Authored by: Matt Palumbo
“We’re only 20 weeks into 2018, and there have already been 22 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed. That averages out to more than 1 shooting a week” reads an article at CNN.
They provide the following graphic showing everywhere that there’s been a school shooting so far this year:
The “22 school shootings” statistic has been spreading like wildfire through the twittersphere, though it really shouldn’t have had anyone read past the headline on the CNN article. In reading their list of shootings, it’s immediately clear that CNN is employing an extremely loose definition of “school shooting.” While everyone thinks of a shooting rampage when they think of a school shooting, CNN’s definition basically encompasses any discharge of a firearm on school grounds resulting in an injury. Here are CNN’s 22 school shootings, and the circumstances:
- January 20: Winston Salem, North Carolina – A Winston State football player is shot to death after a fight breaks out at a party.
- January 31: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – While an after-school basketball game between rival towns was going on at Lincoln High School, a large fight in athe parking lot led to the fatal shooting of a 32 year old man.
- February 1: Los Angeles, California – Four students are injured in what police determined to have been an accidental shooting after a 12-year old female student brought a loaded gun on campus (which was improperly stored in a backpack, when it went off). The student was booked on a charge of negligent discharge of a firearm.
- February 5: Oxon Hill, Maryland – A high school student is shot in the parking lot of Oxon Hill High. The victim was lured to the parking lot by an ex-girlfriend, where two others attempted to rob him.
- February 9: Nashville, Tennessee – A 17-year old is shot outside Pearl-Cohn High school after dismissal. The victim was not a student at that high school.
- February 24: Savannah, Georgia – A man was shot on the campus of Savannah State University. Both the shooter and victim were not students at the University.
- February 27: Itta Bena, Mississippi – A person is shot at a rec center at Mississippi Valley State University after a fight broke out. The person shot wasn’t a student.
- February 27: Norfolk, Virginia – A student is non-fatally shot in his Norfolk State University dorm room from an adjacent dorm room.
- March 2: Mount Pleasant, Michigan – A student at Central Michigan University shot his parents to death in his dorm room.
- March 7: Jackson, Mississippi – A student is shot in the leg in his dorm at Jackson State University in what may have been accidental.
- March 7: Birmingham, Alabama – One student is killed from a gun accident at Huffman High School.
- March 8: Mobile, Alabama – One person is hospitalized after a shooting at an apartment building on the campus of the University of South Alabama.
- March 13: Seaside, California – A teacher accidentally discharged a gun during, of all things, a public safety class. One Seaside High School student was injured.
- April 9: Gloversville, New York – A student shot another student with a BB gun at Gloversville Middle School.
- April 12: Raytorn, Missouri – A non-student is shot in the stomach in the parking lot of Raytown South Middle School during a track meet, after school hours.
So sixteen of the events are either accidents, or homicides on school property. It can only be described as an “act of desperation” that a BB-gun shooting was included on this list. These are hardly the “mass public shooting” type of school shootings that we all imagine when we hear that there have “already been 22 school shootings so far this year.”
As for the remaining six cases, there are a few that I still don’t feel completely meet the true definition of what a school shooting is. They are:
- January 22: Italy, Texas – A 15 year old student was shot by a 16-year old female student in what appeared to be an attempted targeted killing. The 16-year old fled after shooting the 15-year old student, and was later apprehended.
- April 20: Ocala, Florida – A 19-year-old former student fired one shot through a door (injuring a student) at Forest High School, then put his shotgun on the ground and hands in the air. A teacher engaged the former student (whom she knew) in conversation, and he surrendered his weapon and ammunition to her. They conversed until police arrived. The shooter said in an interview that he did it because he wanted to go to jail and to get away from his abusive family, and never intended on hurting anyone.
- May 11: Palmdale, California – A 14-year old boy at Highland High shot another student in the arm after repeated altercations between the two.
In the first and third cases, it would be more appropriate to define these shootings as targeted attempted killings at a school, but not school shootings. There’s no evidence that either perpetrator had other targets.
There were also two school shootings stopped by armed resource officers, they are:
- March 20: Lexington Park, Maryland – A student at Great Mills High School shoots two (killing one), before being killed by a school resource officer.
- May 16: Dixon, Illinois – A 19-year-old former student of Dixon High School opened fire, before an armed school resource officer confronted and shot the shooter. There were no injuries except for the shooter. Interestingly though, this case was not included on CNN’s list of school shootings.
There are three shootings left, that can accurately be defined as school shootings:
- January 23: Benton, Kentucky – A 15-year old student shoots 16 people, killing 2 at Marshall County High School.
- February 14: Parkland, Florida – A 19-year old former student kills 17 students at Majority Stoneman Douglas High School.
- May 18: Sante Fe, Texas. A student at Santa Fe High School kills 10.
So, there were five school shootings, two of which (or 40%) were stopped by armed SROs. It’s little coincidence that the two schools that had armed SROs suffered one casualty from their two school shootings, while those three without security (or breathtakingly incompetent security) averaged 10.
Five is far too many, and the purpose of article is hardly to claim that five school shootings is in any way acceptable. The purpose is to point out that one side of the debate can’t go a minute without lying. Why do you think that is? Is it something that someone with the facts on their side would do?