“In another week, it will be the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, Connecticut,” Tara Haelle writes at forbes.com, “an incident seared into the minds of parents across the U.S. who cannot forget that 20 first-graders were gunned down in what should be a safe space for learning.”
When a writer begins a piece on a new “gun violence” study by waving the bloody shirt, when the article’s accompanied by a picture like the one above, it’s a sure sign that both the “report” and the study upon which it is based are little more than anti-gun agitprop. And away we go!
Now a new study looks at what state-level factors might play a role in the likelihood of such incidents at other schools, colleges and universities.
School shootings happen least often, the study found, in states that spend the most on K-12 education and mental health services and that have background checks for firearm and ammunition purchases. The study also found that school shootings are happening more often, up to one a week.
Altogether now: correlation does not equal causation. Like this:
This study explores potential protective factors against school shootings, but it’s not the kind of study that can show whether any of those factors directly cause a higher or lower risk of school shootings. Instead, the findings provide insight into avenues where more research might be helpful.
Given the disclaimer — essentially admitting that the school shooting study proves absolutely nothing (other than the Bloomberg-financed “researchers'” anti-gun bias) — what’s up with the headline? Equally, why did Forbes “report” this study without any independent analysis?
Not to put too fine a point on it, Ms. Haelle’s article is yet another example of political pandering based on prevaricating press release pablum. Just in case you missed it at the top of her post, Ms. Haelle redelivers the supposed money shot:
School shootings were about half as likely in states with firearm background checks, but only 14 states in 2013 had some form of background check for buying firearms outside of a federally licensed firearms dealer, who are already federally required to run background checks. In five of these states, the background checks were only required for handgun purchases but not for long guns or assault weapons. Requiring background checks to buy ammunition was linked to an even lower likelihood of school shootings: states with those laws were 89% less likely to have a school shooting.
After dropping that “bombshell,” the Forbe’s piece backpedals — again. Furiously. And then finishes with an emotional appeal by the study’s lead author Bindu Kalesan, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and director of the Center for Translational Epidemiology and Comparative Effectiveness Research at Boston University School of Medicine. Who received her master’s degree in public health and another in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“These are the direct victims. There are also indirect victims, families and communities that surround these unfortunate persons,” Kalesan said. “It is important to take an honest look at those who are left behind, the ones who have lived to survive the bullets through them, children who have seen their peers and important people in their life shot dead, and those who live a compromised life after their shooting with disabilities and mental health problems.”
Kalesan believes it is essential to have federal-level background checks for firearm and ammunition purchases, something similar to the recent law passed in California that requires all firearm sales, including private sales, to go through a a licensed dealer.
“The victims of these shootings and the survivors are currently celebrated, but their plight in life is difficult,” Kalesan said. “What are we doing as a society to take care of those who have been exposed to such devastating traumatic events?”
Hardening the targets (schools)? Arming teachers? Repealing the Gun Free School Zones Act? These are common sense steps that increase security, requiring little in the way of statistical analysis for justification.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg and his minions continue to lobby for state and federal Universal Background Checks — a clear infringement on Americans’ constitutionally protected gun rights — without any real evidence of their prophylactic effect on school shootings. Or “gun violence.” Go figure.