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Parkland shooting anniversary one year david hogg
courtesy NBC News

Reader Jeff S. writes:

The “gun violence prevention” movement and their media allies are in a frenzy this week to exploit the anniversary of last year’s Parkland Florida tragedy to stir a moral panic against the NRA and gun owners. As the survivors who advocate for gun control get lavish attention, it is helpful to put the “crisis” of school shootings into proper perspective.

Just how many people are actually being killed in these attacks?

A quick search online reveals one database of mass shooting incidents that’s current, maintained by Mother Jones magazine. While their integrity on gun policy is questionable in view of their strong “progressive” bias, it’s a pretty safe bet that they aren’t going to skew the data to minimize the impact of “gun violence.” And, they provide linked sources for their data.

Scrolling down the list and picking out those mass shooting incidents at educational facilities (even if only partially, as in the Isla Vista attack), and one gets a total of 13 mass shootings in the last 20 years going back to Columbine High School. Those 13 shootings have resulted in a total of 153 deaths.

Filter out the colleges and look just at K-12 schools, and it’s down to seven attacks and 88 deaths. Look at just the last 10 years (since we’re constantly told that the threat is increasing), and the numbers are eight attacks and 87 deaths if colleges are included (an average of nine deaths per year), four attacks and 59 deaths for only K-12 (six deaths per year).

Keeping in mind that the estimated population of K-12 school students in the United States for 2018 is 56.6 million, and 3.2 million teachers, that works out to a roughly 1 in 10 million chance each year for any individual K-12 student or teacher of being killed in a school shooting attack.

The same source lists about 20 million college students, so the overall figure is about a 1 in 9 million chance if colleges are included. Of course, even six or nine deaths a year is six or nine too many. But is this enough to constitute a national crisis? Is it enough to demand that we do something?

For comparison, let’s look at another school-related cause of deaths; transportation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 135 people are killed each year in school-related transportation accidents. That’s 15 times as many as are killed in school shootings.

How much attention do the media give to that significantly large threat to America’s children? Why are those deaths less tragic? Why don’t the crash survivors’ stories need to be told?

While any death in a mass shooting attack is one too many, the fact is that schools are safe and that the chance of any student or teacher being shot in such an incident is negligibly small. When you hear the media interviewing student activists who insist on their right to feel safe, keep in mind just who it is that is causing their fears.

It isn’t the NRA or America’s gun owners. It’s the gun control movement and their media accomplices who deliberately try to scare us with non-stop coverage and wildly inflated numbers of “school shootings” to panic the public into supporting their useless restrictions on Second Amendment Rights.

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  1. Allow me to doth my tinfoil cap for a moment;
    I believe parkland got as much attention as it did because every level of bureaucracy and authority failed to do their jobs multiple times over that could have stopped Cruz, and the various power holders were willing to through as much money, marches, and PR at it to bury that fact.
    These are the people we’re supposed to trust with our wellbeing instead of owning guns, and parkland proved that they are just as bloated and lazy as every faceless beurocracy.

    • Buddy where do you live that that idea is tinfoil. Even here in NY we know trusting politicians/officials to die honestly is a risky assumption.

      • Playing the numbers game with kids’ lives misses the point. Just dilutes the collective pain. I guess this is like drunk drivers. Everyone failed. We all suck. Nothing we can do about it. Let’s just hope for the best, shall we.

        • starting to hear complaints about kids being traumatized by simulated attacks… complete with blank gunfire…occurring without any advance notice….good thing or bad?

        • Better kids get traumatized by a simulated training attack and learn how to deal with it, than to be shot in a real attack because they do not know how to respond. I can remember kids when I was growing up crying after “Duck and Cover” drills, especially at first, but that did not mean the drills were discontinued!

    • And the New York Times labels Parkland “the school shooting that was supposed to change everything.” They sure did have big plans for it, didn’t they.

      • They sure did, and that makes me wonder WHY they failed to stop the shooter? Were they concerned about ruining plans, already in motion? Or maybe IO’m just in need of a tinfoil hat?

