On March 15, NPR noted the heinous nature of Florida’s Parkland school shooting but quickly added that claims school shootings are at epidemic levels are false.
NPR’s observation is drawn from the work of Northeastern University’s James Alan Fox, who demonstrates that there were more “multiple victim” school shootings during the 1990’s than now.
According to NPR, Fox shows that “in the 1992-93 school year, about 0.55 students per million were shot and killed; in 2014-15, that rate was closer to 0.15 per million.”
He demonstrates that the U.S. suffers, on average, one multiple victim shooting per school year. And Fox points out that that means an average of one a year in a nation of over 100,000 schools.
So why do so many Americans believe we have an epidemic of school shootings? Fox believes the answer to that lies in a perception derived from media coverage and other outlets.
He said, “The difference is the impression, the perception that people have. Today we have cell phone recordings of gunfire that play over and over and over again. So it’s that the impression is very different. That’s why people think things are a lot worse now, but the statistics say otherwise.”
Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency room physician doing “gun violence” research at University of California, Davis, concurs with Fox. Wintemute said, “Schools are just about the safest place in the world for kids to be. Although each one of them is horrific and rivets the entire nation for a period of time, 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.”
Madysen Pruss is a counselor at Marysville Pilchuck High School, which suffered a mass shooting on October 24, 2014. Yet Pruss says her response to other shootings around the country is to talk to students about “how it’s publicized through social media. So it makes the threat feel greater than it is.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.