School Shooting Database Uses Broad Definition

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posted on October 31, 2018
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In yet another example illustrating how someone can use statistics to make any case they want, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (part of the Naval Postgraduate School) has released a report detailing every school shooting since 1970. Thing is, it uses an array of incidents in which no one was even injured.

How can that be? Well, the people who put the information together include almost every conceivable definition of “using a gun” to qualify as a school shooting. That means, if someone brandishes a gun, it counts; if a bullet hits school property at any time of day or night, regardless of whether it was fired on campus, it counts. Heck, they probably even include cases in which a BB gun or squirt gun was used.

So it’s no surprise, then, that this database counts 1,316 school shootings—or 27.4 per year—in this country since 1970.

Talk about creating a credibility gap. Even gun control researchers acknowledge that such reports can be misleading. Garen Wintemute, a physician who conducts gun research at the University of California, said, “Mass shootings at schools are really very uncommon, and they are not increasing in frequency. What's changed is how aware we are of them.”

But don’t expect Michael Bloomberg or Shannon Watts to admit that any questions have been raised about the legitimacy of the numbers in the report. Instead, just count on them throwing out the number 1,316 every time it strikes their fancy as they push for more restrictions on our Second Amendment rights.

Townhall media analyzed the data and did a cursory removal of the more obvious accounts that really shouldn’t qualify as “school shootings.” By eliminating such instances as those which occurred outside of school hours, were gang- or drug-related, involved BB guns or the like, were suicides or were accidental discharges by law enforcement, the number of incidents is basically halved to 687, or 14.3 per year. And that number is dependent upon whether the facts were all correct in the relevant shootings—and media outlets always get things everything right in early reports, especially when it comes to guns, right?

While the idea behind tracking such tragedies is admirable, it seems the methodology—once again—is being driven by an agenda or ideology. That should come as no surprise, except you might expect better from a U.S. military source.

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