  2. School shootings always have a backstory of failure. Failure of authorities, parents, etc. When the police failed to act on actionable events and information, not just heresy bullshit, jobs are on the line.

    So blame the NRA, gun owners, gun makers, stores, etc.

    This is how you lose rights and liberty.

    • Do you want communism? This is how you get communism. Jokes aside any infringement on any liberty has to be fought.

  3. As Mr. Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” I will go further and say that those who need this explained to them deserve neither and would not understand the explanation. These people should read Ronald Dworkin and his thoughts on the price of freedom. Sometimes a freedom does require a little social cost and if you disagree with that read amendments 4 through 8 and then tell me some rights and freedoms don’t have a social cost. Each of those amendments involves a “technicality” that frees some miscreants.

  4. Anyone with half a brain or as in anti gun people with no brains at all. Knows they have to lie. Yes 1 gun death might be one too many. But in the real world numbers. Gun deaths are almost non existent. Certainly not worth making noises about.

    • lies, misrepresentations and misinformation are coin of the realm for them…all in an attempt to induce mass hysteria…

  5. The problem is the human brain puts statistics together fairly quickly and bases our next moves and thoughts on what it deems risky or non risky.

    For example, we’re aware that cars kill far more people than firearms, people will subconsciously automatically justify the auto deaths as an inherent risk to the multitude of usage or autos.
    Whereas, firearms are not regularly used by as many people on a daily basis so the risk assessment says the chance of injury per time of activity is very high.

    Works this way with everything.
    I’m in Pa, we have bears, tiny black bears. People are afraid of them. But the truth is they rarely hurt anyone or anything, my little dog runs them off constantly. So why are people afraid?

    It’s the skewed sense of fear.

    If everyone open carried all the time and guns were regularly used for constant hunting and recreation heavily. Occasional shootings would be considered a normal risk factor.
    IE: We use them all the time, of course there’s going to be an accident once in a while.

    So.. Guns are like shark attacks. Its rare to happen, but people overreact.

    • A big part of this is that we really suck at statistics because math isn’t really something we’re wired for.

      Our brain isn’t wired for math beyond extremely simple arithmetic. It’s wired for pattern recognition and survival in the wild based on pattern recognition which is why camoflauge and optical illusions work. When we see something that’s a partial pattern that we recognize our brain fills in the rest, creating an optical illusion. When that pattern is removed or more data is collected the image disappears. Camo breaks up the outline of an object, distorting the pattern of that outline enough that we don’t recognize it and our brain ignores the object even though we still see it. This is also why some autistic people see right past camo; because their brain doesn’t apply such a filter and ignore part of the incoming data in an attempt to make things fit a pattern.

      This also applies to experience and, to a lesser extent the experience of others which are related to us via communication. As such we latch on to events that are scary but rare and our brain goes out of it’s way to find a pattern where there is none.

      If you see a big cat at the watering hole or someone else does and tells you about it you’re extra cautious in that area even if you know it’s the only time such an animal has been in that area in generations or even if you believe the other person lied about the existence of the cat. Or you see a snake, you nearly jump out of your skin but realize moments later that it’s actually a snake shaped stick. Your eye caught part of a pattern and your brain filled in the rest. Evolutionarily both of these are a big advantage to us because while they might be overreactions they are preferable to inaction or lack of reaction in terms of survival. Generally the overreaction to, say, the stick has no evolutionary downside and a big upside if that stick actually is a snake this time.

      We do the same with processing all risks. Our brain involuntarily looks for patterns and where it finds only partial patterns fills in the rest for us and almost always in a way that makes the threat seem larger rather than smaller because that’s what gives us the best chance of surviving long enough to reproduce and take care of offspring until they can survive on their own.

      What common OC and shooting would do is not put our fear “in perspective” but rather flesh out the pattern our brain recognizes in such a way that it wouldn’t have to fill in so much for us and do so in a way that leans towards the perceived safety of avoidance.

