Authored by: Matt Palumbo
In scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, I was unfortunate enough to have a meme from the unjustifiably popular left-wing rag Occupy Democrats pop up in my feed. The page boasts 7.5 million fans on Facebook, mostly appealing to those with a juvenile understanding of politics.
The latest piece of dis-informational content they’ve posted (which has been shared on Facebook over 18,000 times) claims that American public schools are somehow more dangerous than actual warzones. They “proved” this by pointing out that there’s been more deaths in American public schools in 2018 than in the military. It’s a claim that’s “technically true,” but grossly misleading.
They provide the accompanying graphic, which they sourced from the Washington Post:
I’ll ask rhetorically, what do you think there are more of; public school students, or people in the military?
There are approximately 50.7 million students in public K-12 schools (as of fall 2017), but “only” 1.3 million active military personal in America (as of 2018). It would be factual to say “more Americans have died in public schools than in the military (this year),” but it would be a bold faced lie to say that schools are more dangerous, because the statistics aren’t adjusted for population.
Hilariously, if Occupy Democrats had the reading comprehension to understand the Washington Post article he was citing, he’d know as much. As the article stated, after adjusting for those differences in population; “So far in 2018, a member of the military, deployed or in training, has been more than 50 times as likely to be killed as someone is to die in a school shooting.”
The claim seemed especially dubious, given that schools are among the safest places in America. The reason violence in schools is so publicized is because of its rarity (much like how airplane crashes attract lots of coverage, even though it’s the safest method of travel). According to an analysis from Unbiased America:
If you take suicides out of the overall firearm death rate, schools are still far, far safer than elsewhere:
Overall Firearm Homicide Rate: 4.3 per 100,000
School Firearm Homicide Rate: 0.013 per 100,000
Therefore, if the data excludes suicides, schools are 331 times safer that the overall U.S. rate.
Here’s that fact represented graphically:
Never did I think I’d have to debunk the claim that American public schools are more dangerous than the war-torn middle east, but here we are.