shootings were carried out with illegally acquired firearms–most aren’t mass shootings, either, but more pedestrian shootings that just happen to take place at a school. For example, one of the cited examples of a “school shooting” is a kid fumbling through his backpack when the gun went off and grazed a teacher.

Hardly the next Virginia Tech, now is it?

Another of the cited school shootings was a staff member who shot himself in the parking lot.

So even then, many of these shootings aren’t even quite what the author tries to present here, and that’s an issue.

Especially when the numbers here are dwarfed by the number of people who use a gun to defend themselves annually. Even many gun control groups claim somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 people each year do so. That’s far below the estimates you’ll find elsewhere, but all are well beyond these supposedly horrific numbers.

Yet I will acknowledge that even one death on a school campus is too many. The problem is that this isn’t a binary issue. It’s not “gun control or nothing.” There are a lot of things we can and probably should do to keep students safe. Hardening schools, for example, is something we’ve talked about since Parkland, though people like the author pretend that’s a non-starter for some reason.

Either way, gun control isn’t the answer, especially when the problem is consistently overstated by anti-gun zealots.

Read the full article here

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