      The real issue isn’t a skewed sense of fear, it’s the fundamental way our brain processes information. That mechanism is completely out of line with the modern world. We’re a jungle ape designed for living in or on the edge of forrests/jungles but living in a world we’re not well adapted to and which we really don’t understand in a sensory input sort of way. We also do very poorly with novelty, especially at the rate we see it today. We overestimate some dangers and underestimate others because of the way our brain seeks patterns. Millions of years of evolution created an animal that thrives in a wide variety of natural landscapes but does poorly with modern society on nearly every level.

      • strych9, I enjoy reading most of what you write. This is very impressive.

        To add to your thesis; the majority of the populations exposure to guns is what they see on TV or in movies. If their knowledge gaps are being filled with scenes of Hollywood imagined violence, this is what they will perceive anytime there are media hysterics from a marketable shooting.

        • “If their knowledge gaps are being filled with scenes of Hollywood imagined violence, this is what they will perceive anytime there are media hysterics from a marketable shooting.”

          This is very true. It’s also will color how their brain fills in the “empty” portion of a pattern if they’re exposed to a firearm in real life.

          It’s interesting to note what this kind of knowledge does for us. This sort of pattern recognition is exactly why you end up with cops saying “I swear he had a gun!” when in reality it was a cellphone or, like Casino a sandwich.

          The officer’s brain was looking for patterns, saw a partial pattern and filled in the rest. They really DID see a gun and, like jumping back from the stick, they reacted in the way that makes sense if the pattern is correct. Their view is not correct and so the reaction is incorrect to the actual situation. Jumping back from a stick might cause us to be embarrassed but this kind of mistake where the “snake” is a gun might well end up with someone dead and people in the streets protesting a “bad shoot”.

          Since we cannot change the way the cop’s brain is wired we must adapt OUR behavior to prevent him/her from seeing a pattern that is a misinterpretation of what’s going on and shooting at us.

        • Yes and no.

          Some of the increase in known carrying is surely due to an erroneous perception of an increase in danger. Some of it has probably just “come out of the shadows” as people who illegally carried for years get permits. Some of it is a changing of the laws allowing people who formerly wanted to carry a gun to possess and carry one legally.

          There’s also individual variance, where people fall on the bell curve and other things to consider as well in regard to the growing number of people who carry in a way that we actually know about.

          The overarching point I was making is that “what we are” is poorly understood by the vast majority of people and that such an understanding will by definition change our behavior. It’s not that certain things are “good” or “bad” they just are. Knowing this allows us to deal with them in a better way and produce a better outcome for the greatest number of people.

          Denying these realities, for any reason no matter how noble the goal, will result in poorer outcomes for larger numbers of people. Both the Left and the Right, gun owners and antis, are people. Fundamentally we all operate in the same basic way. Understanding that allows us to have more useful and productive interaction with both each other and the world around us.

        • There is an important unaddressed factor which is simple cowardice. Being surprised by something that “looks like” a snake and jumping away from it is one thing, applying deadly force WITHOUT knowledge of a REAL threat is not only stupid, it’s cowardice. That person is NOT mentally capable of safely applying deadly force since their reactions are based entirely on protecting themselves from any PERCIEVED threat, as aversed to a REAL threat. If our military applied force in the same manner we would simply destroy every country and all its people when a threat arose. Soldiers are NOT allowed to shoot everyone who might LOOK like a threat. It’s why ambushes still work, and why we don’t just destroy everything.
          Police officers need to be screened more stringently, especially when it comes to the use of deadly force. We had an officer who once responded that if he FELT threatened he would “empty the mag and reload”. He no longer serves in our community. We have lots of folks who carry and would NEVER do a mag-dump without confirming the threat. Does it pose a greater risk? You Bet! But innocent lives are at stake and unlike the cops who get a “free pass” for a “bad shoot” civilians WILL go to jail for a CARELESS shooting. Officers who have a “Bad Shoot” should be terminated and/or charged based upon circumstances. The officer who walked into their apartment and shot the person in the living room is a classic case… Was NOT the officers apartment… wrong floor! Should be charged with man-1, if you are that unconscious you should NEVER be encouraged to carry a loaded firearm. With great power comes great RESPONSABILITY.

      • I asked a school superintendent how he felt about arming teachers…he was against it. He said to me if there was a shooting every school day it would take 500 years for every school to have a shooting. Based on the number of schools and the fact that there are only about 180 days in a school year… when you subtract weekends, holidays, fall & spring breaks and summer.

  6. Of course they lie. They are coming for what remains of your rights. the 2nd Amendment is all that stands between us and full on dictatorship communism. You’d be dangerously naive to believe anything you see or hear on the “news”.

  7. The Communist politicians want total control which means people control and the only way to control people is to disarm them.
    The gun grabbing members of the population are both Communists who want a Communist America and naive well intentioned citizens.
    The lies and misinformation being spread by the all the gun grabbers, naive citizens and Communists included has not been effectively countered by the NRA and every other pro gun pro Second Amendment organization. All the pro gun material seems to be in gun magazines and websites and mailers to gun owners. The NRA has a streaming video channel but only gun guys watch it.
    I think that until we, the gun owners and Second Amendment champions can outspend Bloomberg and the other billionaires in strong and consistent public education into the meaning and purpose of the Second Amendment, ending the misconceptions and lies the communists are spreading about today’s modern sporting rifles and its ammunition, and control the messaging on gun crime and gun safety we are going to lose to communist gun control.
    I don’t know how to outspend and out message the communists of Silicon Valley and the billionaires like Bloomberg. States that had been friendly to the Second Amendment are now flipping into gun grabbers as populations shift, Bloomberg funds anti gun efforts, and derainged killers massacre many. Whether failures by law enforcement enable a terrorist using an AR-15 to kill coworkers or a known mentally deranged kid uses an AR-15 to kill his classmates the government authorities responsible are never held accountable. One year after the Parkland Florida killings few citizens remember the state and federal governments are directly responsible for the deranged killer to be free in society and buy an AR-15 rifle. But every American knows the school attack occurred, and most blame a rifle they know nothing about. And schools are still inadequately secured.
    One thing is certain. We are one election away from losing our gun rights. And if the gun grabbers are not moving fast enough I think false flag attacks will be used by the communists to sway public opinion. Obama tried it as in “Fast and Furious.” Had Hillary been elected its likely we would have lost more that gun rights. And I believe should Trumps AG favorite Barr is confirmed to office, we face a gun grabber heading the DOJ. An AG who once advocated banning AR -15’s from civilian.

  8. The gun-control movement thrives on moral panics which is why it works so hard to create a sense of collective hysteria. Listening to the increasingly shrill demands of gun-control activists reminds me of the car safety movement led by Ralph Nader’s activists. They standard claim was that there was “carnage on our highways” when, in fact, highway deaths per miles traveled were steadily declining. Didn’t matter. They still used the moral-panic ploy to ramrod 20 years worth of absurd 55mph speed limits.

    • Well, most of us were fine with the 55 mph speed limit, since nobody paid a bit of attention to it. At one point my bride and I made a 3500 mile loop of the northwest, cruise control set on 90 most of the time outside city limits. Not a bit of problem, much of the time just keeping up with traffic. Rarely even saw a cop.

  9. I think there’s a tyranny epidemic going on that uses school shootings to advance said tyranny. What to do about that, I wonder?

  10. That is the participants major claims to fame, lying and the chosen ignorance, factual data is there to be viewed, that they wallow in.

  11. The school is the safest place every student is during the course of the day.
    The most dangerous place they will be during the day is in the car with their parent driving them to school.
    The cell phone will be the likely cause of the distraction, either of the parent driver or another driver, that causes the accident that causes the death of the student.
    School buses are less dangerous, but dangerous still as is walking to school.

    Sorry someone above already posted this.

  12. If there is a mass shooting every day and 1000 school children were shot and killed last year, I want to see the supporting evidence for these claims!!!!! Just because a claim is made does NOT make it true.
    The only control that the anti-gun mafia wants is total control over the population.

    • The 1000 schoolkids number includes underage gang-bangers who should be in school, but aren’t, because they are in street gangs and getting shot.

      Example, Baltimore, Chicago, etc…

      • those kids actually are safer in school than out on the street…security seems much tighter in urban schools…

  13. No disrespect to the deceased, but watching live coverage of the M. Parkland remembrance at the Old Capital in Tallahassee on local news. Turn out appeared so poor I’m surprised they aired it. Maybe 20-30 people.

    • So far I’m seeing about Zero coverage at CNN website. If they pass up something like this, you know it’s gotta be a bomb.

      • the dems seem to feel their support of gun control gained them victory in the mid-terms…expect them to continue to ride this horse to exhaustion……..

  14. So, if Hogg & Co claim that there’s an epidemic, someone needs to ask them why their generation is doing this. We didn’t have this problem at this level in the 60s, 70s, or 80s. What is wrong with your generation Mr Hogg? Too much of a need for attention?

    • lack of a sense of self-introspection?…unchecked narcissism?…a diminished presence and impact of religion and its accompanying moral code?…could be any or all of these..

  15. We have a saying in education: “Those who can, teach. Those who can’t make laws about teaching.” Pretty much the same with firearms. Also, if your pet cause is labeled a “crisis” or “epidemic” it becomes so much easier to make a name for yourself because you DID SOMETHING, even if your something has little to no effect on your claimed issue, and certainly not the real issues. Poverty, mental health, missed chances to make a difference… but hey, I’ve only been teaching 20 years and have 3 degrees. What do I know?

  16. NEITHER “party” really wants to stop mass shootings. IF they really did, they would pass a MANDATORY DEATH SENTENCE FOR KILLING ANOTHER PERSON ILLEGALLY WITH A FIREARM. Short trial, NO prison term, NO plea bargain; convicted this week and DEAD next week.. They won’t do this because that would eliminate any chance of a repeat offender like they have in ChitCago and L.A. and other major cities with the swinging door no-justice system in place. Don’t try and tell me it wouldn’t stop a lot of the “shootings” all across America! Concealed carry cut down on robberies and assaults because CRIMINALS didn’t want anyone shooting back at them. This IS a SOLUTION; but our D.C. Swamp Members are afraid to pass it!!

  17. poverty?…we’ve had worse and more widespread periods of it in our past….mental health issues?….they’ve always been part of our society….missed chances to make a difference?….people are human, thus fallible…external excuses won’t cut it….we’re all in this together and every human life has value…not just your own…this is something each individual has to grasp on their own….but ,hey….i’ve only taught 30 yrs and have two degrees as well as some time in LE….so what do I know?

  18. Fake epidemics abound. Washington state declared state of emergency over 30-40 measles cases. A weeklong fever and rash. That’s how they steal rights.

  19. The things that happen that get so much media attention get so much media attention exactly because they are rare events. The more uncommon the thing the more media coverage it gets. People speeding through school zones happens hundreds of times per day, zero media coverage. Nutjob goes off the reservation and shoots up a gun-free zone, 24 hours media coverage for weeks and can be milked for for coverage for at least five years exactly because it happens so infrequently.

  20. The left will count any discharge of a firearm within to 1000′ gun free school zone as a
    school shooting” even if was an accidental or negligent discharge or or a gang fight or a BB gun.

  21. It’s amazing how quickly the media forgets or covers up the truth about these events. Loudmouth David Hogg was one of the PRIMARY reasons the shooting occured. He was a bully and he bullied the shooter until his young mind felt there was no other recourse. Perhaps if the school thugs and bullies spent more time worrying about grades and less trying to abuse the weak things like this would not happen.

    Additionally, the local Sheriff and FBI were warned about the shooter well in advance of the event but they refused to do anything. The shooter was seen taking weapons and ammo on and off school ground many times long before he decided to shoot the place up. If the sheriff deputy who happened to be on campus that day had bothered to actually do hi job instead of hiding like a coward it’s possible no one would have died.

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